by T. Mack
The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film, Suicide Squad, hit theaters several weeks ago. And the movie has gotten its share of mixed reviews. While the fandom is not quite as divided on this film as they were on Batman Vs Superman back in the spring, the movie has still managed to create a divide between those who liked it and those who thought it was absolutely awful. I must admit that for the first time, I’m able to be positive about a DCEU film. I actually quite enjoyed Suicide Squad. Here’s why…
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
1. I Quite Liked Jared Leto’s “Mob Boss” Version of Joker
Lots of people have expressed being less-than-pleased with not only Joker’s new look, but Leto’s entire portrayal of the character. I am not one of those people. I actually really enjoyed the new iteration of the character, who was very different from any of the previous versions seen on the big screen. Leto’s Joker wasn’t a sly practical jokester, a criminal mastermind, or even a chaos-driven psycho. Instead, he was an organized criminal with flashy jewelry, guns galore, and the respect of the entire criminal world. This Joker was a sociopath, of course, but he was also very much in control. He was driven, focused, and fashionable. I liked him. And I’m very much hoping that we will be granted a Joker cut of the film on DVD and Blu-ray that will feature all or most of Joker’s extra screen time that was cut out of the theatrical release.
2. I Really Enjoyed Margo Robbie’s Harley Quinn
If you’re familiar with me and my fandoms, you will likely remember that I love, love, and LOVE the character of Harley Quinn. I won’t get into the reasons for my adoration right now because it’s simply enough to say that I adore her. For this reason, I was looking forward to this film in a way that I haven’t looked forward to any other DCEU movie. And Margo Robbie did not disappoint me! Though the look of the character obviously changed drastically from the previous versions we’ve seen in comics and on the small screen, homage was paid to those prior iterations. And Robbie embodied the character wonderfully. She brought the style, sass, and voice of Harley to life without seeming too cartoon-y. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of this character in the spin-off movie that’s been announced.
3. I Loved the Development of Deadshot As a Leader of the Group
A lot changed about the character of Deadshot during his transition from comics to this big screen adaptation. Some people liked the changes. Others not so much. Personally, I was more focused on the changes the character went through during the film rather than what had been changed for the film. I liked seeing the evolution of Will Smith’s character from a lone assassin who cared about absolutely no one but himself and his daughter to an anti-hero and leader who united a group of bad guys to do not-so-bad things. During the film, the dynamics of the team and who was leading them evolved and changed in interesting ways and Deadshot was at the center of that. It made for entertaining viewing for me and served as sugar to help me swallow some of the film’s less appealing aspects.
4. Viola Davis Was Absolutely Bad-Ass As the Absolutely Bad-Ass Amanda Waller
I am a fan of the (pre-New 52) comic version of Amanda Waller. She is a force to be reckoned with, a figure who must be respected, and a woman to be feared. She is willing to do very bad things in the name of the greater good and that makes her fascinating and more than a little terrifying. When Viola Davis was cast as Waller, I nearly did cartwheels because the part had been given to a woman I knew could do the character justice. And boy did she! It is a treat to get to watch Davis any time in any part, but this time was especially exciting. She created a vivid portrayal of the character’s depth and moral ambiguity. She made not only the other characters, but also the audience walk away questioning whether she should be considered a good guy or bad guy. Strangely, the answer seems to be both. That is a very fine line to walk and not all actors could pull it off. But Davis did so wonderfully. Her performance alone is worth most of the price of admission.
5. I Liked Not Knowing that Enchantress Would Be the Film’s Main Villain
People have said a lot of negative things about Cara Delevingne’s portrayal of Enchantress. Much of their complaints can’t actually be laid on the actor, though, as she likely did not decide on the dramatic change to the character’s look and origin. However, some of the complaints could possibly be laid at her feet. For example, we don’t know if it was her choice or the director’s instruction for her to imitate a belly dancer through the film’s entire climax. However, I cut the actress and the film slack on all these points because I enjoyed the surprise the character offered. I liked going into the film and being caught completely off guard when Enchantress ended up being the villain. I didn’t know that was going to happen. I thought she’d be part of the team. And because so few movies these days (especially superhero movies) manage to keep their plot twists secret any more, I was delighted by the surprise. In fact, I so enjoyed it that I basically refuse to complain about any other aspect of the character (including the assertion by many that she was a weak, feeble, and stupid villain, which I don’t entirely agree with anyway).
Now, don’t get me wrong. This movie was by no means perfect. It had pacing issues, a great imbalance of character screen times and development, too little (or too much, depending on your viewpoint) Joker screen time, and some wicked holes in logic. However, it was the first time in the history of the DCEU that I walked out of one of their films having enjoyed the experience of watching the movie. I had fun with Suicide Squad. And I liked enough of it that I was able to forgive the parts that were less-than-stellar. That’s waaaaaaaaaay more than I’m able to say about Batman vs Superman. So by the standard that DCEU has set so far, I think Suicide Squad was a good movie. Not a great movie. Not one of the best superhero films in recent memory. Not one of the best superhero films this year. But a good, solid movie none-the-less.
Did you see Suicide Squad? Take to the comments to let me know what you thought of the movie. Do you agree with my list of likes? Tell me what you did and didn’t enjoy. If you haven’t seen the film, let me know your reasons for not watching.