Guest post by Isaac Irvine
Before I start my review of DC’s Suicide Squad, I need to make a confession: I know nothing about the DC universe and I’m not a professional movie critic.
That makes me the perfect candidate to tell you about Suicide Squad. I had two media passes so I took my wife with me because, well, I’m married and going to the movies is our typical date night anyway. It’s what we do.
I’ve been excited about this movie since the infamous Jared Leto Joker image leaked onto the Internet during filming. I remember walking into work and overhearing, “Did you see Leto’s Joker? He’s got tattoos and they’re really dumb – they ruined it already. He’s even got a platinum grill in his mouth”.
The purists were blowing up message boards while I sat back and thought, “Wow, a Joker I can relate to”. I loved it! I was already convinced Leto can do anything after watching Dallas Buyers Club, so why couldn’t he play a criminal with a warped mind?
The trailer came out months later and that hype I had for the film went out the door. It didn’t grab me. I thought here’s a movie about bad guys nobody knows about teaming up to fight a threat to the world. I knew Batman, Superman, the Flash, Joker and his girlfriend that every girl cosplays at Comic-Con.
Then I got the call, “Hey man, go see this movie, and then write a review”. My wife and I grab the popcorn and soda and find an open seat as the theater darkens.
Why this film works
Suicide Squad starts fast and grabs your attention by quickly introducing the villains that make up the Suicide Squad. The way they tell each story is just rad. The framing and typography gave me enough background to know who they are, why they’re bad, and what their specialty is.
This was perfect for me because I didn’t read the comics so I had to know their background. It’s what made the movie so much fun for the both of us. I literally had nothing to compare these characters to so this was my first exposure to their skills and personalities.
My favorite backstory was easily Harley Quinn. I knew she was Joker’s girlfriend, but that’s about it. How would that guy ever find a girl or fall in love? Finding out she was the Joker’s prison psychologist that fell in love with him made sense. It was also the first time we see the chemistry between not only the characters, but also the chemistry of Leto and Margot Robbie who plays Harley Quinn. It was awesome.
This is the Joker I’ve always wanted to see on the big screen. He’s not a weirdo with a velvet suit in Suicide Squad. Instead, he’s a street thug that’s literally crazy. No crazy smiley makeup, instead they used that classic big-mouthed makeup you know and love for Joker as tattoo on his hand that when placed over his mouth delivers the sinister Joker look. Jared Leto plays the scene perfectly and I got goose bumps when he unveils it. Director David Ayer delivers scenes like that throughout the film and it works.
The story of Suicide Squad is simple and easy to follow. An ancient witch that possesses the body of an archeologist frees her gigantic brother and decide to turn on humans and destroy the world.
Enter the rag-tag group of bad guys and one girl are offered lighter prison sentences for teaming up to fight badder people trying to destroy the world. They struggle until they bond and start operating as a team to take out this god-like foe.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t have a clue how mortals with a few special skills would defeat a pair of gods. Remember – I had no idea what these folks could do.
Throughout the film, Ayers teases the audience with small glimpses into not only each squad members powers or skills, but also their psyche. They set up the character Diablo as a gang banger with heart who feels bad about his lack of control over having high-powered flame throwers for hands.
He refuses to use his powers during the battles leading up to the final confrontation. Jay Hernandez does an amazing job showing the conflict Diablo is dealing with. He lost control and killed his family and doesn’t want to hurt anyone again.
This is where director Ayers unveils what was the greatest surprise to an uneducated viewer like myself. Diablo gives in and goes full blast on their foe and takes it a step further by popping out of his mortal skin and turning into what looks like the devil himself. The clash is epic and the who team joins in adding their own special breed of beatdown. The team defeats the bad guys and I expect the credits to roll. Not so fast.
Cut to Harley Quinn living it up in her jail cell when BOOM – in comes Joker who was setup to have died in a chopper crash earlier in the film. Insert sequel here.
I loved his movie! It was everything I thought it wouldn’t be. The fear that tattooed, platinum grill Joker would look dumb was shot down. Jared Leto and David Ayer deliver the most realistic Joker to date. They give you a crazy man who’s in love with Harley Quinn. Diablo is a bad guy with a big heart. You can’t help but love the guy.
The best laughs come courtesy of Jai Courtney who plays Boomerang. I guess his special power is throwing a boomerang, but his strongest skill is delivering the best one-liners in the movie. I loved him.
Walking out to the car after the show my wife tells me, “I REALLY liked that movie”. I have to agree with her. Suicide Squad delivers action, fast-paced storytelling, and laughs with surgeon-like precision. It’s exactly what I expect from a comic book movie done perfectly.