What went wrong with Suicide Squad

What went wrong with Suicide Squad

REVIEW: Suicide Squad

(M) Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto

Suicide Squad continues on from what happened in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. World leaders are concerned that “meta-humans” like Superman could threaten the human race. The answer to this problem comes from US agent and meta-human expert Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). Her concept is to bring together a “suicide squad” — a team of the world’s worst villains — and manipulate them to go against their own personal interests, and fight to keep the rest of the meta-humans in check. With the assistance of super soldier Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Waller works to motivate Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) to go on high-risk missions for the sake of the greater good. Once the brutish bunch is reluctantly recruited, they are sent on their first mission. It doesn’t take too long for the team to realise this battle is not what they were expecting. This mission eventually contains personal aspects that will effect all of them. This Suicide Squad must determine what their true motivations are to serve and if it is all worth the risk.

With all of the hype around this new venture into the DC Universe, to say that expectations are high for the Suicide Squad would be an understatement. The star power, the enthusiasm fuelled by the film’s trailers and the potential for a “new look” Joker has kept the new (and seasoned) fans buzzing with anticipation. But does this rag-tag bunch of villains deliver the needed jolt for DC to rival their Marvel competitors?

Almost, but not quite.

Suicide Squad does what Batman v Superman failed to do. It takes an exceptionally complex idea and makes it accessible and entertaining. Director David Ayer (Fury) does a monstrous effort to bring together a bunch of relatively unknown characters, introduce them to audiences and weaves in a fascinating tale of redemption that lifts this fantastical adventure above many of the other films within this genre. He manages to bring together a strong cast of actors who rise to the challenge of introducing the world to the dark side of DC. Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney lead the rampage of the disturbed heroes and take advantage of every line they are given. Jay Hernandez’s Diablo character wins the “Diamond in the Rough” award with his brooding portrayal of the gangbanger who seeks redemption for his horrific crimes. The rest of the characters become bit players in this super-hero (Or is it super-villain; it is a bit confusing) spectacle, which also includes The Joker (Jared Leto). This performance has been one of the most anticipated aspects of this potential franchise, but Leto’s Joker is relegated to being a love-sick boyfriend who is under-utilised and under-developed.

With Suicide Squad‘s vast troupe, Ayer has the opportunity to cultivate the growth of a fresh storyline. The challenge is finding an adversary worthy of their attention. This has been one of the biggest issues for most superhero movies throughout 2016. The answer seems to present itself in Viola Davis’ portrayal of Waller. She contains many of the needed elements to be the movie’s villain, but there is a failure to capitalise upon the tantalising direction Waller offers. Instead, the role of villain lands with The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). While she can be labelled as creepy, The Enchantress fails to convey the needed evil to warrant the attention of the Squad. Delevingne’s comical attempt at malevolent dancing and the development of her faceless minions do not provide the needed terror or adversarial role to provoke a convincing ordeal. The Enchantress’ actions and motivations are reminiscent of the recent X-Men: Apocalypse, which also proved that the world domination concept is overdone.

Even with some of the obvious weaknesses, there is hope for this as a potential franchise. The filmmakers have only begun to plumb the depths of this rich vein of unique players. Hopefully, they can do more to enhance the humorous components for the next outing.  This script provided some funny throw-away lines that lifted the story out of the dark world where it resides. But with this talent pool, there is a multitude of opportunity for more comedy to offset the violent nature of this genre. If the acting talent can be convinced to come back for another chapter, this initial outing merely becomes a set up for an exciting future. As such, it might be worth going to see this outing — for the sake of understanding the future of a new charter within the superhero realm.



What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?

Redemption was at the heart of Suicide Squad. The key motivation for the majority of these villainous characters is seeking out redemption for their lives. Some seek pardons for their past sins; others want to reconnect with family and friends; and some even want to have a normal life.

These are some of life’s basic needs: acceptance, forgiveness and redemption. Travelling through life, most of us come to a point of seeking redemption for various things that we have done. At that point, we can try to find a means of rectifying the wrongs we have done to people, society or God. This is a concept that can be found at the heart of the Bible’s message. Jesus’s life and death provides a special type of redemption that is readily available to anyone who is willing to accept it.

This brings about two questions: Are you seeking redemption in your life?

Have you considered Jesus as the answer?


Verses on the topic of redemption: Psalm 111:9, John 3:16, Romans 3:24-26, Ephesians 1:7


Russell Matthews works for City Bible Forum Sydney and is a film blogger



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