I finally saw Suicide Squad. I had put it off seeing it because of my experience with Batman V Superman. That movie was getting terrible reviews, but I thought, "This is the onscreen first meeting of the two greatest Superheroes of all time. I'm going anyway." I spent over $50 taking my family to that movie. And I felt cheated when it was over. I felt like my time had been wasted. So I was not in a big hurry to see this new DC offering when it was also getting terrible reviews, since I did not care as much about these characters. Two things happened that changed my mind. One was that I was hearing good things about the movie from people who were similarly disappointed in BVS. The other is that I got a chance to see the movie for free. It's cool knowing people. As it turns out in this case I would have been happy to pay to see the movie. I enjoyed it.
Suicide Squad was by no means a home run of a movie. In fact it had many of the same flaws as BVS. My girlfriend and I spent an hour picking out plot holes from a poorly thought out story. It had that same dreary look that I am not a fan of. Rather than character motivation it felt like people just did things because that's where the story needed to go, whether it made sense or not. It also shared a strength with BVS, in that I think the cast and acting were excellent. The one difference in the movies that sets this one above its predecessor is that this movie remembered to be fun. It wasn't goofy, it still took itself seriously, but it was just more engaging than BVS, while having characters that I was much less invested in.
A couple of scenes at the beginning of the movie even made up for what I thought was a premature death of Superman. I didn't feel that the movie had shown that he had built up the goodwill necessary to have his death have the same impact and meaning it had in the comics. Suicide Squad made up a little ground in this area. I am on the fence about the new Joker. He feels a bit too much like atypical rap video gangster to me, but I am willing to see what happens when he gets more time to shine in a proper Batman movie. Affleck as Batman in the 45 seconds or so that he showed up was the high point to me, and I am excited to see what he does with this character.
I do think DC missed a great opportunity to poke fun at themselves, and the fans a bit, and show that they do realize they are after all just making comic book movies. When Flagg is trying to convince Deadshot to leave the bar and go help him take down Enchantress, he should have turned to him and said "By the way, my mom's name is___" Deadshot is confused and responds with "So?" Flagg says "Well, I heard about a time when that worked,figured it was worth a shot."
Harley is of course the main attraction in this movie, and everyone knew it even while they were making it. She is one of the main things that keeps the movie fun, but not the only thing. Even with a lack of characterization, the interactions of the team were interesting and fun. They did a great job of giving a back story to everyone without bogging the movie down. They did take away some surprise to a big moment though, killing the one guy who didn't get a back story. When you noticed he was there, you kind of knew he was going to bite it sooner rather than later. Will Smith does a good job of keeping Deadshot mercenary while still making him likable.
The movie carries on the dark look of the franchise, but didn't seem to take it as far. One big problem is that the threat is so poorly developed, at the end I wasn't sure if it was a weapon or a spell, it's called both. They were more focused on the team than on what brings them together, but in the end it doesn't matter, because like I said, it was fun. Another minor quibble, one could make a drinking game for every time someone says something along the lines of "After all, we're the bad guys", and might possibly have alcohol poisoning by the end of the movie. Yes,we know movie, they are bad guys reluctantly doing good, we get it, you can stop reminding us every ten minutes.
The movie makes really good use of music, using a lot of classic sings very well. I know that some are going to see this as copping some style from Guardians of the Galaxy, but honestly as much as I love that movie I thing Suicide Squad gets that particular element a little better. I don't know, maybe I just liked the songs they used better, but it seemed to me that the songs fit the scenes they were used in better. At the end of the day I was happy with the movie, and excited to see the DC movie universe apparently beginning to gain its footing. I think this movie might have been the franchise's Iron Man. With Wonder Woman looking pretty amazing, and what I've seen of the Justice League looking pretty good, I'm finally starting to regain some excitement for seeing the team take on Darkseid. If the movies can keep this tone and improve the stories, the movies will be very strong.