Last night I went to a special showing of DC’s latest movie, Suicide Squad. When the original trailers came out, it looked way too dark for my tastes. But as more trailers came out I began to be more intrigued. I’ll be honest, though, and say that it wasn’t until Twenty-One Pilot’s song, “Heathens”, came out, and I saw all the multi-colored posters for Suicide Squad that I decided to give it a shot. I know, I know – that’s kind of a silly reason to go see a movie (the end-credits song and the color scheme!) but I really do place a lot of emphasis on the color scheme of movies! I love the rich earthy tones of The Lord of the Rings, the silver and blue of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, the deep purple and golds of Tangled…if you’ve never given much thought to a movie’s color scheme I’d suggest that it’s really worth doing so from now on! The movie producers put a lot of thought into a movie’s color scheme because it really does set the tone for the entire film. All that is to say that I’ve never seen a movie with anywhere close to as many bright, carnival-ish, beautifully garish colors in it as Suicide Squad promised to have. So I gave it a shot.
And it turns out, I’m glad I did! I really didn’t have high expectations (I’m not a comic-book fan and I’m not a DC comics person either) – I just wanted a fun, visual “ride”. And that’s exactly what I got.
The basic premise of Suicide Squad is that, in the wake of the events in Batman vs. Superman, the government is nervous about not being able to control “meta humans” like Clarke Kent. They want some kind of insurance against a meta human who decides to turn against the human race – so they round up several notorious super-villains as a “suicide squad” to be sent in to fight other super-villains in exchange for reduced jail sentences. If the mission goes sour, the government figures, the blame can all fall on the suicide squad. And if any of them happen to die, well, it’s no great loss. Just as the squad is formed (including Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, Harley Quinn and Diablo), you guessed it, an evil enchantress decides that she’s going to take over the whole world. The squad, supervised by soldier Rick Flag, is sent in to stop them.
Let me just start by saying that the story line was very weak and really only served to give a platform for neat visuals, comedy and an excuse for the squad to get together. The Enchantress was a stock villain with no real reason for wanting to take over the world (do any of those villains ever have a good reason to want to take over the world? :)). The members of the squad itself were hit and miss too, in their character development.
Deadshot (Will Smith) was without a doubt the main character of the film, with Harley Quinn (the Joker’s girlfriend, played by Margot Robbie) as a close second, and the soldier in charge of the squad, Rick Flag, coming in third. Time was spent in the first part of the film building up sympathy and back stories for all three, and while they did a really good job with Harley and Rick, Deadshot’s backstory just seemed a little sappy. It was the classic “bad guy who’s really a softie when it comes to his sweet innocent daughter, and he would do anything to help her” bit. That bit can be well done, but it did feel a bit heavy-handed in the sob-story department as far as Deadshot was concerned (he still was a very cool and likable character in spite of this). The other squad members (Diablo in particular) had very similar sob-stories of their own that didn’t really seem to fit. The Joker himself was also rather disappointing. So much hype was built around Jared Leto bringing a fresh take to the Joker, but his performance (while delightfully wild and creepy) did seem pretty forced and a bit shallow. Maybe I’m just comparing him to the stunning performance that Heath Ledger gave to the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight…
The good news was, while the story lacked in depth, it also wasn’t nearly as dark as I was expecting. It felt more like DC’s version of Guardians of the Galaxy (complete with humor, bright colors, a lovable band of misfits and a spunky soundtrack), though not as good as Guardians. There was some violence (some people get shot, the squad is badly mistreated in jail, and they kill lots of rock-like monsters) but it wasn’t the focus of the movie. It also wasn’t nearly suggestive as I was expecting. Yes, the girl characters go around dressed in little more than underwear, but there weren’t nearly as many bad scenes or up-close shots of their bodies as I was expecting. The only really bad scene was in the Joker’s night club where Harley and another lady dance all throughout the scene in a very, shall we say, unladylike fashion. Language wasn’t over the top either. It definitely wasn’t a kids movie, but I was very thankful that it wasn’t as dark as some of the trailers seemed to suggest.
As I said before, I went to go see the movie for its visuals – mainly the colors. I was not disappointed! Harley’s blue and red makeup, the Joker’s electric-green hair, Deadshot’s red and black suit, the Enchantress’s green and orange magic…all of it combined to make a feast for the eyes as far as color was concerned. Again, I know it sounds silly, but the colors really do make this movie! People watch The Great Gatsby for its costumes, Pride and Prejudice for its landscapes and The Lord of the Rings for its fantastical world, and I believe that all are perfectly good reasons to be drawn to a movie. A movie, after all, used to be called “moving pictures” for a good reason – films can be like watching a painting in action. The music of Suicide Squad was also great, I really got attached to Deadshot and Harley, the ending credits were an unbelievable riot of kaleidoscopic images and colors, and the story was kept light-hearted enough to leave you with a feeling of “fun”.
I can understand why many critics have slammed Suicide Squad. It really did lack depth, many of the characters were shallow and there were quite a few cheesy and/or slow parts. But it’s all about expectations – if you go into Suicide Squad expecting a compelling story line, a stunning Joker performance, great back stories, etc., you will be disappointed. But if you are just along for the ride (especially if you see it in 3D as I did), I don’t see how you could fail to enjoy it!
If any of you have gone to see it or are planning on seeing it, let me know in the comments!