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Three things Suicide Squad did well and three things it did not so well

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Written by Marvelous Toys' dear friend, Sd Shiva.

Based on the comic book team of the same name, director David Ayer’s Suicide Squad presents to us larger than life version of some of DC’s most prominent rouges and anti-heroes. After reshoots and a complete overhaul in the film’s tone, many have approached this latest offering of DC’s Extended Universe with anticipation and excitement.

Now that the film has been out in cinemas for a while, and most of us have managed to catch it, does the film truly manage to hold up to the hype generated by its exceptional publicity campaign? As with Batman V Superman that came before it, Suicide Squad is a movie that does plenty of right, but is prevented from attaining its full potential by several aspects.

Before we begin, check out our sweet Suicide Squad collection here

Here are three things that scored major points with this writer, and three other things that could have been handled differently.

Three Ways Suicide Squad is an Epic Win

The Characters

When you have the word “Squad” in the title of your film, you can bet that there will be a certain level of expectation in terms of the chemistry between your various characters.

Suicide Squad drew the attention of many early on with an all-star cast that includes the likes of Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto. While the characters of the film are not exactly the most well known, aside from Harley Quinn and the Joker, the cast skillfully manages to bring their individual characters to life.

Jared Leto’s Joker is probably the aspect of the film that I had the least expectations for, especially when considering how the portrayals of the character by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger have been immortalized in popular culture.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised by how Leto plays the character with the perfect mix of sadistic glee and volatility. Right from the get go, we know that this Joker is a time bomb. On the outside, he has everything wrapped around his finger – as seen by how he can stage an escape from a maximum security prison with ease – but we can sense a certain unpredictability with the character that adds volumes to the depth of the character.

Margot Robbie doesn’t disappoint either as her psychopathic, but obviously vulnerable, Harley Quinn. Just for the fans of the Batman Animated Series, from which the character originated from, Ayer even throws in several seconds of footage of the character in her original costume. Will Smith is surprisingly good as Deadshot, expertly balancing the character’s apparent disregard for life with his own internal conflict brought about by all the people he has killed. 

Even the minor characters, like Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Killer Croc, get their individual moments to shine, with Hernandez exceed all expectations in his portrayal of a man well aware of the destructiveness of his abilities, and Adewale manages to add heart to the movie despite his character only speaking a handful of lines.

While the various characters certainly hold their own, it is the way in which they interact with each other that truly convinces the audience that these are a group of characters that go on a journey with each other throughout the movie and grow to respect each other as equals by its end. This is only made possible by the chemistry shared by the various actors off screen.

The Presentation

While Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman was a dark and brooding movie that debated the ethics behind being above everyone else, Ayer wisely decides not to tackle such heavy topics with Suicide Squad.

Instead, the movie is presented with a comparatively more lighthearted, fun tone. The character introductions, in particular, are done exceptionally well. As each of the main characters are introduced, they are accompanied by a stylized fact sheet that not only explains who they are, but also tell the audiences a little bit more about the personalities of the character as well.

While the rest of the movie lacks such an impressive sequence, the film utilized a well-selected playlist of songs to add to the mood of each scene. It is very reminiscent of what Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy did with music, but does not manage to create that big an impact as the prior did. Still, Suicide Squad is a stylish film in its own right, and some sequences can almost be considered artsy in terms of cinematography, but the film as a whole is just clearly meant to be taken a lot less seriously than Batman V Superman, and Man of Steel before it.

The Comic Book Moments

If you are anything like me, then you are a sucker for comic book moments in superhero movies. I don’t just mean well choreographed action sequences, but rather scenes that look like they could literally be freeze framed and used as a panel in a comic book.

And if you are anything like me, then Suicide Squad would have pleased you many times in this aspect. The Joker laughs maniacally as he empties the entire clip of an assault rifle at an unfortunate victim. Deadshot singlehandedly kills an entire horde of zombified enemies while atop a stalled car. Katana’s sword actually emits the souls of its victims. Harley Quinn fighting using her mallet.

And then we have the cameos. Batman silently swooping in on Deadshot before engaging in a tense fist fight with him. Ezra Miller’s Flash appears for the first time fully suited up in his Justice League costume to take down his nemesis Captain Boomerang.

Regardless of which character you might be a fan off, it is safe to say that there is something in store that will satisfy the geek in you.

Three Ways Suicide Squad could have been better

The Pacing

When I watched the movie, the aspect of it that displeased me the most is the irregular pacing of the entire film. I had the same gripe with Batman V Superman until the Ultimate Edition of the film fixed it with proper edits to the pacing.

Similarly, the theatrical cut of Suicide Squad suffers from poor pacing in its second and third acts, both of which drone on for so long that it is hard to tell either apart.  

When the action starts, Suicide Squad is a blast to watch, but when Ayer tries to develop the backstories of the characters through the numerous flashback sequences, the pacing of the movie really suffers. While I enjoyed the glimpse into the past of these characters, I felt that the way in which the scenes are edited together results in a jarring experience between scene to scene.

The Villain

Don’t get me wrong, I love Cara Delevingne’s performance in Suicide Squad, but not so much how her character, The Enchantress, was presented. While the character’s position as squad leader Colonel Rick Flagg’s love interest adds an interesting dynamic to the film, close to nothing is explained about the character’s origins.

Yes, we know that her character is possessed by and kept prisoner to an ancient witch, but little else is explained. What exactly are her powers? Why does she have to rely on a machine to destroy the world when she is suggested to be the most powerful force on the squad? Questions such as these are never answered.

The addition of The Incubus as a secondary antagonist in the movie also feels forced on and unnecessary, especially when considering the fact that the character is not even associated with The Enchantress in the comics, but appears as her brother here in the film. I am all for films editing the comic origins of characters to better fit their plot, but only when it makes the stories easier to understand, which is not the case right here.

The Holes in the Plot

To add on to the lack of development in some areas of the film, it also has several very blatant plot holes that bugged me while I watched it. To begin with, the entire movie seems to be revolving around Amanda Waller having to clean up her own mess. Fair enough, since she only loses the control she has over The Enchantress after she loses the latter’s heart. But when you really think about it, she had possession of the heart for a large part of the first and second acts of the film.

If she knew how much of a threat The Enchantress was to begin with, then why not just destroy the entire heart right away? Yes, she was afraid that the innocent June Moon whom The Enchantress is possessing will die too, but this is Amanda Waller we are talking about, the same woman who is prepared to hire serial killers and criminals to do what is necessary to keep the world safe. It just does not make sense that the character would be capable of such a lack of foresight.

To make matters worse, she knows about the abilities of all those that she intends to control, which would mean that she knows about The Enchantress’ ability to teleport into secure locations, also seen by how she orders her to get enemy plans for the US military while pitching the idea of starting the squad. So why would she even decide to keep the heart, the only failsafe against a being as powerful as The Enchantress, anywhere other than a place with 24/7 security and surveillance?  

I was also confused by how Captain Boomerang decides to leave the squad during the bar scene only to return to them without any explanation whatsoever in the next sequence.

All that said, I still enjoyed the film as I did not go into the cinema expecting a serious movie of any sort. I also believe that these plot holes are a result of editing cuts done by Warner Brothers themselves, as evidenced by how many of the scenes in the trailers never made the theatrical cut.

Here’s to hoping that a better, more polished edition of the film is released eventually!

And remember to check out our sweet Suicide Squad collection here

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