Suicide Squad gets right what Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice got so wrong.
Warner Bros thought the way to go was to be all mean and moody and growly for the three weeks it took to sit through that very average film (well, it wasn’t quite that bad but it could’ve been a whole lot better, and I understand the extended version is an improvement, but why couldn’t I see THAT in 1.44:1 70mm IMAX after I’d paid a small fortune to my local Odeon?)
Beginning at the Black Site prison, in Louisana, this is where we pick up our two lead baddies-who-are-goodies, namely Will Smith on fine wisecracking form) as Deadshot – who’s rather handy with a gun, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn – the character referred to by one as “a whole lotta pretty, and a whole lotta crazy”, the studio criticised for digitally-altering her hotpants for the trailers and promotional material, to make them more family-friendly (is that possible??), and the actress criticised by fanbois and fangirls who don’t like how she looks.
Well, as someone who doesn’t read comic books and only knows of the varieties of her outfits from various pictures online, it seems like they have to picture her in one form and they’re not going to please all of the people all of the time. Hell, I didn’t even know, until a few years ago, that there were many variations on the look of The Joker, but Jared Leto‘s appearance is decidedly different to my other cinematic points of reference – Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson, so no doubt some people will be up in arms about that, but for me, Mr Leto’s Joker is entertaining and very engaging – something Heath Ledger wasn’t. I found him a huge disappointment in that role, in The Dark Knight, and thought Hollywood only gave him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar because he died and was beaten to the Best Lead Actor award in 2006 for Brokeback Mountain, by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won it for Capote. The awards ceremonies rarely reflect public opinion – it’s just “Who’s turn is it?” and, in that case, “Well, he’ll never get another turn.”
And Jared’s Joker laugh gets a bit ‘Vincent Price’ at times. You know, they did plan to make a third Dr Phibes film back in the ’70s, Phibes Resurrectus, but rumours of it never happening range from there never been a script that was ready to film, to Price simply not wanting to do it, so asked for too much for the role and thus ‘price’-ing himself out of it.
As for the plot? Suicide Squad is one of those films where they’re sending a load of baddies to take down another load of baddies. This time, they’re Task Force X. What are Task Force X? That’s on a ‘need to know’ basis.
Well, in short, of all the characters allowed out into the real world (well, Gotham City), one (Enchantress) goes rogue and – as I mention I’m someone who doesn’t read comic books and liked Deadshot’s summation of her method of taking over the world as having a “Swirly ring of trash in the sky” – to me, it was reminiscent of X-Men Apocalypse when the titular baddie wanted to… take over the world, and enlisted others to help keep… well…. a swirling ring of trash stay up in the sky. In both cases, I couldn’t see how that translates to taking over the world, but it doesn’t really matter – it’s a superhero movies with a lot of crash/bang/wallop, and… is it a lot of fun? Yes. Nuff said. Oh, and meanwhile, The Joker (since he’s in a relationship with Harley Quinn) is trying to rescue her from this situation and take her away.
A lot of it goes in one eye and out the other, and I need to see it again to take it all in, but it’s a good, fun action romp that doesn’t outstay its welcome, and it doesn’t try to be at all serious like Batman V Superman. There’s a lot more wisecracks and humour to this one than BvS. I could detail much of these but that would reduce the impact you have of seeing them read out in full in the film, so I’ll just repeat one, where all the Squad are about to set off on their mission, and because a lot of them are quite tetchy and want to rage against the machine of authority, Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman, thankfully making you forget about his godawful Robocop reboot) – underling to Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) who had the idea of bringing this lot together – introduces, to them, the efficient Katana (the stunning Karen Fukuhara) who’ll keep them in check whilst also providing backup, with the words “I’d advise not to get killed by her – her sword traps the souls of her victims”.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts about this film…
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.