The third chapter of the DC Extended Universe has arrived with David Ayer's Suicide Squad opening this past weekend. Attempting to further world build off of the controversial foundation started by Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, the hopes have been that Suicide Squad would help 'right the wrongs' and transition us into Justice League, Wonder Woman and beyond. But was it successful?...
Partially. We all know that each of the DC predecessors has left quite a polarizing wake in their path. With criticisms of being too cynical, morose or self serious, genre fans have been hoping that Suicide Squad would bring the fun and clever into the storytelling which has been missing from past installments. With that in mind, Suicide Squad achieves it's goals with flying colors. It was certainly fun in tone, silly and showed the lighter side of heroism- however at what expense? The premise relies on us accepting that these villains are redeemable despite their despicable past. We are conveniently spared the consequences of their death and destruction of their former lives (except for Diablo) and we are asked to assume these criminals are somewhat reformed and willing to step into the role of 'anti-hero'. We all love a good redemption story but these characters lacked any real conversion experiences and are really just operating off of their cool factor. The whole concept is troubling to consider- and is obviously just a plot device to put this motley crew on the streets with nothing but a long leash. If you suspend belief that no one would ever put a monstrous crocodile man or super powered pyromaniac back out in the wild, then this is kind of a fun film. Anchored by Viola Davis, Will Smith and Margot Robbie, there is enough here to build upon the future. It's sparse pickings but I think it gets closer to what we are looking for in a DC superhero film.
With all that said, the film is, like the promotion art above, a beautiful mess. Editing, storytelling, dialogue, basic plot and the villain are convoluted and all seems to be a victim of too many chefs and not enough cooks. Wanting to hit all four quadrants seems to have been the highest priority- and we all know what often happens when you try to please everybody. Still, I had a lot of fun. I found some of the chemistry enjoyable and could really see the potential of this 'team'. While Margot Robbie's over-sexualization is really disturbing, her talent and charisma showed through. Similarly, Jared Leto was at times garish and 'Jim Carrey-ish' but his performance showed real brilliance at times- once you got past all the bling. This whole thing falls apart in the third act but not at the expense of the whole. How they got to the end is more interesting than what they have to accomplish, so like I said, partial success.
Overall, I am divided on the success of this film. Some good, some bad and some ugly. Oddly, I think it is still the best out of the DCEU but part of that might be because we have nothing to compare this too unlike it's big cinematic brothers. It's not as bad as most critics paint it and I still highly suggest fans see it to judge for themselves. So while the Suicide Squad almost killed itself at several points, it managed to survive and give us a glimmer of hope for the future. Your thoughts?
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