I’ll get right to it; Suicide Squad is great. The reviews are decidedly mixed; I’m not sure what critics were expecting. Even some genre critics have been harsh; I’m not sure why. It’s the best DC Comics property movie in years—probably since The Dark Knight.
The premise mirrors the classic ‘80s comic, mostly written by John Ostrander (one of the best comics writers of all time) and his late wife Kim Yale. Task Force X, nicknamed the Suicide Squad, is made up of supervillains doing dirty jobs for time off their sentences. The mix of personalities and actors in the film are well done, the chemistry is dead-on and there are even some laugh-out-loud one-liners, a first for a DC movie. Especially good are Margot Robbie as a sexed-up Harley Quinn (nothing wrong with that) and Will Smith as the assassin Deadshot. I wasn’t too pleased with the race switching at first—Floyd Lawton is white in the comics and it’s a pretty big part of his identity—but Smith did such a great job it ended up not bothering me at all. I suppose there is room for two Deadshots in the DC Universe!
In the movie, June Moon, possessed by the ancient entity Enchantress, also resurrects her brother and starts a path of world domination. They attack New York and the Squad has to stop them. The group bonds on this first adventure and manages not to kill each other (or soldier and squad leader Rick Flag) in the process. Overall the writing is sharp, the dialog is funny and the action is paced well.
There are some minor nitpicks—I didn’t understand what Enchantress was doing to conquer the world. She creates, as Deadshot put it, a “floating circle of garbage” that was supposed to “kill all the armies” or some such nonsense. That made no sense, but I suppose it didn’t really have to. It was bad and the Squad had to stop it. Also, I loved the Amanda Waller character (played by Viola Davis), but one scene depicted her as a crazed serial murderer. That is not Amanda Waller and is a huge character mistake in the film. That scene also made no sense. Jared Leto was fine as the Joker.
Overall Suicide Squad is fun, escapist entertainment that I really enjoyed. I’m looking forward to the inevitable sequel in a few years. Finally, a DC Comics movie worth seeing!
Rating: ***½ stars out of 5