Its been over a year since Suicide Squad was first teased and during the course of a year came the hope that the film could kick the DC franchise back into gear after a disappointing Batman V. Superman. Mission accomplished? Not exactly, it’s not the blockbuster it could have been, but I think most fans will enjoy the film none-the-less. Suicide Squad walks that grey ground between good and great. It’s an average story that falls short of its potential as do a few key scenes near the end of the movie. However, the casting pulls this movie up from average into almost being great. The trailers seem to focus on Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in her first big screen appearance. And Margot does an amazing Harley Quinn, I liked her a lot. But the real scene stealer was Will Smith as Deadshot. Will truly delivers a summer blockbuster performance and shines as the villain walking the line. Now the question on everyone’s mind – did Jared Leto deliver the Joker? He had some pretty big shoes to fill and unfortunately, I have to say the jury is still out. Why? First, Joker was not given the screen time really needed for Jared to stretch his wings and define his character. Second, his scenes were few and far between and felt more like plot device than a strong character. If you saw the trailers and thought, can’t wait – you will walk out satisfied. If you were skeptical, you probably still are and if like me, you were waiting to see more, chances are you still want to see more.
The opening of the movie is a bit choppy as they cut from scene to scene attempting to introduce all the cast. Of which, the villain is introduced and while I don’t want to post any big spoilers, don’t expect a big villain who plays the strong counter to the squad. Once the cast is in place our bad guy gang jives well and goes about saving the day. The story isn’t complicated and kept a good pace. Again, I think most will find they enjoy the movie but will see the potential for much more lurking just beyond the edges.
Dealing with bad guys being good can be a tricky thing. It’s a rare movie that can have us cheering on the evil doers as they try to be good. Suicide Squad does a decent job, with Deadshot being the star in this regard. Torn between the pull for money and the desire to be something more, he walks the line well. Other characters don’t have the same depth, oh – I got nothing better to do, might as well do some good type of mentality. What is delivered on screen are some interesting questions to consider – front and center being can the bad guy earn his redemption? Do the bad guys even deserve redemption? Suicide Squad answers the first question with a yes, I mean why else build the squad? The second question is a little more complicated as we watch some of the squad struggle with the desire to be bad guys and their calling to help defend those who can’t defend themselves. “We’re bad guys, its what we do” – in the end, I think most of the squad shows self-sacrifice but remain bad guys. We could just as easily say “we’re sinners, its what we do” and any attempt to redeem ourselves by self-righteous actions will leave us as sinners, its what we are. That’s why Jesus came on scene, the ultimate superman, to do what we could not. And in that, he is the ultimate superhero savior!
One last thing I want to mention about Suicide Squad and trends in movies as of late – they show a blatant disrespect for the bible and a total distrust of government. It feels like most movies today portray government as totally corrupt and heck, we need bad guys to save us. One of those bad guys dons his super suit to do the dirty work with a collar that says “the truth, the light, the way” which appears to set up an internal struggle of religion vs action but to me smacked of disrespect, especially since it is never drawn out in the film. Gone or the days where Christianity held reverence in most films. Last, stick around after the end credits…
5 out of 7: The film follows the darker setting of Superman v Batman and has plenty of violence, but nothing is gratuitous, except maybe Harley Quinn’s outfit… Not the blockbuster DC was hoping for, but certainly not a disappointment either.