I’m just going to warn you now, this review THAT IS FILLED WITH SPOILERS is a big one.
There’s no need to recount the negative reviews that DC’s newest film has caused. We’ve all heard the rants by now. Everyone seems to agree that despite the hype, Suicide Squad is yet another disappointment. It has earned a dismal 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, but there is still hope! Fans have petitioned to have the site shut down on account of their reviews being “unfair” and almost always disagreed with. Not to mention IMDB gives the film a much higher rating of 7/10 stars.
I went to go see it for a second time tonight, this time more as a reviewer than as a fan. I was expecting to enjoy it less than the first time but the truth is that I loved it even more! This isn’t the first time I’m alone in my movie opinions, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Maybe you hated it, maybe you loved it, but I’m with the latter. I’ve already written a general, spoiler-free review, so here’s my full, spoiler and plot inclusive review of the much hated but totally awesome Squad.
This film was filled with interesting choices. That was made clear right from the beginning of the film, where we get a glimpse at what life in Belle Reve is like. The first three characters we meet are Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). It’s clear from the beginning the Deadshot has a lot of anger. He more or less spends his time training, ready for a fight whenever it may arise. Harley is introduced with the best possible song to fit her character, “You Don’t Own Me”. She’s beautiful, crazy, and very bored. But she’s extremely dangerous and most of the guards won’t go near her. Then we meet Amanda Waller who puts Task Force X together. Now that Superman is gone, it’s time to step in. She at first just seems like a determined woman, trying to put together a team of people to help protect people. But she’s far darker than that, as we later see.
They introduce the characters one by one as they go through the files. Some were shorter than others and worked, such as Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje) and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney). I admit I would have liked to look more into Diablo (Jay Hernandez), though. He’s a powerful character with an incredibly sad story, and I would have liked to see more of him.
The main focuses were without a doubt Deadshot and Harley. Deadshot pulls on our heartstrings right away and makes us question if we should have been rooting for the bad guys all along. He kills people for a living and he enjoys it, but he would give it all up for his daughter. He proves it when he doesn’t kill Batman. He really just wants to be there for her. Their relationship is so sweet and gets us attached right away. It was an incredibly smart move to show us Deadshot first.
And then we see Harley…deep breaths, everyone.
This girl…Margot Robbie absolutely killed it as Harley!! This character has been a huge source of controversy over the past week. Some fans are upset because she was oversexualized, while others point out that her character has always been that way, and they are staying true to the comics. It stirs up so many questions but personally, I think they did her justice. Robbie stayed true to the character and you know what? Just because a character is oversexualized doesn’t mean that they can’t be a complete bad ass as well. One of the lines in “You Don’t Own Me” is: “You don’t own me, I’m not just one of your many toys.” This sums her up completely. She may look sexy and cute, but she can hold her own in a fight better than anyone else. Incredibly skilled and ruthless, she’s arguably the most dangerous member of the squad.
We get to see her interact with her Puddin almost right away. There are truthfully no words to describe just how incredible Jared Leto and Margot Robbie’s chemistry is. These two stole every scene and left us begging for more. While I do wish we had seen more of the dark side of their relationship, it was really interesting to the lighter side. I’ve been so accustomed to seeing this relationship as very one sided. Harley will do anything for The Joker, but he barely could be bothered. This was different. He’d go to the ends of the Earth for her. That sounds like I’m putting it romantically, but trust me, I’m not. Their relationship is not in the least bit good, but it was fascinating to watch this new side to it.
Also, we got a look at the jester suit!!!!!! That actually happened!! Well done, DC, well done!! It was a short but beautiful sequence, where the Joker and Harley are dancing together. She’s wearing the suit and absolutely killing it. Clearly her costume has evolved over time, and it was really nice to see them pay homage to such an iconic look. Chills all over, and I kind of really hope we see a little more of it? Or a lot more. I’m good with either. Maybe they’ll do a flashback film? I don’t care how they make it work, but they better.
