As one of the most highly anticipated superhero movies of 2016 Suicide Squad has a lot resting on it not only from super comic book fans but movie fans in general. With a strong marketing campaign on the run up to it's release fans had been teased with character clips, extended trailers and highly debated movie stills.
So in a way the initial weekend release failing to win over the critics came as a bit of a surprise with a film as hyped and as deep set in the comic book world as this one it seemed like it was almost in the bag at least in terms of the initial response. The critic reviews were a little mixed in fairness but the overall sense upon Suicide Squad's opening weekend was that it offered a little bit of an anti climax.
It's always a little difficult to go into a screening with bad reviews ringing in your ears, especially one you've been looking forward to and waiting for for so long, but as with everything if something has been hyped up so much and almost thrown in your face through constant advertising and promotion its almost impossible for it not to reach the unobtainable level it's set up for itself. However setting film critics opinions aside, Suicide Squad really isn't bad, or at least it's only bad in the best of ways.
The story behind Suicide Squad is pretty well documented now with a gang of bad guys being forced together to create a deadly group of villains who are used to take on other bad guys in return getting less time on their prison sentences and a few extra privileges. So with this in mind Suicide Squad begins, Amanda Waller is the mastermind behind this Task Force X bringing together what she describes as 'the worst of the worst' to help her take on meta-human enemies.
It's good to remember this movie is of course in keeping with DC Universe, set after the events of Batman V Superman and the apparent demise of this world's most iconic meta human Superman; a nice bit that is touched upon with Superman t-shirt's being sold by a street merchant with the lettering 'remember' across the back. The idea of the world being shared by humans and these newly discovered 'meta-humans' is carried through the DC Universe and the fact that the timeline is kept in tact and other DC plot lines are so boldly referenced is a really nice touch.
The movie moves across the main squad members giving the audience a little background info about who these bad guys are and what makes them so bad; it's here that we really see the most of The Joker and Harley Quinn through a series of flashbacks explaining their insane love affair and how Harley ended up behind electrified bars. The story of these two remains quite true to the comic book story; Dr Harleen Quinzell falls madly in love with her deranged Joker patient eventually being consumed in her love for him and allowing him to electrify her brain until she's gone from a little quirky to off the wall nuts.
Other character flashbacks include fun tit bits from Deadshot being taken down by Batman himself to Captain Boomerang being apprehended by Ezra Miller's new take on The Flash, a somewhat unexpected cameo that is a cool nudge on to the Justice League. Other character backgrounds are run through, El Diablo's fiery death of his family, Killer Croc's cannibalistic tendencies and a brief explanation as to how June Moon aka Enchantress came to be.
After the initial show and tell giving us a quick size up of what each super-villain can do they are then of course set with a task; it's here that the plot gets a little interesting. Looking back at the trailers and teasers on the lead up to the release you have to commend this movie for not really giving slip too much about this new bad guy in town. In a cruel twist of fate is seems that the thing or rather person that Amanda Waller thought was the answer to her prayers turns out to actually be the one that rips everything apart.
As June Moon is taken over by Enchantress we see her power grow to dangerous levels, the squad then have to take on an army of alien zombies who happen to be able to fire weapons, creating an army of killer undead. In this first action scene we get to see the characters personalities shine a little; Will Smith's character Deadshot taking centre stage with deadly precision, Harley Quinn swatting everything in her path with her trusty bat and Killer Croc just ripping apart anything that dares get close to him.
The squad plod on attempting to reach their target and keep their heads, in true Amanda Waller style she has this villainous team injected with a live bomb ready to go off at the touch of a button; keeping her squad from escaping. It's in these next scenes that we finally get to see the fiery power from El Diablo that we've been teased through out the first half of the movie. This heavily tattooed character has a fiery demon deep inside, producing a bare flare from his palms that can destroy everything in sight, a handy talent to have if you're surrounded by mutilated zombie soldiers.
