Review: Suicide Squad

12489243_1674589672821667_4430624289856009994_oThe first part of the expanded DC universe to not star Superman or Batman has been released.  Suicide Squad is a much different type of film than the previous DC films, Man of Steel and Batman v Superman.  This also marks the live-action debut of fan favorite characters, most notably, Harley Quinn.

Suicide Squad definitely brings a much more light-hearted attitude and a sense of fun to the DC universe.  While this is not the bleakness that was Batman V Superman, this is still a fairly dark movie.  What really stands out is the characters.  They are lights in the darkness, providing many lighter moments.  This film also feels like they are finally embracing the comic book roots instead of apologizing for them.

With the opening of the film, we meet each of the more important members of Task Force X.  We get a brief scene of each character in their natural habitat and a breakdown of their skills or abilities.  It’s a bit clumsy but it does work for giving us a lot of information very quickly.  In these brief flashbacks, we get to see two scenes of not only our squad members but also the future Justice League members with Batman and the Flash.  I didn’t know the Flash was in it before seeing the film, so I was very happy to see him in action, if only for a few seconds.

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Of the squad, Deadshot, Harley, and Diablo are the real stand outs.  Croc doesn’t quite feel like the Croc from the comics, but of course, there have been so many versions of Killer Croc over the years, which one would they follow?  I’d say this is closer to the Croc from the Batman Animated Series, more human-like in size but still monstrous looking.  Captain Boomerang is mostly comedic relief.  After meeting the main squad we are introduced to one more character and it’s clear that he won’t be sticking around very long.  The filmmakers definitely put Deadshot, Harley, and Diablo front and center for this movie.

Also in the movie, we have the Joker.  Jared Leto’s Joker is a kind of nihilistic, gangster, pimp with a flair for the dramatic.  He has the green hair, and a lighter shade of skin, but does not have the classic rictus grin.  There were times where I couldn’t even tell he had lighter skin and thought it was only face makeup like Heath Ledger did in The Dark Knight.  Much like Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman, many of the choices made here are questionable.  I admire them trying something new and different.  Of course, when you take chances, those chances might not always work out.  There are a few moments where I started to like the Joker, but then he would lose me again in the next moment.  One of the biggest problems is that he was never funny.  He was weird and crazy, but never really made jokes.

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Initially, I was afraid that since there have been so many previous for this movie that much like Batman V Superman the marketing will have given away everything in the film.  Thankfully, the trailers did not give everything away, including the villain’s reveal which was unexpected.  Most of the films jokes are spoiled in the trailers, but there are enough surprises that I didn’t feel like I had seen it all before.

I was very happy to see them go all out on was Amanda Waller.  In the comics, she is ruthless and heartless, and that is how she is here.  She shows more than once how far she will go to achieve her goals.

I was also very happy that the film lived up to it’s title.  A classic part of the comics was that a character would die in every story.  It’s the same here, one death we see coming a mile away, but others are unexpected.  There are also several fun easter eggs for the comics.

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Suicide Squad is a good but uneven movie.  It does some things really well but falls into a lot of the same problems as the previous DC films.  I’m glad to see the filmmakers seems to be less embarrassed about embracing the more comic booky aspects, and that they aren’t afraid to add humour and levity to their stories.

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