Suicide Squad – Spoiler Free Review

Suicide Squad is the latest film in Warner Bros. Pictures’ DC Extended Universe, following director Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Written and directed by David Ayer (Training Day, End of Watch), Suicide Squad sets out to further expand on the DCEU by introducing audiences to Task Force X, a hand picked group of super criminals following orders from the tenacious Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) in return for reduced prison sentences.

The film has already been out a few days and has not fared well with critics. At the time of me writing this review, the film is scored at a staggering 26% on RottenTomatoes.com and has even lead to the creation of an online petition to shut said website down. Surprisingly, the petition has gained over 20,000 supporters since its launch.

Seeing the film somewhat late in theaters with the knowledge of its negative criticism, I did enter my glorious local IMAX 3D theater with an open mind. Being the resident DC fanboy at With An Accent, I have to admit I did view this film with some bias. I love DC Comics and I was looking forward to seeing several of these characters I know and love make their big screen debut. I’ve watched all of the trailers numerous times within the past year, dissecting every piece of footage I could in anticipation for the film’s theatrical release. But as I sit down to write this review I realize I have to put my biases aside and give you my objective critique and let you know what worked and what didn’t work in this film. All that being said… I loved this movie!

The Good

Suicide Squad delivers a fun, action packed story with compelling characters and a few strong, standout performances. The film’s story is definitely simplistic and by-the-numbers, but it’s eclipsed by said characters and performances. Standing out from the pack are Will Smith’s Deadshot, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo, and Jai Courtenay’s Captain Boomerang.

Suicide Squad 07Deadshot is easily the most well thought out character in the bunch, and is the one audiences can relate to most. An assassin for hire, Deadshot is your typical villain with a heart of gold who longs to be reunited with his daughter. Will Smith’s charisma adds a lot to the character, and while I did enjoy his performance, he really is just playing Will Smith with guns. But it works.

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is very true to the source material and while we never exactly see why she falls for the murderous gangster, The Joker (Jared Leto), we do get a sense of how in love the two are with each other. Robbie does the character justice by staying upbeat and fun throughout, while showing hints of sadness and anger when necessary, though the costume choices for her are questionable.

I don’t think there’s anyone who thought Viola Davis could deliver a bad performance as Amanda Waller. Fortunately Davis meets our expectations as the hard-as-nails puppet master behind Task Force X. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to screw over people to get it. Early on, even her counterpart Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) finds reason to dislike her. There is one problem with her plan, though, but that is more a criticism of the film’s story rather than her character, so I’ll revisit it later.

Other standouts included El Diablo (Hernandez) and Captain Boomerang (Courtenay). El Diablo has taken a vow never to use his powers in battle following certain events that landed him in prison. As the film progresses we learn why this is so and it makes for a very sympathetic backstory. Captain Boomerang is just fun and funny throughout.

Suicide Squad 06The film is set up in a way where we spend the first 20 or so minutes being introduced to the characters through flashbacks. Although there is a lot of expository dialogue in place to describe these characters, overall I enjoyed seeing their origins play out on screen. Deadshot’s and Harley’s are probably the most intriguing and feature a cameo from a certain Justice Leaguer. Though brief, it was great seeing this character on screen once again.

Once the backstories are complete we are thrown into the film’s “story,” and from then on it’s a fast paced adventure to the film’s climax. As I said before, the story is very simplistic and could be compared to characters in a video game fighting their way from level to level until they reach the final boss. I can see this aspect of the film turning a lot of people off, but for me it worked. I was never bored and had a lot of fun watching the impressive visuals and action sequences. The conclusion of one action scene in particular even lead to a short applause from a few audience members in my IMAX 3D theater.

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