A real stand out moment arises in the following scene and surprisingly comes from a human; as Waller is shown to be the target that needs extracting by the Task Force she brutally and heartlessly demands her government colleagues to wipe all data before shooting them all mercilessly one by one. Amanda Waller has a reputation in the comic book world as one of the most brutal characters and here this ruthless nature shines bright; this greater good attitude is followed up closely as she orders Deadshot to shoot down Harley Quinn who has quickly been recused by Mr J after she cleverly has her neck bomb deactivated.
The Joker has been rumbling on underneath the surface as the plot unfolds, thinking back to our first look at Suicide Squad we had expected to see more of the iconic DC Comics villain, and although his presence is felt within the movie it's nowhere near as much as hoped. Jared Leto's take on the Joker offered discussion from the start, dividing opinion on whether this take was a step too far for the character. It definitely does offer a new spin on the Joker character, it's hard to compare him to his Heath Ledger predecessor because the styles are so far apart; even the universe in which these Joker characters live look and feel worlds apart.
Leto's Joker seems to have another level of emotion, his ability to 'love' Harley Quinn, risking his life to save her and showing signs of jealousy when she flirts with a gang member is something we cant image the Dark Knight Joker doing or even caring about. This Joker seems to have a level of thug in him, more brute force and schizophrenic behaviour than clever mind games; followed around by his group of masked henchmen this Joker is terrifying just in a different way.
The chemistry between Harley Quinn and Joker is also interesting and complex in the short snippets we get to see, it's hinted that Harley may even been more dangerous than her lover, pushing him to act wilder and wilder. In many ways Harley steals the show from The Joker, even though he's her reason for being she has glimpses that show how she's a pretty bad-ass villain all on her own. The comic book references are also great to see with more Harley flashbacks showing her and Mr J dancing around in the darkness in the iconic black tuxedo suit and jester outfit combination.
As Suicide Squad comes to a close there's a turn in the story that was almost inevitable given the fact Will Smith was such a huge part of the movie, there's no way Will Smith won't be a hero, even as a deadly assassin he's still a good guy at heart. So the super villain band decide to take it upon themselves, when all seems lost, to do a little soul searching and decide the world hates them and they hate the world but what the heck' let's sacrifice ourselves to save it.
This isn't so hard to take while you're watching it, it's all part of the story and in reality it's what they were brought together to do, it's just hard to think comic book villains would be so eager to save the world, acting outside of self interest to fall in line and bring down the big bad guy. The final fight scene is pretty cool, El Diablo's character really takes the limelight here going full fire demon and offering up the ultimate sacrifice, along with the almost silent Katanna and Killer Croc even gets to do his bit under water.
Again following movie logic the Suicide Squad of course defeat evil and (nearly) all live to tell the tale, only for the heartless Amanda Waller to conveniently show up again threatening to blow off all thier heads as a reward. Even though they might not get to ride off back into the darkness as free men and women she does agree to some of their demands as payment for risking thier lives and saving hers. Deadshot gets time with his daughter, Harley gets a book, fluffy slippers and an espresso machine, Captain Boomerang however just gets thrown back in his tiny cell.
The soundtrack to this movie is another reason it's so great, the song choices couldnt have been better giving the movie a fun and almost modern feel, in comparison to the dark and grungy tones of most DC Comics movies Suicide Squad is funny and quick witted and very very comic book esque. Another way this movie is so much fun is the close tie ins with Batman, where there's the Joker there will be Batman and although Ben Affleck's Batman is only in it for a few minutes if that it's still cool to see.
The after credits scene leads nicely into the Justice League movie as Batman is seen talking to Amanda Waller, offering her protection and getting top secret files that showcase some of the super humans we know will be featuring in the justice League film.
All in all Suicide Squad is a fun superhero movie, getting to see some of these iconic character on the big screen is pretty much a dream for comic book fans and for the most part the characters all lived up to expectation. Whether you believe a bunch of villains would do the right thing to save the world is another question but in the case of the Suicide Squad these characters showed they might be bad but they're not all bad.