With growing concern over the unchecked power of superheroes like Batman and Superman, Intelligence Officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) has devised a plan to prepare for the worst. Her idea is to form Task Force X, a team of villains with some incredible abilities to combat other super-powered metahumans, should the need arise.
Her roster includes the worst of the worst. Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot (Will Smith), is a hitman who never misses a shot. Digger Harkness (Jai Courtney), a burglar known for his boomerang skills, earning him the moniker Boomerang. Chato Santana (Jay Hernandez), a gang member who goes by El Diablo, born with the ability to shoot fire from his body. Waylon Jones (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), the Killer Croc, a man who has mutated into a human-reptile. Rounding out the squad is Dr. Harleen Quinzel (Margot Robbie), a former psychiatrist who was treating the psychotic Joker (Jared Leto), until she was turned into Harley Quinn, now as crazy, if not more so, than her former patient/current boyfriend.
When Waller’s first recruit, Dr. June Moon (Cara Delevingne), who is sometimes possessed by an ancient spirit known as Enchantress, goes rogue with plans to wipe out humanity, Waller is finally given the okay to put her team into action. She assigns Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) to lead the team. To prevent any of the team from trying to escape or doing any “bad guy” things, each member has an explosive implanted in their neck that can be detonated remotely at any time.
Flag, along with his bodyguard, Katana (Karen Fukuhara) – who possesses a mystical sword, lead the team to take on Enchantress and her army. The Suicide Squad is the world’s only hope, if they can figure out how to work as a team and quit being bad guys.
It is no secret that the DC Extended Universe has struggled to find the success Marvel has enjoyed with their superhero films. While Marvel is essentially printing money with each release, DC has been battling to find that sweet spot with their audience.
DC’s biggest issue of late stems from the exceedingly dark and somber tone of their movies. Taking note of the debacle that was Zack Snyder’s mess of Batman v Superman, writer and director David Ayer tried to changed things up a bit. Suicide Squad still maintains the visual and thematic darkness that DC has adopted, but it adds a bit of levity into the mix. A good part of this is derived from the characters themselves.
Margot Robbie steals the show as the demented Harley Quinn. Thankfully, her character is more than just eye candy. She serves as the focal point of the movie in both the plot and the treatment of her character. Her craziness is the source of the film’s the most interesting and entertaining scenes. She also does her fair share of ass kicking. The rest of the squad holds their own alongside Robbie, but aren’t nearly as interesting. And I almost forgive Will Smith for his last superhero outing as Hancock. Surprisingly, Jared Leto’s Joker, a mix of Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson, is little more than a side story, possibly setting up future appearances or a spinoff.
The movie opens with a brief run down of the recruits for Task Force X. It gives enough of a glimpse into each character to see where they’re coming from without overloading you with excruciating back story. It is reminiscent of Batman going through the files on the future members of the Justice League, only more well done. Once the action gets going, it doesn’t really stop, except for quick intermissions from Waller and the Joker. There are a few things that could have used a bit more explanation, such as Enchantress’ army. They appear out of nowhere, after never having been mentioned before, yet it is obvious Waller and Flag are familiar with them.
I don’t feel the movie deserves the beating it is currently taking. It has a few pacing issues, and the villain story is a little weak, but nothing unforgivable or that other movies of the genre haven’t tried to pull off. It certainly does not follow the trend of the more mainstream superhero movies, more along the lines of a Deadpool feel. And it is most definitely heads above the Wolverine stand alone movies.
The action is intense and the story is macabre at times, perhaps than one would expect from a PG-13 movie. This means leave the younger ones at home. Otherwise, Suicide Squad is an entertaining spin on DC’s universe.