There are a lot of bad reviews out of Suicide Squad. In my humble opinion, they are wrong. I just saw it, and thought it was a lot of fun. It wasn’t as good as some top tier Marvel efforts (Winter Soldier, Civil War, Avengers) but it was a LOT better than some of DC’s recent efforts (Man of Steel, Green Lantern, Hex). I thought it was a fun action flick with a few Easter Eggs and respected the original source material.
The best known version of the Suicide Squad in the comics was a covert government agency that sent supervillains out on dangerous missions. If they succeeded, they got time off their sentences. If they failed, as a rule, they died, which was no loss as far as the government was concerned. Kind of a win-win really.
For the movie, they combined elements of the various different incarnations of the Squad from the 80’s through today. The agency is led by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), an absolutely ruthless politician and manipulator. She is tough as nails and will do whatever it takes do to what she thinks needs doing. Under field leader Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), a special forces solider, backed up by deadly swordswoman Katana (Karen Fukuhara), Waller assembles a team that consists of Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Enchantress (Cara Delevinge), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and Slipknot (Adam Beach). When an ugly situation erupts, Waller takes advantage to get her team approved. Floating around the edges of this, in the present and in flashback, are Jared Leto’s Joker, Ben Afflek’s Batman/Bruce Wayne, and at least one other DC hero that was a nice cameo.
Most of the action is in Midway City (comic book home of Hawkman and Hawkwoman, later Wonder Woman). While chaos is breaking loose, Waller sends the team in to retrieve a special asset. I came up with what I thought was a great idea about what that was, and I was wrong. What it was showed just how devious Waller is. Along the way, the team of misfits bonds somewhat, and we get background on most of them. True to Squad history, not everyone is coming back from this mission. Another nice nod, the building they got the asset in was the John Ostrander building. Ostrander created the villainous version of the Squad, and his run on the book is one of my personal all time favorite comic book series. One of his best scenes is adapted very closely in the movie.
By the time the final battle is done, loyalties are tested, characters die, and Midway City is going to need a lot of restoration. The ending worked well, and I think they left the team in a good place. If there’s a sequel (and they left room for one), I’m absolutely going. This was a fine, fun, action movie.
What I liked: Croc had few lines, but the ones he got were great. Waller was her ruthless self, arguably worse than the villains she has charge of. Will Smith and Margot Robbie did really well in their roles. The movie was balanced, with each character getting at least one scene to shine and/or get laughs. The nod to Ostrander was really nice. The cameo worked well for the scene they were in. Enchantress was really, really creepy. Almost all the villains had scenes or mentions tied to their comics background (Deadshot being a Batman foe for example). There’s even a mid-credit scene that’s worth staying for.
What I didn’t: Not a lot. There were a few times the gun handling was wrong. Experts like Deadshot and Flag know better than to try and shoot gangster-style with the gun sideways so you can’t see the sights. I would have liked an explanation about how Katana got hooked up with the Squad (and her costume was not only ugly but not the most practical for a close-in fighter). A few backgrounds could have been fleshed out better.
I’ll give this a 4 out of 5. It wasn’t brilliant, but it was a lot of fun, and a perfectly acceptable action flick. I don’t know why so many critics are slamming it.