I liked Suicide Squad. If you didn’t like it cool. I might end up not liking it in the future but for now I liked it. Why? People have written about the mess of a movie. Editing, tone, structure, and the films plot. So why did it I like it? Here’s the thing, it reminded me of a comic book.
Comic Book Movies are about turning comic book stories and characters into something that works for the medium of film. Comic books as a medium is different. Lots happen between panels, tone can shift quickly from the use of captions to a fill in artist to anything, and structure… well… its comic books. Structure can be fucked around with. As a film critic, I can buy into the criticism but as a comic book nerd, these problems exist quite frequently in comic books, specifically superhero comics. Superhero comics are usually middling. They are survived by characters. Most villains are only cool by aesthetic and personality, their plans are usually generic or trash. Switches in tone don’t bother me as such cause I’ve dealt with comics that can go serious to silly in a few pages. These problems with the movie are common place. Maybe not all in one but hey, I’m watching a film based on comic book characters so my comic book nerd pops up and shrugs this off.
The plot is idiotic. No doubt. The villain? Whatever. I think she looks cool and love that one critic referred to her as Evil-Lyn. I’m use to boring villains. A lot of superhero movies have bad or boring villains. So while the plot is a knock, my no expectations for villainy makes it hard to use that as a strike against the film. The editing? Look-outside the first several minutes I got no problems. At all. If the film started with Waller instead of waiting ten minutes I’d have been happier. I’m sure it could’ve used a couple less flashbacks but I’m fine with it. After that, got little problem with the way the film flows. Its overstuff, sure, but it mostly deals with the team and people. Whereas Batman vs Superman tried to deal with a universe.
Why did like the flow here over BvS? BvS played it too straight, too seriously, Squad plays in four colors and big attitude. BvS feels like a guy who likes dramatic, realistic, gritty comic books. Suicide Squad feels like a guy wanted to make a comic book. I can buy it moving as it does. BvS is in the vein of story driven superhero books, and the problem is the story overshadows the characters so if it doesn’t deliver it hurts everything. Squad is a character driven work much like most superhero comics, where they exist and keep running because the character or characters.
So do I like the characters? Will Smith is great as Deadshot. As was Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. I dug Boomerang, Katana and Flagg. Quinn was good but not the showstopper. Crock was fine. Joker was… better than I expected but not quite impressive. If anything I was stunned by his love of Harley, which seemed more true here than the comic books where he views Harley as an accessory. Here Joker would rescue her, in the animated series (where Harley originates) he would blow up Gotham and not bother picking her up. He’s still an abusive ass and their relationship sucks but HEY! I bought his love for her.
Look-critically, the film is bad. But its bad like a mediocre comic book I buy to enjoy the cool scenes and the cool characters. I buy a lot of superhero comic books, too many. I’ve adapted to grade comic books on a curve. If I didn’t I’d be frustrated with superhero comics more than I am and believe me last year I was pretty fucking angry. Suicide Squad for me represents the comic book medium more than it does the movie medium. So if you want a good or great movie based on a comic book this probably isn’t it. Its got problems. But if you like to see fun characters in crazy, colorful situations and don’t mind ridiculous and at times idiotic circumstances because its superheroes? Suicide Squad is pretty damn cool.
I will say the music in the movie is better than the soundtrack. That was stupid.