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Suicide Squad review: What to expect


Before continuing on, be mindful that this is a Suicide Squad review with spoilers. Proceed with caution.

The latest installment of the DC cinematic universe has officially hit theaters. Suicide Squad is open for business, and it appears set to break multiple August box office records. I hit the theaters on opening night for a Thursday preview, and the following will be a review that has SPOILERS for the film. So if you have not seen Suicide Squad yet, then I advise bookmarking this page and coming back later.

Now before I get to the good stuff, let me just give a broad, non-spoiler overview of what I thought of the film. I went into the movie extremely excited with my hopes sky high. When I left, I was highly disappointed. I went in feeling the characters would be more important than the plot, and any plot deficiency would be overcome by the awesome characters brought to life.


Well, the plot was pretty much a mess. And aside from a handful of characters, most of them were extremely one dimensional with zero backstories. DC needed this film to be its jumping off point to get people excited for future films, but for this comic book movie fan, that did not happen. Below is where we get into SPOILERS, so now is your last chance to look away before we get to the details.

The Plot

As I mentioned prior, the plot was a huge problem for the film. Our main villain turned out to be Enchantress, who went rogue, as she teamed up with her brother, another mystical spirit who possessed a person’s body. June Moon, Enchantress’s alter ego, was an the good side but lost control when Enchantress took over. More on that in a second.

Let me try to run through the plot in as a brief a summary as I can. It is very possible I miss something, as things were very hard to follow at times, partly because I feel they left some things out. So here we go.

Amanda Waller wanted to form a team of bad guys and metahumans to help protect against a terrorist attack. She assigned Rick Flag to watch over June Moon after she was possessed by Enchantress because it gave her leverage over him (because she needed him and knew he would not walk away and leave his new girlfriend). Thanks to a showcase of Enchantress, whom Waller could control because her heart was outside her body, to the government, she got her wish of having Task Force X approved.

Later that night, Enchantress took over June and transported to Midway City. There she set her brother free into a man, who proceeded to destroy the subway. Enchantress returned to the room she was in with Rick Flag, transforming back into June. But now that her brother was causing some mystical trouble in Midway City, the government called on the Suicide Squad.

The team was assembled, and they set out for Midway City. It was clear none of them wanted to be on the mission, all looking for a way out. Slipknot tried to escape after talking with Captain Boomerang and had his head blown off. The team came across some of those sludge soldiers, where Deadshot proceeded to take out most of them.

Then they arrived in a building where they needed to meet someone before they could go home. They arrive, battle more sludge soldiers, and finally get to their target, who happens to be Waller. Waller then kills everyone in the room for some reason and joins the team.

When their helicopter arrives, they realize it was high jacked by the Joker, who has been trying to reunite with Harley up to this point. He captured the guy who designed the bomb in the neck of the Squad members and had him disarm Harley’s. This allows her to run away and get in the helicopter with Mr. J. The helicopter gets taken down, but Harley manages to get out in time. She presumes the Joker did not make it.

Waller calls on another chopper, which she gets in, but no one else. That one is also taken down, this time by Enchantress and her gang. Waller is then taken to Enchantress, and she uses Waller for some information.

Harley is reunited with the team, and Deadshot ends up finding the top secret binder with all the secrets about the mission. The team gets pissed at Flag, and leaves him, going to a bar. They discuss a few things, and Flag comes in. He admits to being a jerk, destroys the device he would use to blow off their heads, and agrees seems defeated. The team ends up going after Enchantress.

They have a bomb in the subway, from earlier in the film when Flag and June went to investigate what was going on with Enchantress’s brother. So they need to position that right underneath Enchantress’s brother, with Scott Eastwood and Croc taking that role. The rest of the gang is tasked with distracting Enchantress and her brother.

Diablo steps up by turning into a fire monster of some kind. Once the bomb is positioned under Enchantresses’ brother, Diablo gives Flag the order to have it blow, even though he would go down with it. Scott Eastwood detonates the bomb, killing Enchantress’s brother, Diablo and possibly Scott Eastwood.

Enchantress then tries to convince the Squad to join her, and Harley pretends to go along with it. Harley then picks up Katana’s sword, cutting out Enchantress’s heart. They throw some explosives into the big swirling thing in the sky, and Deadshot shoots it, closing the whatever the heck it was.

Flag crushes Enchantress’s heart, killing her. He thought he killed June in the process, but she managed to emerge from the rubble. The team is returned to prison. And the final scene gives us the Joker breaking into Harley’s cell, where he tells her they are going home.

Lost? Don’t worry, so am I. Trying to explain certain things from a plot perspective seem near impossible, as it was certainly hard to follow at times. If this were a game of connecting the dots, there would certainly be some dots missing.

The Characters

There were two clear standouts regarding characters: Harley Quinn and Deadshot. Flag and Waller were pushed as the next top characters, with Diablo being the only smaller character who shined. Below I will give my thoughts on each character.

Harley Quinn was one of the bright spots of the film. Margot Robbie nailed the role, as she had the perfect Brooklyn accent and played up the mental problems. She had voices in her head, and that led to some of the bigger laughs of the film. At the end of the day, I would gladly see another film with her in it. She was a scene-stealer every time she was on screen.

Deadshot was probably my favorite character. He was a father who clearly cared for his daughter, giving him an added layer most of the characters did not have. He was cocky, funny and like Harley, had some of the best lines in the film. At the end of the day, all he wanted was to make his daughter proud and to spend time with her. There is potential moving forward with him and Batman as well, as he clearly holds a grudge against Ben Affleck’s character.

