Summertime: pools open, delicious BBQ smells are wafting through the air, and the influx of summer blockbusters hit movie theaters like a ton of bricks. This year we already have had a new installment of the Captain America series “Civil War”, the hero vs hero saga “Batman v Superman”, the female driven “Ghostbusters”, and the underwater adventure sequel “Finding Dory”, and the summer isn’t even over yet. Enter the villain inspired “Suicide Squad” from DC Comics, arguably the most anticipated film of the summer movies for 2016. Fortunately and unfortunately, I have a husband who likes to drag me to all of these Marvel and DC movies in the hopes that I will enjoy them as much as he does and I have to admit there have been a few that have been pretty entertaining even for a novice such as myself, but most fall flat in my opinion. When I heard about Suicide Squad, it already peaked my interest a bit simply from the idea of focusing on the villains rather than the superheroes themselves. It is something that we haven’t really seen yet from Marvel or DC and when the director released a photo of Jared Leto as the iconic Joker in April of 2015, I was immediately hooked. No need for persuasion from my husband to be on board with this one. He looked so over the top in such a good way that I knew this movie would be crazy and entertaining enough to keep my attention for 2 hours, even if I didn’t have any clue who any of the characters were (as per usual with these flicks). Rounded out with an all star cast, this movie looked like it would be set up for success if it could break free from the “comic book” monotony.
Following the catastrophic events of Batman v Superman, we are faced with the idea that mankind could potentially be wiped out from these new “super” beings, who have more skill and stamina than a normal human. The government develops a plan to recruit the most ruthless criminals in the prison system to form a group that will fight on the side of the good guys in exchange for privileges and lessened sentences. Monitored by Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), a group is comprised of Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Killer Croc, El Diablo, and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney). Tasked with defeating the evil ancient witch Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), they are thrown into a situation that will most likely kill them (hence “Suicide Squad”), but they each have a reason for wanting to defy the odds and succeed and we are able to see that not all villains are completely bad. However multiple road blocks are thrown in their way, with Flag’s unexpected connection to Enchantress and Harley’s bizarre soulmate The Joker doing everything in his power to be reunited with her. Over the course of their mission, this group of rebel loners that would usually chant “every man for himself” develop a bond and surprisingly relate to each other in a way that makes them even stronger as a group.
With the newfound interest in comic book movies that has come along over the past 10 years, the movie industry is overly saturated with them. And I have to be honest, they are starting to feel very repetitive. How do you make one stand out from the crowd? Well to put it simply, this was the first Marvel/DC movie that really felt like a comic book movie to me. The color graphics and music choices took it from “just another comic book movie” to the most entertaining movie I have seen come out of Marvel or DC so far. It was over the top and extreme just enough to make it work and not have it be annoying.
It was so fun to experience a story that primarily focused on villains saving the day. Combined with the absolutely amazing cast chemistry lead by the equally entertaining Robbie and Smith, this is a movie that my novice comic book self would see again and again. There were moments when I was laughing out loud or clutching the armrest in suspense, and moments that truly pulled at my heartstrings, which I was not expecting. You could tell that the cast must have had a blast filming this together, because all of their emotions and excitement came across on screen better than any movie I have seen in a long time. The majority of the movie takes place over the course of a single night, which would usually make the movie feel like it is dragging on, but in this case the 2 hours went by in a flash. There was enough action and comedic scenes that the movie never seemed to sit still for too long.
Unfortunately, the one loose pin in this amazing cinematic pyramid was Jared Leto’s Joker. Something just didn’t work with him, and it is so hard to try to put into words what that one thing was. He was so outrageous and exaggerated that it almost seemed like he watched one too many old Batman episodes from the 60s. The rest of the cast found their comfortable niche in their own bizarre characters that kept them semi-grounded without becoming excessive, and for some reason he just came across as ridiculous and actually was the one thing in the movie that felt disjointed. I can see how it must have been hard to try and find that perfect balance between over the top and boring, but he just never really found that happy medium that the rest of the cast did, which is unfortunate because he was the one thing I was the most excited about with this movie.
Nevertheless, I was so surprised with how much I actually ended up loving this movie. Clearly I was not expecting an Oscar-worthy experience, but it was so fun and entertaining if you just take it for what it is. I feel like people these days just try to nit pick every little thing without looking at the whole picture. Sure there were some things I would change, but overall it was an entertaining movie that reminded me again how much fun it can be to go to the movies and simply lose yourself in a great story for a couple of hours. And in the end isn’t that what movie watching experiences are supposed to be all about?