Suicide Squad is the latest installment in the controversial DC Extended Universe (DCEU) and don’t even get me started about the unjustified hate the film is getting from critics. But plenty of their gripes were founded particularly the story’s choppiness.
DC tells its films the same way they do it in the comics and picturing this film as a real-life comic book makes it appear cool but in reality, it’s crudely edited. As a DC fan I had no issues understanding the story or the characters but I can sympathize with the average moviegoer who feels the plot doesn’t run seamlessly especially in comparison to other comic book super group films.
Secondly, the plot is too simplistic and the intriguing characters aren’t too fleshed out with some even being useless from a plot perspective. But ultimately, what keeps this movie from breaking the thin line between being great and just average is its… rating. PG-13 killed this film more than all the combined DC-hating reviews the critics could muster.
The promise of the Suicide Squad is to reinvent the super group into something more fun, sinister, and new and while it does all of these to an extent it falls short thanks in part to the studio interfering and watering things down to ultimately sink the movie to your typical run-of-the-mill comic book movie. This isn’t a bad thing but if you have high expectations going into the film, you’ll leave disappointed. Let’s look at some examples below:
Worst Villains Ever: I get it, this is Hollywood and a PG-13 movie means Suicide Squad can’t be too dark but that doesn’t mean you have to neuter every villain in the film and give them all a conscience. It’s understandable for Will Smith’s Deadshot to play the “reluctant good guy” but he didn’t seem like a bad guy at all. Just a dude who shot and killed people. Punisher is more of a bad guy in comparison. The unexplained turn of characters for guys like Captain Boomerang and Killer Croc is also head-scratching and while the story plays around with themes of villainy, it just doesn’t explore it enough to give it any significance.
It’s the Little Things: the movie delivers on presenting a kooky cast of crooks who end up being just a group of misunderstood people but the bar scene where they all have a more casual interaction is arguably the film’s saving grace. Within that 15 minutes, plenty of characters are revealed. We are endeared to the characters and a pivotal point of the story happens. But more of scenes like that where small little interactions that produce insight into the characters would be gladly appreciated next time.
Captain Who Cares: as one of the prominent members of the group, Captain Boomerang was supposed to be a huge part of the group but instead he was relegated to comic relief and couldn’t even finish the job. Given how much the DCEU needs humour, this was an essential role but seeing as how other characters like Deadshot and Harley Quinn also covered that area, Boomerang felt like the film’s most criminally underdeveloped characters.
Dead Memories: as an homage to Suicide Squad storylines, a member of the squad bites the dust early in the film (quite obvious that I don’t need to spoil it). While it’s cool to see the homage but it wasn’t done with enough emphasis. The character was hardly of consequence but that actual moment where the squad realizes, “this is serious” could’ve been stressed more.
While Suicide Squad thoroughly entertains with its cool cast of characters, fast-paced story and funny moments (the film is much more lighthearted than Batman v Superman) it ultimately just falls short of being one of the best comic book movies around. The film misses the point of using a team of super villains and waters them down to “heroes with attitudes” mostly in part to the PG-13 rating and pandering to critics who bashed previous DCEU films for their dark tones. Still, it lays good groundwork for future DCEU films and a potential sequel that may or may not get an R-rating thanks in part to the success of FOX’s Deadpool. ★★☆