In the world we live in today, I can barely count on my hand how many comic book movies have been made. The mainstream has caught on to what comic book readers, like me, have been feeling the entire time: these stories are awesome and we want to see them played out onscreen. Now, Marvel Studios helped this explosion of interest with Iron Man and the plethora of titles thereafter, but on the other side of the coin lies DC and Warner Bros. Pictures who have not had a great track record amongst the masses. Rotten Tomatoes has continuously angered fanboys and fangirls alike with such low ratings, and a petition has started to shut down the site. I’m a DC fanboy, all my friends know, and I’m not ashamed to say it. I’m actually proud to represent this comic studio because to me, it’s all about the stories, from Batman to Harley Quinn to Green Lantern to The Flash. DC has been a big part of my adulthood whereas Marvel was my childhood. And if it’s “hipster” to like the franchises and properties that most people don’t like because it isn’t how Marvel does it, then call me a hipster!
With that said, let’s get to my thoughts of the newest DC/Warner Bros. Pictures offering to the superhero genre, Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayers and starring Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, Cara Delevnigne, Jai Courtney, and the list goes on and on. There is some serious talent in this movie and right off the tip of Harley Quinn’s bat, I’m going to say I liked the movie. Now, most of you who have seen it probably will say I’m crazy and that we watched two totally different movies. And I have to agree with you on the latter; for those who watched this movie and didn’t enjoy it or disliked it, ask yourself the real reason why. Did you not like it because it’s not how Marvel would have done it? I hope this isn’t your answer. But take it from me and understand that as a comic book reader, this hit home on several levels and one of them involved seeing Harley Quinn, a character that Paul Dini and Bruce Timm created for the Batman: The Animated Series cartoon, come to life right infront of me. And maybe this was the lens that I watched the entire movie through but I’m proud to have enjoyed this film, even with all the scathing reviews and the “when’s the next Marvel movie” remarks which a viewer actually said as we left our IMAX 3D showing on Friday afternoon. Bro, they’re two different studios and DC is known to be much darker. Embrace that world and stop comparing it to Marvel. It’s apples to oranges, if you ask me.
The movie puts together some of the worst criminals in the DC universe under the comic book fulfilling title of Task Force X. Viola Davis stars as Amanda Waller, the puppet master, as it were, who controls the group with not only threats but a bomb in their necks. That’s the premise of this movie, right there. Bad guys with bombs in their necks are used as a black ops team to try to save the world. It isn’t rocket science and believe me, it really only worked in the comics. But this cast brings the characters to life in a way that you start to hone in on the actual story of the movie and not just the characters that are introduced. I think each character was given enough backstory to make it relevant in the movie. Course, some were more focused on like Deadshot and Harley Quinn, but I see the decisions that David Ayers made in his storytelling. And it makes sense. But I’m coming in with no expectations and for the visuals, music, characters, and dialogue to transport me to a different world where this is all real. And it was satisfying on all levels.
I think what this movie has going for it really lies in the the mythos that the DC Universe is all about. It started with Batman. The tone of Batman has always been dark. That’s why Batman’s rogues gallery had to match the dark tone; enter Two-Face, the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and The Joker, all defining the meaning of a villain in their own way. The Joker, played by Jared Leto, was on par with Heath Ledger’s rendition. It was different but not, if that makes sense. Leto’s portrayal fell within the realm of Joker’s madness. Just like how Heath’s version pushed the bounds of the character, Leto did the same in his own way. At the end of the day, The Joker shined through, and that’s what I enjoyed seeing. As goes for the rest of the characters that made up the Suicide Squad. We got a summarized version of what makes them tick. Yes, Captain Boomerang has way more depth than Jai Courtney portrayed him as in this movie, but do viewers want to see a ten minute montage of Captain Boomerang? Maybe some do, but most don’t, and that’s why his story isn’t super fleshed out. Though Jai does a great job in bringing this fictional character, that mostly tangled with The Flash, to life.
What I’m trying to get at in this entire non-spoiler review is that I feel that we, as movie goers, are getting super picky on our superhero movies. I feel that we continuously compare each new flick with the previous one in its trilogy or in the genre in general. But I think we need to go in with a clean slate and let the moviemakers convince us. In the end, most people won’t like this movie. They have their reasons. But if you’re looking for an entertaining movie with an amazing cast that happens to need to save the world, then give this one a shot. I think you’ll learn about some of the characters that might motivate you to seek out more stories about them. For example, Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot. He has a rich comic book history that I think Will Smith did an impeccable job of portraying. And if you know me, I’m not a huge Will Smith fan. But his character is one that I think people will be surprised to connect with. And that’s the key. The director, who wrote this film as well, needed to inject as much character development as he could without being too long or messy. And I think he did a great job with Deadshot, through his interaction with the other characters and ultimately, his dialogue.
This isn’t a Marvel Studios film. This isn’t a prequel to Justice League. This is a movie that tries to convince us that bad guys can actually do some good. And that’s how this comic property is in its actual pages. This group of criminals are put in situations that will get them killed not because it’s the right thing to do; it’s because they’ll be blown to bits if they refuse. And if you take that as it is, then you’ll enjoy this movie. Don’t think too much about it, you’ll ruin the vibe!
*all photos taken from Jeremy D’s personal gallery or from google search