Suicide Squad has a 26% rating on RottenTomatoes.com, and it was pretty much universally panned by the professional movie critics. And yet, 61% of the audience seemed to like it. You know, the audience, those people who plunked down nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars to watch this movie. I know that box office results don’t always equate to quality in movies, but $745.6 million dollars (on a $175 million dollar budget) is a lot of cheddar. Even with funky movie studio math, that still looks like a profit to me.
In spite of my innate distrust of under-hype and Internet trashing, I was still in no hurry to watch this one. I still haven’t watched Batman v. Superman: The Dawn of Justice or this year’s Justice League, which were similarly trashed in all media. But, I’m going to eventually. I wholeheartedly support the current spate of superhero movies, and I know they won’t all be healthy red tomatoes. We the viewers have ceased to be awestruck by merely dazzling special effects. We demand those, but we want more. Well-rounded characters, over-the-top action, good stories. And, some of us don’t want our childhood memories of the superheroes and super-villains we loved or hated to be despoiled in the theater. We want a lot. And, eventually, we get it, too. That is the true power of the consumer.
I usually wake up too early on days that I don’t have to, and I took that time this morning to watch Suicide Squad, with my expectations sufficiently lowered.
And you know what? This movie wasn’t bad. At all.
Sure, I should probably qualify that with an “in my opinion.” But, guess what? Everything is subjective. And everything in my blog is my opinion. You certainly don’t have to agree with me. It doesn’t change anything.
This movie wasn’t bad. It certainly wasn’t rotten. If I were forced to give it a score, I’d say it was 3.5 stars out of 5 — or, slightly better than average, as the 61% audience score might attest. I’m not going to watch it again anytime soon, but I would watch it again in, let’s say, five years. If I woke up too early on a Sunday morning and had nothing better on deck.
No, I didn’t particularly care for Jared Leto’s Ambercrombie & Fitch Joker. That wasn’t my Joker. Neither was Heath Ledger’s version, which I liked just a little more. Jack Nicholson came closest to capturing the comic book version for me, but even he missed the mark a little. The Mark Hamill voice-acted version in the Arkham video games nailed it for me, but who could nail that bodytype in real life? Maybe Doug Jones, overdubbed by Hamill? Hmm. . .
I was also unfamiliar with several members of the squad. Katana, the Enchantress, Diablo, and that dude who was killed off early in the movie were complete unknowns to me. Since I haven’t religiously read comic books in decades, Amanda Waller and Rick Flag were new to me as well, although I’ve heard the names. Captain Boomerang was a Flash villain, as I recall. Killer Croc, Deadshot and Harley Quinn were all Batman villains, although I’ll admit I’ve had more experience with them in the video games and, in the case of Harley, in the cartoons.
This was the first Will Smith role I’ve enjoyed in a long while. I liked his version of Floyd Lawton, and I believe the two-time Academy Award nominee was almost the star of this movie. He wasn’t, though. And, certainly, neither was Academy Award winner Leto. Nope. Margo Robbie’s Harley Quinn stole the spotlight from everyone in this movie. It was no accident that she was quickly roped into reprising her role as Harley in another movie. She is a beautiful woman, of course. But, there are a lot of beautiful women in the world. Few would have been able to pull off the quirky batshit crazy character the way Robbie did. She was the genuine wild card in the deck in this movie. The female version of The Joker.
It’s worth watching this movie for Harley Quinn alone.
The story seemed pretty straightforward to me. Several critics complained about it being over-complicated, but I didn’t see it. It was The Dirty Dozen with comic book villains rather than Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin. I think some viewers were put off by the flashbacks. After watching all of Lost and five full seasons of Arrow, flashbacks don’t faze me in the least. I thought they were well done and added some necessary depth to the story. In present time, the story is that the Suicide Squad is used to save Amanda Waller and then to defeat the magical bad guys. Standard superhero fare.
I want to add that I rather enjoyed the tiny bits of Ben Affleck’s Batman that we got in this movie. Keep in mind I haven’t watched the Batman/Superman movie yet. I still think that Affleck was an excellent choice for both Bruce Wayne and Batman. I’ve always sort of gotten a douchey vibe from Affleck in everything he’s in, and, somehow, that works for me in both billionaire playboy Wayne and in Batman, who doesn’t care if people don’t like him. Kevin Conroy is still the only actor who’s gotten the voice 100%, though, and I say this with no apologies to the Christian Bale contingent out there.
I don’t think there’s much else I could say about this one. I liked it. If, like me, you have been daunted by all the bad press around the movie, forget about it, turn down the sensitivity on your critical settings, and let yourself be entertained.