Right up until it was actually released, there was a huge amount of excitement and hype for Suicide Squad. Immediately following its release, however, this turned into a huge amount of disappointment and rage towards Suicide Squad. If I hadn’t been intrigued before the hate started, I certainly was when the Internet started screaming “travesty”.
The level of hate I’ve seen out there isn’t justified. I’m not saying it was fantastic, because it wasn’t, but it wasn’t a trainwreck. With some memorable highs and some unfortunate gaping holes it held out as good, but in the same sort of way that Happy Gilmore-era Sandler movies are good – it was funny, had some killer moments and some missed-by-a-mile hits. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a good old slighty-shitty comedy, but I think everyone expected this to be something else.
Harley Quinn was without doubt one of the highest highs that this film hit. Margot Robbie absolutely nailed it and the fragments of backstory we got made Harley Quinn one of the most developed and compelling characters in the movie. Her relationship with the Joker, who was brilliantly portrayed by Jared Leto, was also seriously fascinating and I wanted so much more of it. If anyone deserves a spin-off movie, it’s Harley. Someone please get on this, stat.
The only problem with Harley was actually a problem with most of the squad. Without giving too much away, they gave us a solid explanation for how and why Waller was able to “motivate” Deadshot and the Enchantress into doing what she wanted, but failed to explain how they got any of the others to agree to participate. Sure, there was always the threat of “do it or stay where you are forever”, but most of the characters would have taken the “stay where you are” option. They also really skimmed over the development of the villains-into-heroes part. They went straight from “I’m just here until I see my chance to escape” to “I’m going to help save the world for totally selfless reasons” without any character development or motivation to do so. This binary switch was almost as ridiculous as the way hitman-for-hire Deadshot was portrayed throughout as the most moral and upstanding of the bunch.
There were, as we might expect in a Sandler movie, a few moments of racial stereotyping portrayed as comedy. Captain Boomerang, regularly seen drinking tinnies of beer he’s clearly brought with him, brings almost nothing to the plot save for an assortment of Australian stereotypes. Really, they might as well have had him toting a barbecue around with him. Katana also fell victim to some of this stereotyping, but comparatively little.
The soundtrack was so close to a perfect strike. The mix of classic rock bangers combined with the more typical parts of the soundtrack gave it a much less serious and more fun feel, which is what stood Deadpool apart as one of the best superhero movies to come out in the last decade (not that that’s difficult to achieve when your competition includes several of the X-men films). The soundtrack worked so well that I’m willing to forgive the inclusion of AC/DC on it, who despite being an excellent band, have become the unfortunate hallmark of shite children’s movies.
And with all of these things I’ve already mentioned, this could have still been a pretty damn good movie. But there’s one thing that accounts for 90% of the problems with this movie. This one thing almost killed the entire film and honestly, I won’t be surprised if it does kill the acting career of Cara Delevinge. For the stand-out carcrash was the Enchantress. I’m not blaming Delevinge for her characters complete and utter awfulness as her role involved little more than standing in place as a prop to attach special effects, computer generated voicing and what I will generously call clothes too. An interesting move backwards for a former-supermodel turned actress. But whilst the rest of the film had the typical hallmarks of a blockbuster superhero movie budget, anything and everything to do with the Enchantress had all the hallmarks of a fan movie made in some guy’s backyard. The effects were the sort of thing I’d expect from an A-level film studies class. The acting was so obscured by these effects that it’s hard to comment on Cara’s performance, but the small scenes of genuine non-sfx acting we saw from her were on a par with a year 11 play production of, well, anything. I’ve seen Cara Delevinge in several other movies in which she was absolutely phenomenal, most notably Paper Towns, but she really failed to bring anything special to this role. But maybe she suspected, as I do, that this role was actually written with the intention of ending the career of whichever fool ended up taking it on.
All in all, I’m going to give it a fairly generous 5.5/10. It was still enjoyable and entertaining, but it had some gaping plotholes and I will never, ever forgive anyone involved for the Enchantress. Where Deadpool hit success by not taking itself too seriously and being undisputedly fun, Suicide Squad took it just that bit further and landed sadly in Sandler territory. Suicide Squad is closer to being Happy Gilmore than it is to being Deadpool. Ultimately fun, but not going to go down in movie history. And not really what we wanted from it.