David Ayer’s Suicide Squad is probably the film I was most dreading reviewing this year.  Trailer after trailer, brilliantly cut with good songs I’ll totally admit,  were released ahead of the Warner Brothers movie. Which continues this modern thing of “let’s show ALL the good stuff in the trailer to get people to see the movie!” instead of “let’s show A BIT of the good stuff in the trailer so people want to see more”.  It’s loud, it’s brightly colored occasionally, but ultimately a mess. Also, fair warning, I will be talking a lot about Harley Quinn. Also also, more than likely spoilers.

Trailer one:

Trailer two:

SDCC 16 Trailer three:

It was….pretty much what I was expecting. DC/WB tries for technicolor in their dark and gritty world, making good guys of antiheroes. On paper it’s a fine idea, mixing the various personalities of C wrung villains from Gotham and beyond. BUT the resulting cinema entry is sort of a mess, lacking the personality audiences were promised with the “Like Deadpool only DC with more jokes” tag line.

The story is well known by this point, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) pulls together a team of incarcerated rogues gallery members as a last defence homefront security measure. Her plan hedges on the belief that she can bully the group into doing her bidding with tiny nano implants in their necks set to explode if connected to via a phone app.  “Now that’s a KILLER app!” Harley cringingly quips when this is explained.


I do need to talk about Margot Robbie as the henchwench of Batman’s nightmares, Harley Quinn. This has been a tough pr campaign for me to weather as a hardcore pre New 52 Harls fan; the trailers all showing iconography for her from the New 52 style story and costume scheme. It should be said that the overtly sexualizing of the character really is as bad as we thought it was going to be, even though the now infamous bending over to get the purse scene in the film was MUCH DARKER than the trailer.  Almost as if they went back in post and purposely made it harder to see her ass hanging out as she bends over in front of the camera.  The continuity of her hair drove me nuts, though.  In some scenes, the curls in the pigtails were pronounced and bouncy, and the next cut back to her they were flat and barely dyed.


Yes, we DO get a shot of Harley and Joker ala the famous Alex Ross painting, and the cowl on her suit is HORRIBLE.  Oversized and floppy, ill-fitting and ear bearing, but the sheen seen in the painting is used in the film.

Couple's spa day chemical peel bath- 2 star review.
Couple’s spa day chemical peel bath- 2 star review.

The thing that SHOCKED me was the Harley/Joker relationship. Jared Leto was in no way shape or form on my radar to play this iconic villain, and the Marilyn Manson stylization was a disservice to what could have been an interesting take. And I say that as a Marilyn Manson fan. BUT- the things we were so sure of about the relationship between them was different. The normal (in comics) poor treatment of the Clown Prince’s sidekick/girlfriend borders on abuse, and surprisingly we don’t see that here. She jumps (not been pushed as is done in the New 52/Suicide Squad story) into the Ace vat of chemicals to alter her physical appearance, AND HE DIVES IN AFTER HER. They truly appear to love each other in this story, it’s weird and unexpected. Like, he comes to save her twice, and speaks of loving her when she’s not around, and in general seems to give a crap about her as a person and less as an object. I wish I could say the same of the director. Almost every time we see Harley on screen, she’s there as something to be ogled and objectified; the gratuitous almost bared ass shots of her so frequent I forgot what her face looked like. The costume was uncalled for, and the actress herself said she wished she had been dressed differently.  She also is a full on metahuman in this, which has always been a contested thing.  She’s listed as having regeneration abilities, which we kind of see.

The rest of the ‘Suicide Squad’ is made up of Deadshot (Will Smith), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), Katana (Karen Fukuhara), and supervisor Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman).  The addition of Slipknot (Adam Beach) was super disappointing, as we only get him for about 50 seconds.

If you love Will Smith being Will Smith in a movie, then you’ll probably enjoy his dialog and general character. I would put this performance somewhere below Wild Wild West.  Diablo’s story is almost Mr. Freeze in nature; carrying around a dancing figure of his dead wife made of fire much the way Freeze carried around a tiny Nora made of ice. It’s almost like they didn’t know what to do with Killer Croc, maybe a few more episodes of Batman: The Animated Series would have helped to give him more story. Boomerang was hilarious though, and I wouldn’t have minded him having a few more comedy moments.


Enchantress, as some big outlets’ reviews have revealed, turns into the big bad.  The archaeologist June Moone falls into a cave and stumbles across an altar with many canopic jars.  In probably the worst example of being an archaeologist, she BREAKS THE SEAL on the jar and accidentally becomes possessed by a 6 thousand year old demon witch. Oopse.  She releases her brother’s spirit, and they use their magical abilities to create a machine (which looks like Magneto from X Men: Apocalypse and Krang from TMNT 2 joined their climax creations) to destroy the world. Also, Flagg and Moone are a couple, when she’s not Tia Dalma and Pigpen’s child.


But can we PLEASE just have a Katana solo movie? Pretty please? She was the best part of Suicide Squad. Her heartbreaking scene of communing with her dead husband’s spirit trapped in her soul sword, her stoic nature, someone make that movie.

Katana needs a solo movie, STAT

This film COULD have been good, it could have been entertaining.  But it wasn’t, it really really wasn’t. The action scenes fell flat, the fight sequences were filmed through rain filters and various glass shattering shots so it was mostly impossible to appreciate the nuances. Also, if fight coordinators could STOP using Black Widow’s jump-leg-neck move with other female fighters, that’d be great. Character motivations were a little disjointed, some better rounded than others. The addition of Batfleck was harmless enough, and helped fill in some of the story gaps.

Steven Price’s (Gravity, Fury) score should be commended though, it was extremely well written and helped move the action along in places where it needed help.

SCORE: 4.3 OUT OF 10. Saw in standard non 3D. Would not see Suicide Squad again. Sober.

David Ayer continues to make bad choices in regards to this film with a gem of theater callback at the official premiere of Suicide Squad in New York. Deadline reports that someone in the audience yelled out the classy line of “FUCK MARVEL”, and Ayer echoed it.  He did however, under assumably advice of PR counsel, recant this on his Twitter following the film. So, he gets back a few points for that.

ABOUT >> Mary Anne Butler
  • BIO >> Mary Anne Butler (Mab) is a reporter and photographer from San Francisco California. She is a lifelong geek, huge music nerd, occasionally cosplays at conventions, does Renaissance Faires, and in general lives the life of a True Believer. She may be short, but she makes up for it with a loud voice.
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