Published on December 17th, 2016 | by Chris O'Connor
Suicide Squad DVD Review
Summary: Who do you cheer for when the villains are asked to be heroes and the ones pulling their strings are villainous?
A lot was made of Suicide Squad well before it ever saw the light of day… those “leaked” pictures of Jared Leto in his previously (cinematically at least) unseen version of the Joker (I’ll get back to this). After so many people complaining (unjustly I feel but then opinions are the gift that everyone keeps giving on the internet) about how dark the DC universe films were. Seemingly hearing these complaints and wanting to challenge the notion that DC films were always too dark David Ayer decided to tackle the best of the worst… the Suicide Squad and try to inject some fun into Detective Comics world in film.
To some extent I think it works… but there are far too many points that don’t really click that end up distracting from the overall film. It would be harsh not to give allowance to David Ayer for tackling a movie that has to introduce so many characters in such a short amount of time… and they really do have to be introduced because they all have their important roles to play. As a result of the condensed time frame for playing out all these characters, many end up coming across as more or less 1 dimensional characters. The other danger, if rumours are true, was in Will Smith requiring his character have a lot more screen time in order to join the project. This one ended up being a benefit though because it at least gave us one character to have more to grab on to… having said that, without knowing the motivations for him getting into his line of work (or knowing why he is so good at what he does) there are still arguably more questions than answers and his redeeming quality is only redeeming to a point.
The character with the most appeal is almost a glorified extra for the majority of the film but does indeed come to the front for the finale. El Diablo… who (if you know a smidge of Spanish or Latin) is very aptly named (The Devil)… his backstory makes a lot of sense and the impact it has had on him is believable. But then we have characters who are thrown in because they are needed to fill the team and to create an opponent worthy of the teams talents. It’s very much a case of too many cooks spoil the broth. I don’t know if the movie will work better after “stand alone” movies get released (though as of writing this I believe Harley Quinn and Deadshot are the only ones green lit for their own movies and they are the more well known of the characters in the squad). I was happy to see the reason all of these criminals were complying explained in a reasonable way… that was a concern, so points for that one (if you’ve seen The Running Man you will know what approach they take).
Another interesting choice is regarding colour and light. Throughout the introduction we have splashes of bright neon colours telling us who everyone is… there is plenty of colour… then the world effectively goes dark… and I don’t just mean dark as in a big decrease in the number of colours being used… but visually the image is so dark that the practically black enemy creatures the squad fight disappear into the background… it doesn’t help the appeal of the film when you are struggling to see what is going on (maybe I’m just getting old?).
But then there is The Joker. Every new performer taking on the role of The Joker (and no doubt each director influencing that actor) has to put their own touch on the character. I don’t know who’s choice it was to go with what became known as “emo joker” but during the run up to the film I was shocked at the visual style used but figured “hey people were wrong about how good Heath Ledger would be… I will give Leto a chance.” I like Leto as an actor too… he’s put in a bunch of great performances, he was said to have sent his co-stars some very “unique” gifts during filming to really get into his character. Now I don’t mind The Method… some of my favourite actors are Method actors… but I just can’t support the end result in this case. Leto’s joker came across as more of a big name criminal thug rather than the Clown Prince of Crime. While Ledger wore his insanity just below the surface and earnt the notion of “some people just want to watch the world burn”. Leto seems more like a kid who was never told no growing up and so doesn’t understand right from wrong or consequences… there was no real sense of insanity. A better way to put it might be Leto was to Ledger what the WWE is to MMA… there are similarities but one is just so much more real than the other.
It’s not a bad film… I will certainly watch it again (no doubt many times)… there are some nice cameos and the core is there… I just think the execution was lacking… that may be rectified in the extended cut… or perhaps the film will be more enjoyable if we get to see the characters fleshed out more in other movies. Worth having… but maybe wait till it’s on special.