Let me begin by being completely honest here. When it comes to comic books, I’ve always leaned more towards Marvel’s titles than DC. However, there has also been one non-Batman DC title that I’ve loved and spent quite a bit of my saved lunch money on. One weekend I made a trip to my local comic shop and ended up picking up a decent copy of Detective Comics #474, which featured the character of Deadshot. This was my introduction to the character and that same day I returned to said comic shop and asked for more comic books featuring this character. The owner then proceeded to recommend John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad, which I was luckily able to afford the first few issues of at the time and was hooked instantly. I’d never read anything like this. I mean, it’s a comic book about super villains saving the world. My nine-year old mind at the time was blown. Was I supposed to root for these super villains? Or was I supposed to hope that they failed their mission? I’d found a new book that I loved and read for many years following.
Once comic movies began being a big thing again, I’d spoken to friends and colleagues about how cool it would be for them to make a Suicide Squad film. Yeah, there had been talks of it happening off and on but it kind of felt like one of those projects that would never actually end up seeing the light of day. But then in September of 2014 it finally happened. Warner Bros. revealed that they were moving forward with a live-action film with David Ayer in the director chair. My level of excitement was through the roof and I wouldn’t shut up about it for days on end. This was the DC film that I was waiting for.
Anyway, I could sit here and discuss the marketing and what I thought of that but instead I think we’re probably at the point in this article where we should skip the flashbacks and move forward. Yeah? Alright. So, by now we all know what the initial response was when the first wave of reviews hit Tuesday morning. Did it kill my excitement for the film? Not one bit. I was ready for this. Come Thursday evening I was seated with my Cherry Coke fully prepared to see a film I’ve waited years for and hoped it would hit the mark. After walking out of that theater with a huge smile upon my face, I can happily say that David Ayer captured the vibe and tone of the comic book series perfectly as well as delivering a film that I highly enjoyed. This was definitely a Suicide Squad film.
While you can tell that Ayer drew inspiration from the original Ostrander run, there definitely was a touch of New 52 flavor mixed in well which gave it a classic yet modern feel to it. The team is the film’s strongest element with many of the characters feeling ripped straight from the pages. Will Smith is the clear MVP and heart of the film as Floyd Lawton aka ‘Deadshot’ with Margot Robbie the perfect ‘Harley Quinn’. Somehow they made ‘Captain Boomerang’ into a character that you laughed at, yet he wasn’t a joke. Viola Davis is Amanda Waller aka the manipulative, ruthless, cold, just straight up badass character that fans have loved for years. Joel Kinnaman and Jay Hernandez also turn in solid performances and both have great moments where they shine. So, I should probably also mention a bit about Jared Leto’s Joker, right? He’s great. Think Cesar Romero’s Joker meets Scarface if he’d done way too much coke. He’s absolutely nuts and a version of the character unlike anything we’d seen in the past. Sure, he’s not in the film as much as marketing might have led you to believe but he doesn’t need a second more than we get. You’ll likely be left wanting more and that’s a good thing sometimes.
By now, you’ve heard plenty about the “issues” of the film, which seem to revolve around editing, tone and pacing. What’s weird, is that while I had issues with the pacing when it came to the theatrical cut of Batman v Superman, it didn’t bother me here one bit. Sure, the story jumped around and moved fast but it felt cut together like a DC comic brought to life on the big screen. I loved the weird little flashbacks cut in with music. I dug the Joker side story. It flowed like I was reading the first few issues of a comic book and it worked for me. Any issues I had, which were so minor that I could overlook them, fizzled away by the next scene because of how much I loved watching these characters. Well, minus the choice to use that Eminem song, that one will bug me forever.
This was a DC Comic brought to life on the big screen. This is what I’ve waited years for. When the film gets things right, it totally gets them right. It’s a weird, kick-ass, action-packed ride and just an overall blast that breathes life back into the DC Universe because of how much heart it has. I cannot wait to spend more time with these characters in a potential sequel or even other films where they might pop up in. The cameos are smoothly inserted, the world building isn’t forced and it features a mid-credit scene that I’ll say is one of the best a comic book film has featured to date. Even if you dislike the film, stay in your seat and wait for that as you won’t be disappointed. If you’re still on the fence, I really only have two words for you: Squad up.