Suicide Squad (2016): Justice Has a Bad Side

Posted: August 8, 2016 in Action, Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

In the wake of the death of Superman, fear of a future metahuman attack is rising. Amanda Waller, a secret government official, has devised a plan to pull together some of the worst villains to serve under her control as a safety measure against a potential future metahuman attack. At the head of the team are Harley Quinn and Deadshot, with Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, Killer Croc, Katana, and Slipknot in tow. Rick Flag, serving as the team leader, takes the squad into Midway, which has been overrun by a strange mutant presence at the control of the Enchantress and her brother Incubus. With the world ready to fall under the magical grip of the ancient old evil spirit, the squad is thrown into the fray with only their lives as motivation to follow out Waller directive.

Introductions Incomplete: This film felt like the plot was an afterthought in an attempt to get this band of villains on-screen together. The only three characters to have a real story told about them were Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and the combination of Flag and Enchantress. With Harley, the Joker was an important piece, but her devotion to him and her insanity stole the show from the entire rest of the cast (partially because Margot Robbie actually is a talented actress). For Deadshot, the motivation was very clear for his continued engagement in the fight, but it took away from the true essence of the squad with the multiple cutaways to his backstory and inner struggle. Flag and Enchantress were set up as a requirement for piecing together a rather weak story, but the rush of their storytelling pales in comparison to the rest of the team and DC’s continued attempt to do too much.

Bad Does Not Have to Equal Bad: It is less common for films to focus on the villains as the protagonists (somewhat an oxymoron) but this film had real promise. The idea of forcing villains to do good presented a story where morality, redemption, and the strength of evil could all play with one another. Instead, DC churned out another haphazard combination of scenes meant to wow the viewer with special effects while minimizing the attention to the depth of the character development or foundation for an epic set of stories. Independence Day was another “good” example of this, as they focused on nostalgia to sell tickets and confuse their viewers with awkward, frantic fight scenes. What was the squad even fighting in this film? What was the Enchantress turning people into? Why was the Joker even part of this film?

What is the Deal with the Joker: With all of the hype of this film, some of the biggest questions were why the Joker was even part of the story and why they hyped him up in the first place. Unfortunately, Jared Leto’s version of the joker paled in comparison even to the awkward Joker-like performance of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luther in Batman v. Superman. Were they trying to make him a more mature version of the 90s cartoon version of the Joker? If so, they completely missed the mark. His scenes added little development to an already weak story, and his only real significant moment was his attempted rescue of Harley. At least his presence got Harley to say “puddin'” multiple times?

Final Verdict: DC Comics still has a long way to go to figure out how to develop a thoughtful, organized, tasteful, and balanced film. Their superheroes have so much potential, but only the original Superman series and the Dark Knight trilogy have provided promise for bringing the Justice League into existence. In the meantime, people will flock to these films (like me) to see the attempted imagining of these characters and stories hitting the big screen, but I am not holding my breath for them to figure it out anytime soon.

Dan’s Rating: 2.0/5


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