It’s Good to Be Bad:
Why Suicide Squad Excels and Why the Criticism Is Unfounded
*SPOILER Warning* (This review contains some spoilers, in an effort to explain my personal opinion towards this film)
DC’s most anticipated film has finally arrived! Suicide Squad is in theaters, and despite critic reviews panning the film, the blockbuster is set to light up the box office. Better yet, the reviews from general audiences are much more favorable and showcase the excellent power of the star-studded cast.
In the film, Amanda Waller creates a task force made up of the most dangerous criminals in the world to combat threats from the growing metahuman community. Things quickly spiral out of control and the task force must find a way to work together to stop a world shattering evil.
First, I have to say, I love this film. The music, the comic book lore and the incredible cast are all the driving force behind the fantastic film. David Ayer did a marvelous job of bringing his signature gritty filmmaking and the fun, adventure quality of the comic books. So much of this film felt like it was lifted from the pages of the comics themselves, and the performances from Will Smith’s Deadshot, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Jared Leto’s Joker and Jay Hernandez El Diablo all were fantastic. Perhaps the most frightening character in the film was the cold hearted Amanda Waller, brought to life beautifully by Viola Davis. Her cool demeanor and tough exterior made her the most dangerous villain in the film, which is saying something.
Now in order to dive into my opinions on the film, some spoilers will be discussed. Turn away now if you don’t want to know….
Still here? Ok, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Now the problems I saw “critics” complaining about were the plot, main villain and amount of backstory per character. I had no issues with any of these things, and I’m going to explain why.
The plot was not a wholly original one, yet it worked. The film was not intended to be about the plot, but rather a character study. It was about the characters and their ability (or inability) to work together. The villain of the film turns out to be The Enchantress, an ancient evil witch that possesses June Moon, whom team leader Rick Flagg falls in love with. The Enchantress releases her brother, Incubus, and together they begin building a machine to destroy the human race and take over the world. I love that they added the romance between Flagg and Moon, bc it gave a new depth and motivation to two characters that otherwise may have come across as cold or simple, not complex.
The biggest complaint is that this is an overplayed plot device. To that I have two points. 1, it’s a villain team up comic book movie, so of course the threat is going to be on a global scale. 2, the villain isn’t an overcomplicated one. It’s an evil that wants world domination, and that’s a good thing. While I love Marvel films, they have only had one or two villains I actually like (Loki and Red Skull). The hit Marvel film this summer, Civil War, had no villain to write home about. He was a revenge seeking ex soldier who used old Hydra files to tear the heroes apart, but he didn’t exude a clear and present danger in the film.
The Enchantress is finally a true villain that lives up to her comic book namesake. She’s feral, ruthless and even gets physically involved in the final battle. She was a fantastic first villain in this series, and Cara Delevingne did a wonderful job of bringing her to life.
What I appreciate about DC comics films is the gritty, dark world the films create. I like variety in my films, and while I’m a huge Marvel fan, DC has always been a darker toned comic company, and I like seeing a difference between the two companies playing out on film. The dark, often funny yet emotional tone of this film really kept me entertained.
Finally, the backstory for each character was perfect. It was just enough to keep the audience interested and leave us wanting more from them in future films. If each character was given a 15-20 backstory, the film would be five hours long. Plus, the inclusion of Batman, The Flash and The Joker as background characters was a great call. They added just enough to the film to keep the audience interested and eager to see them more in the future. The Joker was a part of Harley’s character growth, and Leto’s performance has left me excited for more of him in the larger DC universe.
Overall, Suicide Squad was an A+ film. The critics seem to not understand comic book movies, and seem to not have the ability to just enjoy a film for what it is anymore. This isn’t an “Oscar” worthy film, but it’s fantastic nonetheless. I loved the blend of science fiction, real world grit and magic, because that’s what DC Comics has always been about. This is a work of art that I will see over and over again, and I’m so excited for the future of DC films. Be sure to see the film for yourself now if you haven’t yet, and if you did let me know what you thought in the comments below!
Check out my review of Suicide Squad on my official blog over on On Request Magazine!