"Suicide Squad" Review

It’s no secret that DC is trying to get its footing with every film it puts out. Suicide Squad is not able to escape this dilemma, but I get the sense that they are learning and re-working with each installment in its world. The film starts strong, and ends flat, but in a film that didn’t take itself so serious :), it’s the summer movie popcorn fun that it’s supposed to be.

Picking up after Superman has died from Batman V Superman, a secret government agency decides to comprise a group of meta-humans and bad guys as a contingency against anyone who may rise up and wish to destroy the world. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) leads the charge and seeks out some incredibly talented but villainous individuals. There’s the assassin Deadshot (Will Smith) who never misses a shot, Joker’s (Jared Leto) crazy girlfriend Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), a fire powered Diablo (Jay Hernandez), an Australian thief named Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and a witch who goes by Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). Right off the bat we’re introduced to each character in an efficient, fun, albeit we’ve seen it before way.

After a mystery villain begins to destroy Midtown, the squad is called into action. The rules are simple, go extract a high powered official and defeat the villain at risk of death, or be killed by the nanite implants in their necks. There you have the motivation for each villain and story in a nutshell. 

Writer/director David Ayer had his work cut out for him in having to introduce us to each character having not seen a solo story for them prior. The first hour of the film starts out pretty strong, introducing us to the characters, seeing them play with others, and getting them into the mission. Ayer’s tactical know how and ability to visualize action as seen in prior films like Sabotage and End Of Watch is displayed throughout the film. Yet character development gets the short end of the stick. 

Smith’s Deadshot, and Robbie’s Harley Quinn are the obvious stars of the film. With the rest of the group being tag alongs almost as dispensable as the group is to the government. Smith brings the charisma we love in a character that isn’t just Will Smith being Will Smith. Robbie loses herself in her character, but unfortunately the Hollywood male gaze pins her as an object more than anything else. Viola Davis brings the ruthless, pragmaticism that we’d expect from Waller. There is a glimmer of shine that comes from Hernandez’s Diablo that I would have liked to see more of. Of course, the character most of us have been waiting to see, the Joker, weaves in and out of the film a lot more than I thought we'd see, but not quite enough to judge how good he is.

The villain in the film gets the least development of the bunch, but is probably way too powerful for the group minus one. All that said; I still enjoyed watching the film. There were moments in the film that gave me goosebumps (Deadshot leaping on the car), character flashbacks that helped you identify with the villain and see where things may have gone wrong, and the team building of the group works for this rag tag team of bad guys.

While we’re constantly reminded that the group is comprised of bad guys, it’s a one off that works to bring new characters into the DC movie universe. These characters will never have their own film, but they’re not supposed to. DC has introduced us to some of their villains, and when we see them in future films we have an idea of what they’re capable of. So while the film has a simple plot, plenty of style and character charm, it’s not supposed to cure diseases. Let’s be real, if Ayer was able to give us a rated R version of this like he’s accustomed to it would have been a better film. Given the parameters, I think it came out alright. Let the trolling begin!

Rating: B-






Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.