There’s another scene between the two of them that also gave me chills, and that would be the flashback where Harleen truly transforms into Harley Quinn. This is slightly changed from the story we know. In the movie, Harley throws herself into the vat of acid voluntarily. Though it is after The Joker has tortured her, so whether or not she was in her right mind is kind of left up to our imagination.
The Joker asks if she would die for him, and she says yes. He then says, “No, no, no, that’s too easy…Would you live for me?” She tells him yes again and after she says the “please” that he so wants to hear, she jumps into the acid. Over the scene plays Kehlani’s Gangsta and my god, was that ever a perfect song choice!! The film was full of them, but this was by far the best. I think this was really a defining moment in the relationship for the film, because at first it doesn’t look like The Joker will dive in after her. It almost appears as if he plans to leave her there. But then he stops and it’s like he sighs in frustration. Like he can’t avoid going back for her? It was a really interesting thing to watch. That scene was beautifully filmed and acted, and this will forever be one of my favourite shots.
Ayer’s approach to the Clown Prince and Princess of Crime was one I’ve not seen before and one I’ve really enjoyed. If these two reappear, which I desperately hope they do, I think he’ll have a lot to work with. There’s still a ton left to explore and a lot of places to go with both of these characters, be it together or separately. I need a standalone Harley Quinn film, and just as much, I need to see this Joker again.
You either love him or you hate him, and I can’t get enough. Seriously, I would say this guy is probably 50% of the reason I went to go see the film a second time, and probably will see it a third. Leto plays this role so off-the-wall unhinged, it’s fascinating to behold. We see him put on this charm when seducing Harleen, telling her he lives for his moments with her, but even then he’s not all there. However, his big introductory scene is one I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
The Joker and Harley are both in a club, and he is currently in a business-like deal with Monster T (Common). Monster T is more or less admiring Harley, saying The Joker is lucky to have “a bad bitch” (rolls eyes) and The Joker automatically becomes more animated. I don’t know if it’s the word that was used that set him into what kind of feels like a quiet rage, but it’s interesting to think so. He describes Harley, saying, “The fire in my loins. The itch in my crotch! The one, the only, the infamous Harley Quinn!” I wish there was a clip. Oh, how I wish there was a clip. He proceeds to beckon Harley over and tells her to keep his new friend entertained. But this seems like a trap, and so he denies her and says, “I don’t want no beef.” The Joker proceeds to mock this, twisting his head and changing his voice. He at first does an impression but then does completely different voices. Again, I wish I had a clip to show you, because it’s bloody brilliant. It’s so creepy and unsettling and just really uncomfortable.
One of my favourite parts about Leto’s performance was his high risk high reward choices. One of the best ones, in my opinion, was the growling. That’s the best way I can explain it? It was like a growl in the back of his throat and it was very primal. This came out at certain moments with Harley but more notably, in the kitchen scene. And he’s staring the guy in the face the entire time, circling him. It feels like we’re watching a predator about to pounce and it was so well done. It was these kind of choices, I believe, that are either making or breaking his performance for the audience. But for me, I thought they were fantastic.
I really can’t explain to you how much I love Leto’s Joker because, like all Jokers, you must watch the performance to truly appreciate it. But he was so incredibly fun to watch. While it would have been terrifying to be in his presence on set, it would have been equally amazing. Talk about surreal! I loved everything that Leto did with this character and hope that we get to see more of him. Apparently quite a few of his scenes were cut from the film, so I’m hoping that there will be an Ultimate edition released where we’ll get to see more of this greatness.
While The Joker and Harley Quinn were definite scene stealers, they were not the only great thing about the film. As I said earlier, Diablo was definitely awesome, and what I loved most was their use of his power. Too often does a character randomly use their power at the end and leave the audience wondering, “Okay, but why didn’t you use that at the beginning so we could avoid all of this?” This is not the case with Diablo. At the beginning of the film he refuses to use his power because he knows what happens if he loses control. He focuses all of his energy to stop himself from getting to that place. But once Deadshot pushes him to it, Diablo becomes a vital member of the group and grows stronger. It’s a great development and didn’t at all feel like a cop out.
