Suicide Squad. Arguably the most anticipated film of summer 2016… But did it reach the high expectations of dedicated DC fans or leave them deeply disappointed?

As a stand-alone film Suicide Squad smashed Box Office figures; pulling in a whopping $133,682,248 in the opening weekend! And gave audiences one of the biggest action-packed, anti-hero film of the century. This film has it all. You can expect a lot of exploding action, drama, dark infested love stories and of course, a ton of cleverly placed comedy.

And, all the rumours were true: our favourite Batman also makes a great appearance.

For those who aren’t familiar with the comics, this film is brilliant. But, for some DC fanatics the film did not go down in favour too well.

For those who are unaware of DC comics’ version of events here is a very brief summary:

Set in the DC universe, a group of notorious villains are grouped together to form what was originally known as ‘Task Force X’ (later renamed the Suicide Squad). Why would anyone put that crazy idea together? Simple. The government wanted crazed supervillains to go on missions that were practically suicidal and impossible.

(Please note: this is John Ostrander’s 80’s popular remake, not the original line up)

That sounds just like the movie, right?

Sort of, yes. However, the most disappointing aspect of the film for me was the portrayal of Harley Quinn and the infamous Joker’s turbulent relationship.

Everyone that has heard of Batman knows of The Joker. He has been played by blockbuster legends such as Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger but in our newest take, Jared Leto takes the lead. Although he was respectable, I didn’t feel as though Leto quite nailed that infamous laugh that the other actors managed; but his portrayal wasn’t terrible. In fact, it was pretty good. However, the promotion for the film created a huge hype for the character of The Joker and made him out to be one of the biggest antagonists. This was not the case. Leto had a maximum of 10 minutes screen time – which he spent pining after Harley Quinn. In my opinion, this was the film’s major downfall.

In the comics, Harley Quinn was The Joker’s psychiatrist who believed she could cure him of his insane behaviour; instead, she fell in love and went just as crazy. Yes, it is as simple as that – can you see the irony? The Joker is a known sociopath; he isn’t supposed care about people. A big characterisation is that he has no emotions and he enjoys messing with other people’s; including his love interest, Harley Quinn. He even went to the extent of trying to kill her and blasting her off to space! But the film creates a whole new image of The Joker.

We see The Joker physically drive Harley insane with Electric Compulsive Therapy (this is an old fashioned psychiatric procedure involving sending electric currents through the brain in an attempt to alter and cure mental illness). However, Film-Joker does care about Harley and while his appearance isn’t that of a starring role, his main plotline is to get back his girl. Thus proving, he loves her as much as she loves him. This is very out of character for The Joker and this is why I am majorly disappointed.

However, this isn’t a review on The Joker and Harley Quinn. This is a film review!

The film itself starred huge names; Margot Robbie’s portrayal was slick and sexy with a touch of insanity, Will Smith’s was angry hiding a very sad backstory. Cara Delevigne was timid yet unnerving while transitioning between June Moone and The EnchantressJared Leto spent the entire time when he wasn’t filming in character – creating the perfect, insane Joker. Being able to watch such a diverse group of actors, and even characters, interact with each other was amazing. We were able to witness friendships develop, sacrifices being made and pure, evil team work to destroy the bad guy. The emotions that were conveyed to us as an audience would not have been so intense had it not been for the exceptional performances and natural chemistry between the actors.

Unlike most action films, or superhero films, we didn’t have to wait 45 minutes before it all kicked off. The drama unravelled pretty much straight away with the audience being introduced to all the main characters within the first ten minutes. From then on it was just nothing but fighting, shooting, magic and evil. 

The film didn’t disappoint trying to deposit hidden clues throughout:

Did anyone notice what Harley Quinn’s jail paperwork said? I’m pretty sure it confirmed she was an accomplice to the murder of Batman’s sidekick, Robin. Let’s not forget that scene in Batman VS Superman when Batman lovingly stares at Robin’s lifeless suit in the cabinet of the Batcave. Sad times. This is something new that isn’t in the comics, and something that answers questions that arose from Batman VS Superman.

What about those baby grows The Joker had circled around him in his room of weapons? Did he have a similar dream of settling down like Harley or was there a child in their past we don’t know about?

Overall, it wasn’t a bad film. Of course it wasn’t perfect, it had flaws and imperfections and may have been better had it stuck to the original story and character arcs but it was enjoyable. Films like this need to include risks. Although taking the risk of changing characters and stories may not pay off well initially but it does open a whole new perspective to the DC universe.

I would hugely recommend it to anyone who isn’t that much of hard-core DC fan. You won’t be disappointed.

I would like to applaud the amazing group of actors that were brave enough to take on the roles of so many much-loved characters. You did well to stay true to each character, taking on board each personality as they were originally created and adapting them to any and all plot changes– apart from The Joker. Kudos.  

7/10

 

Published by Lucy Scoble