Was far better than it had any right to be.
As in was actually fun. And Will Smith is amazing. As is Margot Robble. And I ❤ Diablo, and Katana and Captain Boomerang.
Joel Kinnaman looks terrifyingly like Carmine Giovinazzo, so I apologise in advance if I make any Danny Messer on steroids jokes.
It’s only as I’m reading back through this that I realise that I’ve gone through the film character by character rather than thematically or chronologically. This wasn’t deliberate but may well show one of the weaknesses of the film. It’s a series of character bits strung together with action scenes. Now I don’t mind that at all, but other people will.
Some spoilers for Batman vs Superman follow (because they’re in the film) and mention of most of the Marvel Filmverse.
The story mostly makes sense. There’s a couple of moments of ‘that move was too boneheaded for that character to make’ but we will forgive them for this. The characters work as versions of themselves, even if a few people have had some of their rougher edges smoothed down. It is interesting, for instance, that the film does flash up that Harley was involved with Robin’s death but it is blink and you’ll miss it.
The film is tightly tied to Batman vs Superman, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, Suicide Squad does its bit to set up Justice League with a much lighter, easier and more fun touch than B v S did. On the other hand, I feel that this means that the Batfleck solo film we’re going to get (thank you, whoever) is going to be Bats vs the Joker, again. And while I am all over that, because … oh I’m hopeless, I do feel it’s been done and is only going to be compared to The Dark Knight, and that may not end well.
I am aware I am the only person that liked the Leto Joker. He doesn’t quite work, but it is at least blatantly not based on the Ledger-Joker (no diss against him). Given that other films keep turning other characters into the Ledger-Joker it’s a refreshing change. Also Jared Leto is the only person who looks more terrifying out of Joker make up than in it. Harley’s fantasy is legitimately eerie.
Deadshot is lovely, and it’s one of the interesting things about the film, that he is clearly a good guy and a bad man at the same time. And Will Smith is good at both. Better at being the good guy but … Deadshot so lovely. As is his daughter. Whose name I didn’t catch. In the film’s defence, I can’t hear out of my right ear properly at the moment so I don’t think it was their fault.
The film gave me an Amanda Waller who was just right. Because yes. Although it does worry me somewhat that her line on the topic of Superman is mine. No good comes of me and Amanda Waller agreeing. I also liked that the film let the “heroes” (well, you know) call her out when she does things that are really not good, see also *that* scene in the bunker. One of the things that annoyed me about the first Avengers film and the second Captain America film is that Nick Fury kept doing things that were decidedly shades of grey and no-one shouted at him. I don’t mind Nat and Clint not doing it, but I refuse to believe that Tony would be able to keep his opinions to himself. Also, I think she knows about the Bat and that makes me want to yell at Bruce going ‘Bruce, you really don’t want her to know’.
Harley Quinn was, well, she was herself. I can see why people might be annoyed that she always goes back to her Pudding. But the whole thing with her character is that she would (and indeed is) lovely, if only she avoids the Joker. And they got that over. Margot Robble is far better than I expected her to be. My favourite scene was the one just after the helicopter is shot down when the rest of the Squad find her again. The minute she sees them she tries to fake being alright, and then Deadshot holds his arms out so she can get down and she just melts into his arms. It’s so lovely. Because Deadshot is lovely.
Actually, the whole escape sequence is lovely. From Deadshot not telling anyone about Harley’s plans to him pulling his shot (and the rest of the squad being happy about it) and Captain Boomerang, who is by someway the member with the least empathy, trying to comfort him when the helicopter is shot down.
Joel Kinnaman does a bang up job in what could have been a thankless role. Because Flagg is the least bad of the good guys (because that’s how this film does it’s shades of grey), and less interesting than the bad guys and could just have been a bland GI Joe a-like. Instead Kinnaman gives him a reality and just enough human weakness to believable and real and solid. (Although the rest of the military squad were pretty much misc. disposable military types and hello Scott Eastwood. Because Scott Eastwood is always hello!)
I am going to presume that they cast Cara Delavigne for her ability to gyrate convincingly in very little for that bit at the end with the Enchantress. It doesn’t work. Then again, I don’t think anyone would have been convincing doing those gyrations, Josephine Baker notwithstanding.
Jay Hernandez is good as Diablo, who gets to be the regretful one of the squad. I think he’s literally the only one who regrets their crimes.
Captain Boomerang, on the other hand, really doesn’t. He’s, I think, the only one of the Squad who isn’t given some excuse or reason or redeeming feature. He’s fun, nonetheless, and it makes those moments where he is vaguely human more effective. It’s interesting that they choose him, who is the least dangerous and deadly Squad member as the one without redeeming features.
His accent is merely ludicrous. I have no idea if Jai Courtney just can’t do an Aussie accent, or if he’s an Aussie they told to put on the most stereotypical and ridiculous accent ever. All I know is that it sounds even more bizarre given that Margot Robble occasionally breaks into ‘Strine next to him.
I ❤ Killer Croc, which I really didn’t expect. He’s one of the few Bat-villains I know more from the comics than any adaptation, and I’m used to feeling sorry for him, but not loving him. Because he knows what he is, and he’s okay with it – see the scene in the bar. (Also, just cast Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in everything.) I’m also trying to figure out if his line about ‘being born into the sewers’ is supposed to be a call-back to Bane.
Nothing about Katana makes any sense. If she’s got Flagg’s back, then why does she leave him and join the rest of the Squad in the bar scene? But if she’s one of the Squad, why is she allowed to roam free? She’s cool, but as I said, makes no sense.
It’s not a classic by any means, but its a fun way to spend a couple of hours, and if nothing else, it has a cracking soundtrack. I really don’t want to know how much Warners paid to get that soundtrack.