Killer Croc has never been a favourite of mine, but still, he had a couple funny lines in the film. He isn’t a very complex character, in my opinion, so I wasn’t disappointed in the film because I wasn’t expecting a lot. However, I loved Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Captain Boomerang, and in particular, Katana (Karen Fukuhara)! Seriously, that girl can fight!! I would have loved to see more of them. With a film like this, it’s hard to introduce and spend a lot of time with so many characters. Some are bound to fall to the wayside. I’m just really hoping there will be a sequel and we can delve a little deeper. Hell, give Katana her own standalone. I’d watch it.
Now, I gotta talk about Enchantress. This character was a let down. While everyone is blaming it on Cara Delevingne, I’m not so sure. I agree that in certain scenes the acting could have been better. Particularly at the end when she is reunited with Rick. But as Enchantress, especially at the beginning of the film, I didn’t think she was bad at all! I actually really liked her. I think part of it was acting, part of it was writing, and part of it comes back to the overall story.
Enchantress is pretty damn powerful. With someone like that, there’s a lot of potential. I just felt like they didn’t expand as much as they could have. We didn’t really get to know the character that well, Enchantress or June, so it was hard to be frightened or sympathetic towards the character. There was definitely potential there, but it fell flat due to lack of character development.
Amanda Waller, on the other hand, made a fantastic villain. She manipulates everyone into doing things they have no interest in doing and she’s good at it. As she says, getting people to act against their own self interest is what she does for a living. She’s completely coldblooded, killing cops that have been in the room with her because they aren’t authorized to know about Task Force X and she doesn’t want to take any chances. She’s a good character to hate so if they did do a sequel, it would be good to have her at the head of it. Her character sparks up an interesting question, because at the end of the film our favourite baddies barely get recognition even though they’ve just saved the world. She knows they’re still villains. But what is a villain that does good? It’s an interesting idea to ponder.
The plot itself wasn’t anything super special, but I did enjoy the final fight scene. Many say that the climax was boring, but I loved that it was Harley that stood up and ripped out Enchantress’ heart. Everyone thinks she’s so stupid and in love that she’d be willing to join this witch in order to get her Puddin back and she proves to them that she’s more than that. It’s an awesome moment! And it may not be right, but Harley loves The Joker. Yet she was still able to put aside her grief and do what needed to be done, so let’s give her some credit, please.
I think what I was most disappointed about was the lack of girl power. I have to admit that from the trailers and posters, it looked like we were going to be getting three lead women here. But Enchantress was the villain, and we didn’t spend as much time with Katana as I was hoping. Again, I think this was a warm up film, introducing us to characters that we will delve deeper into in later films. Even if we don’t get a sequel, I’m hoping we at least get a standalone or two, and I think there’s a very good chance of this happening thanks to the ending!
The film ends with a not-so-surprising twist, but one that’s still welcome. Earlier in the film we are led to believe that The Joker dies, but I think we all knew better. You cannot kill The Joker, let alone a new one, that quickly and in that way. It needs to be intimate! So when he and his clowns burst through the prison wall and cut the bars on her cell, it’s less of a shock and more of a relief that DC is not as stupid as everyone thinks they are. The Joker and Harley embrace as he says to her, “Let’s go home.” This could easily be a lead in for a standalone Harley film, or at least a film where these two are at the forefront!! I’m desperately hoping so because I need to see both of them so many more times. They are so much fun to watch! Is there a petition somewhere we can sign?
No, Suicide Squad is not the best film ever made, but it certainly isn’t the worst. And it isn’t nearly as bad as the critics are saying! I, for one, loved it. I thought the soundtrack was absolutely amazing and I can tell you right now that I’ll have it on repeat for weeks. I thought that the point of the film was not the plot, but the characters, and that it was the specific scenes rather than the general overview that made the film great. I think the small little hints such as The Flash showing up were really enjoyable and a nice surprise! And I thought that Jared Leto, controversial though his casting may have been, did an incredible job as The Joker. I can’t wait for the (hopefully to be released) ultimate edition. Or at the very least, some deleted scenes.
Those are my thoughts, unpopular though they may be! What did you think of the film?
Thanks for reading, Puddins!
Sincerely, Fiction’s Mistress