Joker, I will give a grade of to be determined. We only got the Joker is small doses. I liked what I saw, but there was not enough there to get a full feel for the character. Jared Leto did a great job at showing how insane the character is, but there was not a long enough scene to enjoy the character to the fullest. I need to see more to have a true feel, but I did like what I saw. We just need him in larger doses to know for sure.

Amanda Waller was a badass bitch. She was deceptive, and only cared about herself. She is someone we will see more of, and that is not the worst thing. But she had her fair share of screen time here. Next time let some other characters shine.

Rick Flag was essentially forced into his role thanks to his relationship with June. While a good solider, they hinted at a dark past. While I had no complaints with the character, I feel there was nothing special about him, and he was clearly pushed over others. His being in the spotlight as much as he was certainly taken away from others, and he was a focal point in the messy plot in a way thanks to his relationship with June.

El Diablo was a pleasant surprise. A man who possessed the most power on the team, but one who did not want to use it. He ended up killing his family because of his powers and turned himself in as a result. This extra layer helped give the character a more personable feel that others lacked. He was given his big moment when he turned into the fire monster, which was sadly the end of Diablo. He is one I would have loved to see more of, so of course, they killed him off.

Enchantress was central to the plot. And you know what I thought of that by now. So needless to say, I am a bit confused by the character. There was too much going on with her, and that took away from her. There was too much mystical stuff going on that was not explained I feel to get a true appreciation of the character.

Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, Katana, and Slipknot could all be lumped into the same category. None of them were given any real backstory, and all were one dimensional. Captain Boomerang was pretty funny, but not a character I will miss if I never see him again. I am still confused as to why he bolted from the bar when he was told he was free by Flag, only to rejoin the team the following scene. Killer Croc also had a few good lines and smashed some people, but was given zero backstories. We got a little bit of a story on Katana, as we know her husband was killed, and she seemed emotionally damaged. But other than that, nothing. And Slipknot had his head blown off in his second scene, just as expected.

Scott Eastwood turned out to be the option everyone feared: no one. He was simply Flag’s top soldier named GQ. I think he was killed when he set off the bomb to kill Enchantress’s brother at the end, but I am not 100% sure. There was nothing special about the character, and the uncertainty of if he lived or died is probably irrelevant. My only hope is he lived, and he is so scarred from the events that he turns out to be Deathstroke. But that is likely a pipe dream.

The Music

The music was a huge part of the trailers. It was one of the key factors from the trailers that got me super excited for the movie. But at the end of the day, the music was not used as effectively in the film as I had hoped. While we are introduced to all of the main characters, each one was given a song. That was pretty cool, but also felt a bit rushed, as we were jumping from song to song to song all within a matter of minutes.

Then as the film went on, there weren’t any scenes where the music made a scene more memorable. A film’s soundtrack is always something I value, as it can add to a movie. Given my expectations based on the trailers, the soundtrack had very minimal added value to the film. It just felt like any other movie. Sure there were a few good songs, but none that will bring me back to a memorable scene.

“Sympathy for the Devil” playing when we are first introduced to Amanda Waller is probably the only one that I can pair the song to a scene. And since that came in the first ten minutes or so, there were plenty of other scenes that could have stolen the show with the music, and simply did not.

The Action

Now there was some solid action in the film, but nothing memorable. And that is a common theme throughout the film in respect to most things. While we had some entertaining fight scenes, there are simply not many scenes that will be remembered going forward.

When El Diablo turned into a giant fire monster and went toe to toe with Enchantress’s brother (who I do not think was given an actual name in the film), things were fairly interesting. Deadshot taking out a bunch of sludge soldiers all on his own was also pretty epic. But at the end of the day, those are about it.

Yes, there were plenty of fights. But most of the time it was much of the same. Croc got to body slam one guy. Harley shot some of them in the head. And Katana sliced and diced with her magic soul stealing the sword. And the highlights of these fights were pretty much shown in the trailers already.

The Pacing

The main problem I had with the pacing was the very beginning. The early going of the film just felt very choppy and not cohesive. Things were jumping around, and it felt like things were cut out. There is nothing specific I will touch upon here, but the early pacing certainly did not help the plot out, and I felt took away from the enjoyment right from the start. It put the film behind the eight ball, and it was simply too hard to recover from.

Predictability

The predictability can be split into two categories. Those categories would be the top moments and the overall plot. As far as the top lines and big moments, those were fairly predictable from the trailers. We knew Slipknot was not going to make it very far, having his head blown off after being on screen for about five minutes tops. Pretty much every scene the Joker was in, we saw glimpses of already.

Now Harley had a lot of good lines, but once again, we already saw most of those. Same can be said with Deadshot. But what was not as predictable, was the plot and the third act. I was very pleased when most of the main shots we got from the trailers came from the first two acts of the film. The third act of the film was not touched upon in the trailers at all.

And that has to do with the plot. Enchantress and her brother being the main villains were not clear, although several people figured Enchantress would be the primary baddie. However, most of what we saw of her was from the early part of the film. So I must commend the film for not giving away Diablo’s big battle, and eventual death. That was hands down one of the highlights of the film in my opinion, and it was something I had no real inkling about going in.

Mid Credit Scene

The mid credit scene was supposed to feel important. But it simply did not reveal enough information to get excited about. Amanda Waller handed some files over to Bruce Wayne, some of which were for Flash and Aquaman. But we already knew Batman was going to recruit them. Now we know where he got his information, as well as the fact that Amanda Waller hinted at the fact that she knows he is Batman. Bottom line, it was not a big reveal. An average mid credit scene at best.

Final Grade: 4/10

 


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]