Ironically, Joker had the smallest role of the main characters yet he’s in the center of this poster. Wasted potential, unfortunately.
Hello again, everyone. Welcome back to the Media Dome. Today, we’re going to delve into the movie section of pop culture again and look at one of the most divisive movies I’ve ever seen: Suicide Squad.
Suicide Squad is a case study of the division between critics and fans and how opinions on media can be very drastic and stir up some juicy controversy. Despite having a terrible score of 26/100 on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, the general audience seemed to enjoy it for the most part, since the general audience score sits at a passable, good enough score of 61/100. What is the reason for this split between the critics and fans, and what’s my opinion on the movie? Also, how is it still semi-relevant despite it being over a year old and plenty of movies coming out since this film’s release? This blog will do its best to answer those questions. Now, let’s get right into it:
After the tragic death of Superman, an intelligence officer called Amanda Walker becomes troubled by possible danger in the future and decides to enlist some of the most infamous supervillains in the greater metropolitan area in order to act as disposable units against greater threats. While this suicide mission squad is gathered, an evil witch known as Enchantress comes into the world in order to wreak havoc on the earth. In the end, it’s up to the group of villains to take down the greater evil and save the city.
The Joker and Harley Quinn set up to be the definitive duo of the film.
Pros and Cons:
I remember watching this film with many of my college friends last year, and if I have to say a single point before I dive into specifics: this is a mindless movie that is best watched with friends and loved ones that are enthusiasts of action movies, superhero movies, and can overlook sloppy storytelling. Suicide Squad is definitely good for mindless fun, but if you’re looking for a film that has cohesive, incredible storytelling…you’re best off looking elsewhere.
Suicide Squad is a movie that had many good ideas in place and does a couple things correctly, but also does so many things wrong that the movie left me with wanting more. The core main positives revolve around the appeal from the aesthetics and the acting. For the most part, the acting is done pretty well in this film. Jai Courtney was surprisingly enjoyable as Captain Boomerang, Will Smith can still feel raw and “real” when acting intense emotions and Margot Robbie was PERFECT as Harley Quinn. I think Robbie was the best actor in the entire movie by a longshot. Her portrayal as Harley Quinn felt faithful to the original comic book material, while she was also able to unleash Harley’s insane personality with care and excellence. The only person who I believe didn’t do a nice job of playing his or her role was Jared Leto as the Joker. While he wasn’t as terrible as what many of my peers believe, I still think that plenty of Jokers in the past can capture the Joker’s personality better. The aesthetics were also nicely done, as the makeup jobs for all of the characters were incredible, and I was legitimately entertained by the action scenes in the movie.
Certain characters received decent character development as well, with El Diablo, Deadshot, and Harley Quinn having notable backstories. However…when I begin to talk about the characters, that’s when the flaws of the movie begin to appear.
The main cast for the film was too big, simply put. With how rapidly they introduced characters and tried to fit in a ton of backstory and exposition into one film, it felt awkward. Exposition dumping in cinema isn’t a smart move because it’s much less likely that the audience resonates with or empathizes with the character in question. When the introductions were done for the cast in this movie, with half of them I was just sitting there thinking “ok so they did a thing and this is the aftermath of it…alright.” Exposition dumping is telling information about a random character we just met without putting any heart into showing why we should feel for the character. The exposition dump in this movie, like so many exposition moments before, breaks the rule of “show, don’t tell” by telling us bits and pieces of information about a large cast of characters that’s hard to follow at first. Harley, Deadshot, and El Diablo are all good characters, especially Harley. However, does anyone remember Killer Croc, Katana, or Rick Flag? I had to look up Rick Flag’s name to remember who the character was, for pete’s sake. Out of the entire main cast, the only ones who developed well were the ones with the best backstories: Harley, El Diablo, and Deadshot. Every other character ranged from “good enough” to “useless and felt shoe-horned in.” Overall, half of the main characters I liked, while the other half I was left feeling disappointed.
With the storytelling quality, it doesn’t help that the exposition aids in the effect of causing the first half of the film to look like a jumbled mess. The bombardment of backstories in the first half can leave a viewer bewildered, and it doesn’t help that Amanda Walker’s character doesn’t think with common sense. If she was so scared as to potential threats that could occur to the city, why not hire heroes instead of villains? With heroes, at least you can trust them because that’s what they do: they save and protect. Walker hiring villains like Harley Quinn make no sense, so the premise of this film is quite silly. So, the first half of the film is pretty confusing. The second half of the film gets better and is more cohesive, but still left me with wanting more. The bar scene was at least well-written, as the different characters come together and are discussing their differences and woes. Some good character development is to be had in the bar scene close to the end of the film. However, the first half just left me with an odd feeling of awkwardness after viewing.
With the characters being overall average and the storytelling ability being shoddy, this film was heavily criticized by critics. However, the general audience still enjoyed it. Why is that? Well, I believe that it comes down to two things: a crazy yet interesting premise and nostalgia. It grossed nearly 750 million dollars, and it’s a testament to the DC comic fanbase. With how popular DC comics are, I think that the raw joy of seeing your favorite comic book characters come to life on screen, coupled with focusing on the villains rather than the heroes, isn’t just good for a cash grab from a director and box office but also is neat for the viewers. It’s not often in media where we get to follow the villains rather than the heroes of any given universe, so the premise of the movie is enticing as well because it’s different. With those core pieces, it still did well at the box office and also has enough positive aspects to keep many of the viewers entertained enough.
Is it still a good film overall? Well…
My opinion is no, Suicide Squad isn’t a good film overall. While the acting is pretty good overall and the aesthetics are appetizing (at least for me, especially when considering the makeup quality), half of the characters are significantly poorly written and the story is not cohesive at all. It can be a great experience to watch with other DC fans or your friends if you’re looking for a simple, turn-your-brain-off action movie. However, this film isn’t a masterpiece. Suicide Squad ends up in the B tier, due to being about equal in strengths and weaknesses.