Evening trips to the movies are an investment. By the time that one has paid for two tickets for IMAX 3D, two large drinks, a large popcorn, and two bags of candy, it is impossible to escape the theater with one’s arms and legs firmly attached. As a result, it is necessary to be particular about which films one views in the theater. Suicide Squad is predicted to break records and execute audiences with an assassin’s precision this weekend regardless of the critical evisceration the film is currently experiencing. Although a majority of DC Film enthusiasts will disregard critical consensus by shelling out hard earned dollars to see the film, many may still be turned away by the terrible tomato-meter. Having seen the film, it is this humble author’s opinion that Suicide Squad is much better than the critics would lead you to believe. If you are still sitting on the fence about seeing the film, here are five reasons to see Suicide Squad despite negative reviews.
5) It Is the First Big Screen Appearance of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and Many Lesser Known DC Comics Characters.
DC Entertainment has a tendency of sticking with characters that they know will sell movie tickets at the theater, such as Batman and Superman. It is hard to fault the creators when their last film not involving The World’s Finest was not accepted as well with audiences. Although Batman is present within the film, he does not dominate the scenes with his presence. Suicide Squad does not require Batman to elevate its scenes, but does allow the audience to experience Batman from the villains’ perspectives. The Worst Heroes Ever are the heart of the film and don’t become overshadowed by other characters. It is refreshing to explore the ethos and pathos of characters that haven’t previously been dissected by feature films.
4) The Plot Is Reminiscent of an Introductory Suicide Squad Comic Book Story Arc in All of the Best Ways.
Set your expectations accordingly. The title Suicide Squad does not evoke thoughts of an Oscar-worthy story, resonating themes, and character depth. It does evoke an anticipation of balls-to-the-wall action sequences and brutal character deaths. One of the best parts of Suicide Squad is that it feels like the introductory story-arc of the Suicide Squad comic book. Much of the initial screen time diverges to introduce the major players of Task Force X while smaller parts are given a serviceable introduction to their modus operandi. Although there is not necessarily a depth of plot here, it does serve as an enjoyable action film as well as an exploration of sympathetic villains. As with the introductory story arcs of The New 52’s Suicide Squad, several members of the team drive the plot as well as fuel the hardships that the team experiences. Many team members are the architects of their own destruction.
3) Suicide Squad Is Fun Because of Character Interactions.
One of the best parts of the entire movie was witnessing the interactions between these characters. Each of the villains behaved in a manner expected regarding the other team members. In particular, tension created as the result of Rick Flag’s perception of the villain Deadshot is a constant plot thread throughout the movie. When the world is saved from The Adversary, this plot point’s resolution is incredibly satisfying.
The drama between the characters drives part of the plot. As stated previously, many of the team members are the architects of their own destruction. Additionally, these characters cause more grief for their villainous cohorts. The reactions that many of the characters have regarding the others’ behaviors is unique and it was interesting to see which characters formed lasting bonds.
2) Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Will Smith as Deadshot.
Viola Davis, Margot Robbie and Will Smith absolutely kill it as Amanda Waller, Harley Quinn and Deadshot respectively. These were perfect casting choices for the three characters. Each actor manages to steal every scene that they inhabit.
Viola Davis is the perfect Amanda Waller; she’s cunning, ruthless, and deceitful. Viola Davis’ portrayal of the character exudes an evil darker than any other villain in the film. To say that her bureaucratic evil outshines the evil deeds of the other characters in the film might be an understatement. The fact that Amanda Waller comes off as more evil than the villains she enslaves is a testament to Viola Davis’ skills as an actress.
Will Smith’s portrayal of the world’s deadliest marksman, Deadshot, is pitch perfect. He is the ethical assassin. Will Smith offers an ethos with which many viewers can relate regarding his daughter. He is the loving parent who would go to any lengths to see their child succeed. Moreover, Deadshot illustrates the desire that one hopes his or her children don’t think of them as failures or monsters. Additionally, Smith’s interactions with other members of the Suicide Squad injects the franchise with a much needed boost of action-hero humor. Ultimately, Deadshot provides the viewer with a villain that he or she may be able to relate to. His added humor voiced many of the concerns that the audience may have experienced regarding the true nature of the mission, Amanda Waller and Rick Flag.
From the distinctive accent to nuanced mannerisms, Margot Robbie owns the role of Harley Quinn. Initial trailers seemed to indicate the Robbie would not be utilizing Harley’s iconic accent in her portrayal of the character. It was nice to be shown otherwise. Additionally, her portrayal of Harley offers varying dimensions of the character. Her quick analysis of Deadshot’s murderous psyche indicates that she was once a proficient psychologist despite running around the film like a walking punchline. This was a nice touch to add some depth to the character.
One of the best moments in this portrayal of the character was not with added dialogue but Robbie’s mannerisms. When flirtatiously hugging another member of the team she exclaims, “I knew you would come around!” As Harley releases the other character she briefly shoots a look of disgust to suggest a lack of sincerity to her manipulative actions. It’s such a brief moment, but definitely adds some complexity to the Robbie’s portrayal.
Overall, the characters appear to enjoy being villains. It was evident that although they may wish for things to be slightly different, they own their station in life. The actors’ portrayals provide the opportunity for audiences to relate on some level with each villain. This allows the director to raise the stakes for the final battle as the audience is now invested in these villains.
1a.) The Consequences and Stakes Matter.
One of the largest gripes that I have with comic books like Suicide Squad is that oftentimes it does not feel as though the stakes truly matter. The audience knows that the authors are less likely to kill off franchise characters like Deadshot or Harley Quinn. Placing these characters in life threatening situations is interesting not because we worry about their safety, it is engaging because it allows the audience to witness how they cheat death. Some would say that it’s not the destination that matters, but rather the journey. Unfortunately, escaping the reaper too many times can cause the audience to lose interest in the collective welfare of the characters.
The lack of stakes was also my biggest worry when coming into the film. Without spoiling too much, it is necessary to say the consequences are real and characters do die. It is called Suicide Squad for a reason. These deaths do matter, and each one enables the final battle to carry weight as the audience feels concerned about the welfare of these characters despite their villainous alignment.
1b.) Henchmen Dressed Like Pandas Armed with Machine Guns.
See what you’re missing??
Ultimately, the film was much more enjoyable than alluded to by critical consensus. Although the Suicide Squad is by no means a masterpiece, these five points allow the film to be an enjoyable action movie. If you have seen the film, what did you think about it? Did you think the critics were correct in their analysis? Were the critics too harsh with unrealistic expectations? Do you agree with these five points? Is there something that we missed? If you haven’t seen the movie, hopefully these points have convinced you to check it out!