As of this writing, it has been a little less than 24 hours since I left the theater after my screening of DC's Suicide Squad. As a lifelong DC fan, I was a little nervous walking into the theater with all of the immediate negative press surrounding the lifted embargo on reviews. As someone that noticed the flaws, but enjoyed both Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, I was slightly worried with the latest installment to the DC Cinematic Universe.
This was going to be our first look at a new incarnation of The Joker and our introduction to the cinematic versions of many DC characters, but I have to say that I believe that Suicide Squad very well could be the DCCU's most important movie to date. Here are my five reasons why Suicide Squad is DC's flagship title.
1. A True Shared Universe
Batman V Superman introduced the Dark Knight of this universe along with Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman. While most were relegated to video captured on security footage, it still seemed incredibly self contained. With Suicide Squad, not only do we revisit Batman/Bruce Wayne and the Flash, we are introduced to over 10 other characters from DC's roster that are from various comic book titles. We are finally introduced to A.R.G.U.S. in this film along with Director Amanda Waller. I will not forget that we've seen Waller on the silver screen before (I'm looking at you, Green Lantern), but this is the first time she's been portrayed properly (but we'll get to her in a moment).
2. Introduction Of Magic
Man of Steel introduced aliens and super powered beings, Batman V Superman introduced a demi-god, and Suicide Squad debuted magical beings to this universe. This is something that took Marvel years to incorporate. This opens up so many possibilities for future titles (Justice League Dark, for one) to hit the screen. With the incorporation of Enchantress and the existence of magic, this opens wide the threats that the DC heroes can face.
3. Back Stories For The villains Are Established
Think about the gripe that most people have with superhero movies, especially the ones that we've seen on screen before. We have to go through the origin stories of the heroes AND the villains. We've seen Spider-Man's origin shown twice now, Batman's another handful of times, and so on. Most of the exposition needed takes up a quarter of the first film and sometimes seems out of place. With Suicide Squad, we have established back stories for the villains who could very well be incorporated in future DC titles.
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4. Amanda Waller
Amanda Waller stands out to me as such a strong character. This incarnation of Waller is much more sinister, conniving, manipulative, and down right menacing. While other reviewers say they didn't really like her character, I am going to be one of the first to get behind her portrayal. From how she handles any of the Squad members, military brass, and her interns, she shows no fear — just assurance. The only time you see desperation and fear on her face is when she's discussing something during the mid-credits scene (with good reason).
Much has been speculated about Jared Leto's take on the Clown Prince of Crime. Not only does he deliver in the brief moments we see him, he is, in my opinion, the closest we've got to the comic book version of Mr J. This is a Joker that I can see pulling a general heist, randomly giving up because he's bored, or interfering with other hero's lives (a la the Injustice: Gods Among Us story line). Somehow, I imagine that, save for the Harley Quinn solo movie, we will not get massive "Joker stories" in the DCCU. And that's actually a good thing.
While I feel it would be amazing to see a fleshed out Batman V Joker story, I think Batman has a larger rogues gallery to choose from that are untapped. This Joker is off the rails. He's methodical. He's maniacal. He's a villain that appears to be high on both weed and PCP — strong, aggressive and yet relaxed in his approach. And that could weave into many DC titles for the foreseeable future.
There wasn't anything that was done out of character with him on this. From the torture of Dr Quinzell, to randomly killing a business associate, to having baby clothes in his "circle of weapons" scene that have appeared in the previews, he's a loose cannon.
There are many more reasons why Suicide Squad makes a fine outing, but frankly I'm just going to enjoy it for what it was: A great comic book movie. There are so many good things about the film that make me want to take another go round with it before it leaves the theaters.
This next portion will have a few spoilers so read at your own risk because they start now.
I have to give a big hats off to Margot Robbie for her portrayal of Harley Quinn. From her introduction to her accent, she really put her best foot forward. Sure she didn't have the high-pitched tone to her voice, but that is not even close to a gripe. There were many great moments: Seeing her giddy as a little child opening up her footlocker, the homage to the Alex Ross picture showing her in the original costume dancing with Joker, and also when she wields her oversized mallet.
What did Suicide Squad get wrong? Very few things, honestly. Sure, the editing could have been a little better, but I think it flowed fairly decently. The one gripe I have, and it's a small one, is some of Will Smith's dialogue as Deadshot. From the comics to the animated TV shows and movies, Deadshot is ruthless when he's working, and lines such as "Lady, you are EVIL!" didn't sit well with me. That being said, it's a minor gripe that is easy to forget about due to all of the movie's strong points.
All in all, Suicide Squad is a great flick through and through. The characters have heart. The motivations of the assembly of the team are well thought out. The motivations of the villain are clear. The twist of the mission was not obvious and the delivery by all of the actors were great. If you want to continue seeing DC titles come to the screen, do yourself a favor and go check out the flick. Let our geek voices be heard louder than the mainstream critics! We are in the Golden Age of comic book movies and it's never been a better time to be alive!
See what all those voices in Harley's head are really saying in the Movie Pilot original video below: