Is Suicide Squad a perfect movie? God no. It has tonal issues and pacing issues, especially in the first half. However, is Suicide Squad a fun movie? Hell yes. Spoilers ahoy!
The first thing I want you guys to know is that almost every main character gets their own theme song. Yes, it’s that kind of movie. Whenever a new character appears, a new song starts. When Amanda Waller appears, it starts to play “Sympathy for the Devil.”
Yes, the first half of the movie has some tonal problems. When Amanda Waller is explaining her idea to the admiral, every time it cuts away to the person she is talking to, it suddenly turns into a commercial for Suicide Squad, specifically, those commercials that gave you all the stats for the characters — their names and attributes are emblazoned across the screen, even though we’re hearing Waller describe them for us, too.
That’s also one of the major problems with the first thirty minutes: there is a ton of exposition. Waller gives a major infodump to the admiral, which I’ve heard compared to the scene in Batman v Superman where Batman just watches videos of other people with powers. However, this scene is way better than that scene — this is actually fun, as we see each character’s backstory for ourselves, and the exposition is actually important. You could cut the video files from Batman v Superman and nothing would change, but in Suicide Squad, actual important information is delivered to us with these flashbacks.
The movie also gives us a wide variety of likable characters. Will Smith’s Deadshot is a standout: he’s a master assassin who has killed hundreds of people, but he has one weakness: his daughter. We see it subtly at first, but by the end of the film it becomes clear that he really wants his daughter to be proud of him. He lets himself get captured just so he won’t shoot someone in front of her.
Harley Quinn in this movie is also fantastic. The Joker is...interesting. He isn’t terrible, but his scenes tend to be indicating that, uh, Jared Leto is trying a bit too hard. But Margot Robbie, on the other hand, appears to just be having the time of her life playing someone who is completely batshit crazy. At one point, the Enchantress calls to her to come out into the open and Harley just shrugs and goes to do it, because why not? She does whatever she wants to do.
Unfortunately, I kept on hoping that one of the things she wanted to do was beat up the Joker for leaving her to die. Because he totally does that and then tries to rescue her from the Suicide Squad. Unfortunately, she remains devoted to him, even though she does appear to be getting a bit of character development. I also love her request to Amanda Waller at the end — when Deadshot asks to see his daughter, Harley asks for an expresso machine. And she gets it!
(By the way, her backstory appears to be a combination of her Animated Series backstory where she was a psychiatrist at Arkham and fell in love with the Joker and broke him out and her New 52 backstory, where she turned into Harley Quinn after falling into a vat of the same chemicals that bleached the Joker’s skin. In this version, though, she willingly jumps into the chemicals, rather than the comic’s version where the Joker pushes her.)
Each character’s flashbacks provide the audience with vital details, even if those vital details are as simple as “Deadshot loves his daughter” or “Captain Boomerang is a douche.” (Captain Boomerang’s theme song, by the way, is “Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Cheap.” And yes, he is caught by the Flash.) In fact, if you aren’t paying attention, you might miss some vital piece of information, like the fact that Diablo turned himself after his wife died.
Once the threat is established and the entire team is assembled, however, those tonal and pacing issues? They go away. The rest of the film is pretty much awesome and doesn’t need any changes. Everything that is set up in the beginning pays off in the end (aside from one guard that never shows up again, but we can guess what happens to him). There are twists that are both unexpected and obvious in retrospect. There is a big battle that with the bad guys. Almost all the characters have their own awesome moments.
Like I said, once you hit the midway point, the problems in the beginning disappear and the rest of the film is just pure awesomeness. The characters manage to remain both likable and villainous, though a combination of flashbacks, conversations, and hallucinations (it makes sense, I swear).
You know how in Batman v Superman, Batman just suddenly becomes friends with Superman once he learns his mom’s name was also Martha? Yeah, in Suicide Squad, two characters (Rick Flag and Deadshot) start off hating each other for good reason and then slowly begin to respect one another over the course of the film and it is done in a way that makes sense and makes you feel for both characters. Will Smith does a hell of a job making a hitman human.
Seriously, this movie is so much better than Batman v Superman. Hell, even Batman looks like he’s having more fun in this film.
The movie manages to get almost every single character right: Amanda Waller is utterly ruthless, Digger Harkness is a coward, Deadshot is an assassin with a code, Harley Quinn is insane but still a psychiatrist (I love it when she calls Deadshot a “classic sociopath”), Killer Croc is surprisingly deep (he’s “beautiful on the outside”), and Diablo ended up having what was surprisingly the saddest storyline in the movie. Oh and Slipknot is the Red Shirt, like always.
Again: there is quite a bit of mood whiplash in the first half and some pacing problems. I would have loved it if everyone was introduced first and then we were introduced to Amanda Waller rather than Waller having to introduce everyone. Oh and cut out the graphics, we don’t need them. (Or at least tone them down.)
As for the Joker...eh. He didn’t bug me terribly, but I would have preferred less of him in the movie.
Oh and Katana suddenly appears to join the Squad in the middle of the film. It’s kind of random and we aren’t given a reason why she is there, other than that she is Flag’s bodyguard. However, her backstory is completely intact and she ends up being awesome, so I can overlook it.
Dear god, the soundtrack for this film is awesome. I mean, like, half of these songs aren’t even on the official soundtrack, but I want them.