In the weeks leading up the release of Suicide Squad, I read a multitude of negative reviews that only confirmed the belief that I had been holding to for almost two years since the film was first announced.
Suicide Squad was a mess–an even bigger mess than Halle Berry Catwoman.
I don’t react strongly to a lot of things I see on the internet (I spent a lot of my teenage years on Tumblr), but I actively cringed when I saw that someone honestly believed that Suicide Squad was worse than Catwoman.
Despite the reviews, despite my decision to hate Suicide Squad no matter what happened, I was thrilled to discover that the movie theater next to my apartment complex was showing it a day early, so my friend Alicia and I trooped over around 9 to see it.
We left about two hours later and she stared at me, waiting to see what I would say, but try as might, nothing deeply negative sprung to my mind. I had been entertained–hell, I had liked it. I wasn’t fuming angrily as I had been post Man of Steel, but I wasn’t over run with positive emotions either. But for a DC film, it was pretty damn good.
There were some cons, of course:
CON: Plot was holey. And not the funny George Weasley kind of hole-y. It was more of a “I’m not sure how we got from point A to B to point C and all I know is I don’t want the glowing lady to destroy stuff” type plot hole.
CON: Katana?! Why would you put Katana on all of the advertisements for the movie, only to have her show up seconds before the first fight and the only acknowledgment of this is that she’s “late.” Seriously? I get several dozen minutes of Deadshot and Harley backstory that I don’t need and Katana just shows up with no explanation. We’re just supposed to accept this. Katana is a deeply interesting character; just as fascinating as Harley, and the woman more or less gets plopped in mid-story essentially to be another dollar in the DC “Diversity” pot.
CON: Rick Flag is more annoying that Steve Trevor. Fact. I don’t know, maybe I’m just used to treating really strong, super moral but otherwise human characters as superheroes, but I was really expecting Rick to just do…better. Suicide Squad was supposed to be saving the world, but really they spent most of the movie saving Flag’s ass (but of course, debating whether or not to actually do it first.)
But there were a lot of pros
PRO: great character work. Because I’m the type of person who believes that an interesting character can carry a mediocre plot but a weak character will make even the most well developed plot fall flat, Suicide Squad was good simply because the writers took care with their depictions. I was super invested in Deadshot’s relationship with his daughter, the relationship between Joker and Harley and was saddened not to get more of El Diablo, though I do think the audience was given enough of his back story for him to be believable. Reframing villains is always going to garner an interesting result, though, simply because you have to do a lot of work on them for an audience who already believes in their dastardly deeds to rethink their position. Getting people who believe they know someone to change their minds is a test in patience and near impossibility. Yet David Ayer does a pretty bomb job.
PRO: It’s fun. DC does this things where they like to put out these ridiculously heavy superhero movies, and while I understand that type of tone for Batman, it simply doesn’t make sense for Superman. So, to be honest I expected more or less the same tone, but instead it’s this motley collection of hyper colorful, morbidly dark but also strangely humorous tones that sort of makes it feel like the Joker wrote the thing. Some people may not have liked it, but it sort of worked for me. At any rate, it produced a better result than the hyper gritty films that make me want to take a shower after watching them.
PRO: The hero moments are spectacularly heroic. I love it.
PRO: VIOLA DAVIS AMANDA WALLER. Y’all, I have this weird relationship with Amanda Waller. I love her because she’s basically the Olivia Pope of DC comics; but I also have deep seated problems with her character. Viola Davis has this steel in her that makes her perfect for a woman like Amanda–you have to be a certain type of lady to assemble a team of the world’s most wanted criminals and not betray an ounce of fear when in their presence. There were so many moments when I wanted to shout at the screen for Waller to high tail it, but, honestly, in a room full of the most dangerous villains, Amanda’s the scariest of all.
PRO: El Diablo is lit. (I didn’t do that on purpose, but here we are.) I just want to know his life struggles. I would read his memoire.
Now if you’ll notice, I left the Joker out of this review, mostly because I’m terribly conflicted about the depiction, but I’m leaving heavily towards I hated Jared Leto Joker because I was just really uncomfortable any time he was on screen, not necessarily scared.
However, I really want to watch it again before I commit to a definitive view on the movie, but ultimately, I think we can certainly say that Suicide Squad was not, in fact, worse than Catwoman.
(Seriously, did you watch Catwoman?)