By now you’ve read many reviews on Suicide Squad. I’m sure they’ve ranged anywhere from, “THIS WAS A TOTAL SHITSHOW DEATH TO EVERYONE INVOLVED” to “OMG THIS WAS AMAZING DEATH TO ALL WHO OPPOSE THIS VIEWPOINT”. And honestly, these passionate opinions are based in some truth; there were really good parts and very, very bad parts. But after seeing the movie I’m not sure how anyone can feel that strongly about anything as mediocre as it was. Let me explain.
I had read that the entire movie was a glorified music video with modern and classic pop songs starting and stopping for each character and scene change. And yes, this was true for the first half of the movie. There’s a motto that good writers go by that’s something along the lines of “show, don’t tell”, and I feel like the exact opposite was happening here. Every character had a song and while the songs were perfect (the best: Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” for Harley Quinn and The Rolling Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil” for Amanda Waller), we didn’t need to be told how to feel about them. Subtlety could have gone a long way here. The mixtape situation got better halfway through the movie though. The action wasn’t interrupted which was a blessing because Stephen Price’s score expertly enhanced the film. It’s too bad that didn’t happen earlier; I’m sure Price was capable of creating amazing music for each Squad member.
Jared Leto’s Joker was…ugh. UGH. For months we were told about his method acting, about the awful gifts, about the laugh. Where was that? We saw none of it. Sure, he was an abusive mob boss which is disturbing in its own way, but where was the crazy we were promised? I think this is a false advertising issue. For MONTHS we were force-fed the idea that Leto’s character was going to be unlike anything we’ve seen from past Joker portrayals. Then he shows up and he’s really just there to support Harley’s character development. Don’t get me wrong, this is beyond awesome and I loved it and HOLLYWOOD SHOULD DO MORE OF THIS BECAUSE WOMEN ARE NOT PROPS, but don’t sell us a Joker that we’re not going to receive.
I have a feeling Amanda Waller was written as a one-dimensional character, because I know Viola Davis is an AMAZING actress and she’s capable of so much more. Unfortunately, the script doesn’t offer her anything that would showcase her talents. Davis does the best she can with what she’s given, and she manages to portray Amanda as ruthless, even-keeled, and slightly terrifying. The fact that she could get that much out of her character is a testament to what she can actually do. I hope we see more of her as Amanda in the future.
And honestly, everyone else was fine. Margot Robbie? Fine. Will Smith? Fine. Jay Hernandez? Fine. The other people? Fine. See what I mean by mediocre? It’s hard to have an opinion when they were just fine.
Oh, and shout out to Kevin Hanchard (Detective Art Bell on the show Orphan Black) who skillfully played “Casino Boss” for like, 5 seconds. Oh, and to Common for using his talents as Monster T for like, 10 seconds. Can you see a pattern here? So many wasted opportunities. I’m not sure if this happened in editing, or if they had a shit script from the beginning, but if you try to cram all these awesome things into a small space, so much will get lost in the mix.
Did I enjoy the movie? Absolutely. It introduced me to characters and story lines I wasn’t familiar with, and I’m excited to see what they do with them in the future. Would I recommend it? Absolutely. Now if we could take the DC villains and put them with the Marvel superheroes and have Martin Scorsese direct those movies, we’d be in good shape.