[Movie Review] Bad Guys Do Good In ‘Suicide Squad’
The bad guys of DC Comics are given an offer they can’t refuse and sent on a mission to save the world in the all-star ensemble Suicide Squad, bringing together a team of some of the most iconic villains from the comic books.
The fan favorite character of Harley Quinn first debuted in the ’90s, and so it is fitting that the entire film feels like it could almost be set in that decade, colored with The Crow-esque wet-reflections of light in the steamy darkness, a goth girl menace that threatens the planet and brings on the inevitable team-up of the titular rouges, and dirty-beautiful combat boot grungeness throughout.
Margot Robbie more than owns her role as Harley Quinn, a former psychiatrist who falls in love with The Joker while treating him at Arkham Asylum, only to have him toss her into a vat of green acid, reminiscent of Mr. J’s own transformation back when he was played by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, as she reemerges reborn and more in love than ever with her pale, green-haired maker.
Robbie’s Harley is the soul of the team, an embodiment of the scarred, deformed exteriors that hide the deep, lonely sorrow inside each member of this so called “Task Force X” that is sent to do some very bad things to some presumably even worse individuals while being totally expendable in the process.
Will Smith displays much less of his typical “Will Smith-ness” than usual, which is a welcome change and vital to his transformation into the deadly assassin for hire Floyd Lawton, also known as Deadshot.
Smith’s Deadshot is still the most charismatic member of the team, but it’s Jai Courtney’s unicorn-loving Captain Boomerang who gets all the laughs, while Karan Fukuhara’s Katana, with her soul-stealing sword, is the one we’re left most wanting more of.
Jay Hernandez also has a breakout role as Diablo, perhaps the most powerful of the whole team, though he does not want to use his powers to harm anyone ever again.
Jared Leto’s chrome-toothed, tattooed Joker is actually quite terrifying, especially in his few quieter moments, but the character is effectively not at the center of the story, which only elevates his status as something bigger than this motley crew, constantly referenced and looming large over all of them.
Ben Affleck returns as The Batman, also wisely kept mostly in the shadows, making his few minutes of screen time all the more magnetic and compelling. The Dark Knight hits a new layer of fear as seen as a brutal and unjustified vigilante through the eyes of these street level crooks.
It’s government badass Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) who brings the team together, as her only resort to stop her once most prized find, an ancient witch known only as The Enchantress (portrayed by a Cara Delevingne) whose super powerful spirit is conveniently controlled by whoever possesses her still beating physical heart.
When Enchantress figures out how to use the bookish June Moon in a different kind of possession to break Waller’s spiritual chains, she becomes a mess that must be cleaned up, and that’s when Waller sends in the ultimate band of antiheroes.
The use of Enchantress as the “big bad” effectively sets up the larger mythos that magic exists, and has existed for centuries, here on Earth, foreshadowing the cinematic arrival of so many classic DC comic book characters soon to hit the big screen, continuing to build out this rapidly expanding interconnected movie universe.
As the third entry in the newly established DC movie universe (following Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), Suicide Squad functions best at building out this world where aliens and monsters are all too real.
The film, like the team, is rough around the edges, but we love it and them all that much more for their imperfections in an imperfectly unbalanced world that recently got turned upside down when Superman arrived from the stars to challenge humankind’s place in the universe.
They are the bad guys, but they definitely know how to enjoy the ride to the end of the world better than some of their more well known good guy counterparts, injecting some much needed humor into the action, and maybe even a bit of heart into an ever darkening landscape of far greater threats on the horizon.
They may be bad, but they are far from the worst.
Official Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Matt Artz
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Suicide Squad (rated PG13) is now playing locally at RC Theatres in Kill Devil Hills (through Sept. 22).