Derek Johnson Muses

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Suicide Squad Review: No Spoilers

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. Anyway, my sister always asks me for my thoughts on popular movies, so I thought I’d actually write some of them here. In general, I would say that, the movie is a lot of fun, and, if you always want to see the 2 or 3 biggest summer blockbusters in theaters, I would say you should definitely make a point to see this if you’ve already seen Batman V Superman. Because, since DC is rushing a lot of movies, there are direct BVS spoilers in Suicide Squad. 

But first, critics have me exasperated. Yes, there are part of the movie that don’t work or are shoehorned in. But Will Smith and Margot Robbie are terrific in this, along with a solid supporting cast. Every big franchise is going to jam in 40 characters and subplots, and be a little convoluted. Get over it.

So, Suicide Squad is overstuffed, but not to the degree Captain America: Civil War was, or its DCEU predecessor, Batman V Superman. Like a lot of early 2000’s superhero films, the origins and flashbacks do bog down the first thirty minutes of the film. The lesser members of the team, like Captain Boomerang and Killer Croc, don’t get the character development that they would have in a smaller, more focused film. 

But the film nails the two characters it has to nail, Deadshot and Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn alone was worth the price of admission. Her flashbacks explaining why she fell for the Joker reminded me of Walter White and the reasons why that character turned evil. She’s set up to carry her own movie now, and, in spite of the fact that she’s violently crazy, there is a depth to Harley’s character that can be explored. 

The action storytelling is not perfect. There are a few action scenes that aren’t played for their maximum impact, and seem to only be in the movie because some executive told David Ayer too much screentime would pass without a boom. All told, some of the twists in the movie aren’t played for their maximum value, and that is were some of the potential character moments are lost. The reason for the main crisis in itself is somewhat questionable. But those shortcomings don’t distract from the main characters.

A lot of these problems are caused by DC/Warners sudden jump into universe building. Marvel had multiple movies to build up to its big fantastical villains. DC had to go big right away, so they’re starting with huge, metahuman stories that are hard to grasp without wading through some deep mythology. The DCEU can be given the benefit of the doubt for a few movies until they build to a couple of big team-ups. Now that Geoff Johns is going to be overseeing DC film adaptions, the universe should have a coherent voice, but it remains to be seen if such a voice can deliver more coherent plots. 

But all the behind the scenes stuff at Warner and DC isn’t an excuse for critics to hate on Suicide Squad. It’s a good movie, with some powerful moments for all its characters. A lot of movies today are made with a safe, pre-2000’s TV-like stories that play out predictably, like the most recent Bourne movie or even the last Star Wars to a point. Suicide Squad gives each of its characters, even some that don’t a lot of screen time, a good character moment where you feel for them. And that’s powerful. 

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