'Suicide Squad' is the most divisive movie of the year. We couldn't even agree amongst ourselves. To read a completely different take on the film, click here.
Don't listen to the haters. Ignore everything else you read. Follow your heart and pay attention: Suicide Squad is good. Despite the negative reviews out there, I can assure you that the latest DC blockbuster is not a failure for the brand, which has been in desperate need for a winner after Batman v. Superman was critically panned. (Full disclosure: I also enjoyed that.)
The overall outlook for DC at the moment inspires both hope and doubt. On one hand, the brand's potential is limitless, with plenty of heavy hitters on its roster like Batman, Superman, and the entire Justice League, which stole Comic-Con this year. The sheer fire and star power makes this an exciting time for DC's future. On the other hand, they have dropped a couple movies widely regarded as duds, and overall it appears they rushed into building a cinematic universe without having an actual plan. But Suicide Squad is a net positive for them—not a negative.
Unsurprisingly, Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller steal the movie and delivered plenty of memorable moments, which are not only humorous, but action-packed. Going into the film, everyone expected Robbie to shine as Quinn and she exceeds those expectations. She perfectly captured the essence of the demonically twisted Quinn and even made the scenes with Jared Leto bearable, drawing in fans with a fucked up romance that included a steamy makeout session in an acid container.
Just as many expected Robbie to standout as Quinn, there were doubts about whether or not Will Smith would be able to deliver a worthy performance as Deadshot. Let's put that doubt to rest: Smith came through when DC needed him most by bringing some real personality and well-timed humor to the role.
Perhaps most surprising though is Viola Davis, who shines brightest in a much larger role than most probably anticipated for her. She basically serves in the Nick Fury role for DC, but with an attitude and the power to shoot people at will. The personality that Davis brings to the film is a stellar contrast to Smith and Robbie, a necessary dose of seriousness that, as a bonus, comes with a real "do not fuck with me" vibe.
This isn't to say that Suicide Squad is without faults. There are issues, notably Jared Leto's performance as The Joker. He really doesn't hold a candle to Heath Ledger's legendary performance, and mostly he comes off as trying way too hard to be edgy and dark. Nothing about the performance seems natural. Suicide Squad also suffers from some poor writing—dialogue throughout the film that is so corny you can't even laugh at it.
Despite some of those hiccups though, Suicide Squad is exactly what DC needs right now. The film is not only enjoyable and will be a commercial success, but it's proof they're going off the established Marvel formula: kick-ass action scenes plus witty jokes and plenty of teases for future projects. Suicide Squad does that in bunches, with plenty of Easter eggs to keep fanboys happy and enough intense action scenes to satisfy the casual fans at the same time. The film directly answers the issues of Batman v Superman—those boring, action-deprived moments. Instead of getting retreads, like how BvS forced us to see Batman's parents die AGAIN, fans get to see Batfleck square up against the Joker and Deadshot; they get to see Will Smith shoot guns while Kanye West blasts in the background.
The movie serves as an opportunity to not only build on the DC universe outside of Batman and Superman, but to actually introduce new and exciting characters. This could be a chance for DC to expand the brand with newer, less mainstream characters in the future, which has been a big criticism of Marvel in recent years. Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and the crew have a real chance to be further developed in the future, and based on how the film plays out, it appears that they will be very prominent going forward.
These are exciting times if you're a DC fan. Coupled with the introduction of Suicide Squad are the recent debuts of the trailers for Justice League and Wonder Woman, both of which stirred up Comic-Con despite Zack Snyder still being involved. No longer are they a pretender—they officially have a seat at the table. Will they be able to close the huge gap between them and Marvel? It's tough to tell, but Suicide Squad is a step in the right direction, and it keeps them in the game.