"Suicide Squad amounts to an all-out attack on the whole idea of entertainment." Ouch. With 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a thorough savaging by critics, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Suicide Squad is the WORST FILM EVER MADE (and some people have called it that).
So how bad is it really? The answer: not that bad. No way as bad as other reviews have made it seem. It's a solid three stars. Fairly good. Relatively enjoyable. Put it this way, I've seen far, far worse films. Films I've wanted to walk out of. Films that made me feel genuinely angry at the time I'd wasted. I certainly didn't feel that way about Suicide Squad.
Like Ghostbusters, it's become popular to claim you HATED Suicide Squad. It feels like that's the 'right' thing to say about it. And it is hard saying that a film is 'alright' if lots of critics have said it's shit. But often film writers will pan something that the cash-paying, general cinema-goer actually quite enjoys. (Note that on Rotten Tomatoes the fan score is a much more positive 74%.)
If you're expecting an edgy, genre-satirising Deadpool-style LOL fest, you are going to be disappointed. If you're down with an average shoot-em-up, blow-em-up superhero flick, it's no less box-ticking than others in the genre. (In a nutshell: some of the worst super-villains are brought together to save the world from an even worse baddy.) In this way, Suicide Squad probably suffered from its own Hype Machine - pitching it as an ensemble Deadpool, when it's really not.
Like all three-star films, there are things that worked, and things that didn't - here's my *personal* rundown of The Good, The Bad, and The Ridiculous. Feel free to vehemently disagree with me in the comments...
Viola Davis - who is the true baddy in this film full of baddies. As the cold-hearted, brilliantly ruthless Director Amanda Waller - the government big-wig who assembles the Suicide Squad - she is hard core.
Will Smith - This is how my cinema buddy and fellow Entertainment Editor, Helen Whitaker put it: "I enjoy any film where Will Smith plays Will Smith. And he was full Will Smith in it." Will Smith is a completely solid, A-list lead in this kind of blockbuster film. Charismatic, good comic timing, super-buff. Just totally watchable (and that IS a compliment).
Margot Robbie - Who along with Will Smith as Deadshot, is the main baddy in the gang. The un-hinged Harley Quinn has proved too cray-cray for some, but I dug it. Her scenes alongside an amped up, bonkers Jared Leto as The Joker worked the best for me, with their combined craziness somehow more convincing than Harley Quinn's solo nuttiness.
Soundtrack - A movie soundtrack that encompasses Eminem's Without Me and a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody gets the thumbs up from me. And they use it to good effect, cranking it up in just the right places.
Sexism *sigh* - There are plenty of bad ass female characters - which we like - but curiously their costumes show a lot more flesh than their male counterparts. Harley Quinn is undeniably hot stuff, but the scenes where male characters literally forget what they're doing to ogle her ass seem unnecessary and frankly uncool. If you want her running round in sequined hot pants, fine, just let her do that, without having pervy men leer over her on screen.
Way too many characters - Honestly, I couldn't understand why some characters were in this film, they played such a tiny role in the plot. They could have ditched Boomerang (sorry, Jai Courtney), who is a faintly racist depiction of an Australian guy with, yep, a magic boomerang. And Killer Croc (apologies also to Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who did and said so little in the final cut, it seemed a waste of all that make-up and CGI.
<p class="p7">The plot doesn't really make sense -
But they often don't in these comic book adaptations, so it's not a
unique complaint about Suicide Squad. I'm not sure I could
describe what happened in the film in any logical way. Also, as my
wise, aforementioned friend Helen said after the film, while we
waited in the ginormo-queue for the Ladies: "The problem is the
world has overtaken these comic book universes in terms of bad
things happening. Cara Delevigne trying to destroy the world with
a big swirling vortex isn't as scary as what we see on the news."
On that note, there are a couple of scenes that felt a bit close to
the bone given how awful the world is right now.
Too long - like all blockbuster films it needed a tighter edit. At 2 hr 10 minutes, it was at least 15 minutes too long for me.
Cara Delevigne's voice - When Cara's character Dr June Moone (she's a doctor so she wears glasses, obvs) becomes possessed by the evil spirit Enchantress, we are treated to some genuinely hilarious scenes where she goes full wobbly "There is no Cara, only Zuul" with flailing arms. We couldn't work out if they'd altered the voice in post-production, but it had me in stitches.
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