Movies I Love: Suicide Squad

I’ve been hearing a lot of negative reviews about Suicide Squad. I haven’t actually read the reviews because I generally don’t. I know Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 38% in their critical reviews and I have to wonder if they watched the same movie I did. Obviously, like the title of the post says, I loved the movie. I thought it was an uncharacteristic success for DC in terms of comic book movies and they did right by one of my all-time favorite characters, Harley Quinn.

For those unfamiliar with the premise of Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller, a high-ranking government agency, puts together a team of supervillains who have been captured or incarcerated, sticks mini bombs in their necks so they’ll behave or be blown up, and then sends them on missions against other metahumans that have a high likelihood of getting them killed. As you might have guessed it from the mini bombs mention, Amanda Waller is the queen of Not A Good Person. She’s ruthless and has little regard for human life if it doesn’t suit her needs. She’s actually more of a villain than the villains she controls. In the comics, she’s actually the cause of a lot of bad things that happen in the DC universe.

The team in the movie consists of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Diablo, Boomerang, and Killer Croc. Each villain is given a mini intro on who they are and how they got caught, usually by Batman but the Flash makes an appearance too. (I have to say the DCU movie version of the Flash looks adorkable and I want to pinch his cheeks.) The team is lead by Colonel Rick Flag who works with/is in love with the human form of the Enchantress. Flag has a whole bunch of military soldiers with him who mostly end up as cannon fodder but he also brings along Katana.

The movie gives primary focus and character development to Deadshot (played by Will Smith), Harley Quinn (played by Margot Robbie), and Enchantress (played by Cara Delevingne). For those not familiar with the characters, Deadshot is an assassin with perfect accuracy who gets caught because his daughter stops him from shooting Batman. Harley Quinn is a former psychiatrist that fell in love with the Joker. Originally Harley’s character, back when she was first introduced in the comics, was there just for sex appeal, but recent incarnations have done a lot to really flesh out the character and make her into a dominable force (especially when paired with Poison Ivy). She’s probably the ballsiest of all the Suicide Squad and her main weapons are a baseball bat and 50 caliber pistol. Finally, there’s Enchantress. Archeologist June Moone stumbled into an ancient gravesite and released the deity the Enchantress, who now inhabits her body. Waller has got the Enchantress’s heart locked away, which is the only way to control her. Flag and Moone are lovers but Moone hates the evil being inside of her and would rather die than let the Enchantress continue using Moone’s body for her nefarious plans.

Without giving too much away, the Suicide Squad is assembled when a metahuman attacks Midtown City and they are sent in to stop it. It’s not an easy job. They fail their first objective when the person they’re sent to rescue gets taken by the metahuman and they’re left with the choice of walk away or keep fighting. The movie did a great job of weaving the characters together so that they come together as a team and even though the Joker is in the movie, he’s second fiddle to Harley Quinn. She’s madly (emphasis on ‘mad’) in love with him, but the scenes with him are there to define her character, not his. Obviously, the group bands together to stop the evil metahuman, saves the day and…. get sent back to the prison hole they came from with 10 years off their sentences because Waller’s a dick. I’m not going to give away the final fight, but for those who have seen it, you can see why I love this version of Harley Quinn so much because she is amazing.

I have yet to actually talk to someone who’s seen the movie and didn’t like it, though, given the reception for Ghostbusters, I can obviously guess why. This isn’t the Suicide Squad of your childhood (assuming, unlike me, you had access to comic books as a kid) and it might not be the Suicide Squad that you’re expecting. That doesn’t make it bad, it just makes it different and judged on its own, it’s a good different. There’s a lot to like in it. I know people who don’t like the movie because Deadshot in the comics wasn’t black. Will Smith rocked that role. You really felt for him and he was awesome. There are people who don’t like it because Harley’s dressed provocatively. In the movie, she’s literally unaware that her clothes are anything but what she wants to wear. There’s a scene of her changing in front of a bunch of entranced guys and her only comment when she finally realizes that they’re staring at her is a confused “What?”

If you like action films with explosions and guns and humor and superpowers, you’ll like this movie. If you only accept Suicide Squad and its characters as what they were in some comic bible, you probably won’t. Your loss on that. I, however, would be happy with a dozen more movies of Harley Quinn & Deadshot & Pals.

Is it bad that the movie makes me want Harley and Deadshot to hook up? Is that some kind of comic blasphemy? We’ll find out once the fanfic starts rolling in.

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