by Joshua Raynor
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DC Comics has been a big part of my life for the last two decades, and I have watched almost every adaptation brought to film, good and bad. So when Warner Bros. announced a new DC cinematic universe was in the works, I was extremely excited. I loved Man of Steel, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, so when Suicide Squad came out, needless to say, I was looking forward to it. And I was not disappointed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a blind DC fanboy, I love most of the Marvel films as well. The character of Green Lantern is my absolute favorite, yet I was severally disappointed with the 2011 film. I recognize that BvS had some major flaws, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. But Suicide Squad, for me, was on a whole new level. It had the dark, grittiness that I wanted in a film like this, yet had the perfect amount of humor to counterbalance that. It’s currently my favorite of the three DCEU films.

Suicide Squad, for those unfamiliar, tells the story of Task Force X, a group of villains handpicked by Amanda Waller to fight evil in a world without Superman. She “recruits” these individuals from a government black site named Belle Reve, where the worst of the worst are sent. The team consists of master marksman Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot, the Joker’s girlfriend Harley Quinn, as well as Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, The Entrantress, and El Diablo. At one point, a character named Slipknot joins, but I’ll get to him later. This team is lead by A.R.G.U.S. agent Rick Flagg and his watchdog, Katana. Amanda Waller assembles this team in time to battle one of their own, The Enchantress, who has found a way to break free from Waller’s control and bring chaos down upon the world.

Of the three films currently in the DCEU, Suicide Squad is by far the most fun. It has an amazing sense of levity, which perfectly countered the darkness throughout. It allows you to take a much needed breath between intense scenes, and keeps you interested the whole way through. Almost every character gets at least one nice comedic moment, some of which are extremely memorable, such as the very simple shot of Boomerang popping open a beer in the middle of a fight.

These moments wouldn’t have hit so well if not for the amazing cast in the film. The two leads of Suicide Squad are definitely Harley Quinn and Deadshot, played by Margot Robbie and Will Smith, respectively. Robbie was absolutely perfect as Harley. She embodies the character in a way I wasn’t sure possible. Some of my favorite scenes where those between her and The Joker (played fantastically by Jared Leto). We got a sense of their relationship, from the very start, and the extended edition does even more to help the audience truly understand them. We see a great progression of The Joker using Dr. Harleen Quinzel to actually loving her and doing anything to protect her. And the added motorcycle scene was the best way to connect these two sides.

And I must say, Jared Leto’s portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime was beautiful.  He was sinister and psychotic, but with an amazingly sick sense of humor, which is exactly what I wanted from this iconic character.  He seemed to  be harnessing all of the best qualities of the previous incarnations (especially the animated version) while giving it a life of its own.

Smith did a great job in the role of Deadshot, bringing humor mixed with some fantastic action. He also managed a great on screen chemistry with the other characters. One of my favorite scenes was his confrontation with Batman and the moments leading up to it. It really showed that Lawton isn’t just an emotionless sociopath, as Harley claims he is later on. He truly loves his daughter and will do whatever it takes to keep her safe, but at the end of the day it’s her love and respect that he truly desires.

Batman wasn’t the only hero in this film. We got a nice little scene between Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and his nemesis…The Flash (Ezra Miller). It was a quick scene, but one that gave the audience a perfect sense of the tone of that character (The Flash) and what we might expect from his solo film or even next year’s Justice League. This scene also helped solidify the fact that this is all part of a bigger universe. And unlike the cameos from Batman v Superman (which I enjoyed), this one didn’t feel forced at all. It felt natural in the way the story was being told.

No matter how much I may praise this film, It’d be remiss not to mention its flaws.  One of the problems I had was the physical size of Killer Croc.  This is a character that should be huge in comparison to a normal person.  He felt a little too lean for my liking, which caused him to not be very threatening.  My second big issue was the pointlessness of the character Slipknot.  Throughout all of the promotional materials, Slipknot was always present.  Whether it was group shots, trailers, magazine spreads, he was always there, making it seem like he was a bigger part of the film, which he wasn’t.  We don’t even get a backstory for him like we do everyone else, instead we get one line of dialogue saying “he can climb anything”.  His only purpose is to show the rest of the team just how serious Amanda Waller really is.  And if not for his presence in the marketing of this film, this really wouldn’t have bothered me as much as it did.  My third issue dealt with the Enchantress’ brother. I felt like there was a lack of explanation for this character as he really just became a plot device to push The Enchantress’ story forward and cause damage.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Suicide Squad, and even liked the extended cut a little bit more. So, if you’re a fan of the theatrical version and want a little more depth to some of the characters, then I would highly recommend checking out Suicide Squad Extended Cut.


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