Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
A little over a year ago, I heard about a movie adaptation of the DC Comics series Suicide Squad. I had never read the comic book, but I had an awareness of what it was about: criminal elements are rounded up and banded together to fight other evils for the good of mankind. Sounds like a crazy premise and I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to see it, but it got rave reviews from comic book fans and other movie fan friends and so I figured, why not?
Taking place in the aftermath of the death of Superman, an intelligence officer named Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) assembles a team of dangerous criminals imprisoned at the Belle Reve Prison. Consisting of the hitman Deadshot (Will Smith), former psychiatrist now Joker-obsessed psycho Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), pyrokinetic ex-gang member El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), genetic mutant Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), assassin Slipknot (Adam Beach) and thief Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Task Force X is placed under the command of Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) to be used on high-risk missions for the United States. Along for the ride is expert martial artist and swordswoman Katana (Karen Fukuhara). None of them are pleased, especially when they realize they are disposable assets, but an explosive device implanted in their necks is all the persuasion they need to comply.
Their first mission is to find and eradicate the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), her brother Incubus and the horde of monsters that have been created out of the populace of Midway City. First problem: the team doesn’t believe in the mission or its leaders. Second problem: Enchantress is Colonel Flag’s girlfriend. Well, actually, she’s a witch possessing the body of archaeologist Dr. June Moone who happens to be the girlfriend of Colonel Flag, but you can see the conflict of interest here, right? Third, the Joker (Jared Leto) has discovered Harley Quinn’s plight and decided to rescue his lover. And then there is the kidnapping of Waller by the Enchantress.
Can the team find a way to destroy Enchantress and Incubus, rescue Waller and prove themselves worthy of respect and adjustments to their lengthy sentences?
First of all, when I heard that Jared Leto was to play the Joker, I rolled my eyes, thinking, “No Way!” Boy, was I ever wrong. Leto did a terrific job as the psychopathic supervillain. Margot Robbie was incredible as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, AKA: Harley Quinn, though there were a couple of times when her Australian accent leaked out. I liked Will Smith’s rendition of Deadshot as a mercenary, ruthless killer by day and loving father by night. I was a bit surprised by the choice of Viola Davis as Amanda Waller – it wouldn’t have been my first choice. But she did play the role to the point that you almost hated her and that is exactly the reaction the character elicits in every comic book I’ve seen her in, so I guess Viola played her well. Karen Fukuhara was spot on as Katana.
The storyline, as I hear it from many of my Suicide Squad comic book loving friends, is not spot on, but enjoyable all the same. I found it interesting, but I felt that there was not enough character development in this film. We didn’t learn enough about the various members of the squad. What we did learn was a bit confusing, like El Diablo’s demigod transformation – what was that about? I liked the Joker/Harley side story, but I felt that Joker’s tattoos were a bit over the top and that he stole too many scenes. The action of the film is awesome and I think that masks a lot of what’s wrong with the film, but it is entertaining and that’s what movies are supposed to be all about.
DC Comics fans will either love or hate this film. Action film fans will certainly have fun with it. This is not a thinking man’s film by any means, so if that’s what you are looking for, avoid Suicide Squad. But if you are looking for a fun, action-packed film featuring villains that achieve hero status, Suicide Squad is just what the entertainment doctor ordered.