Nick Bizon Reviews Episode 1 : Suicide Squad - #SquadGoals
A quick plot summary: The Suicide Squad (officially named Task Force X) is a covert government initiative created by Amanda Waller. Bringing together the worst and most skilled criminals of the DC universe to combat threats beyond the capabilities of the army, and if they fail or get caught, they get thrown under the bus. The initiative is created as a result of the events of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).
Everyone is divided as to how good this movie really is. I personally really liked it. Let's start off with what the best parts where. First of all, two words, CAPTAIN BOOMERANG! For all of you who don't know this man, he is an Australian bank robber armed with razor-sharp boomerangs, and in typical Aussie fashion just doesn't care about what people think of him. Played by Australian actor Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys, The Water Diviner, Divergent Series) he isn't one of the leading members of the squad but provides moments of comedic relief while kicking ass.
Another characters I was on the fence about was Deadshot, played by Will Smith (Focus, Men in Black, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) but he quickly became on of my favourites. Deadshot is probably one of the more well rounded characters. As an assassin we knows how to take down any and all adversaries he's faced with quickly and efficiently while also delivering some of the best lines in the movie. Despite his killer skills (pun intended) it is his relationship and interaction with both Harley Quinn played by Margot Robbie (Tarzan, Focus, Wolf of Wall Street) and Rick Flag played by Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop, The Darkest Hour). His on screen chemistry with Robbie is very similar to what they had in Focus (2015), he obviously cares for her although he tries not to show it. There is also a mutual respect between Deadshot and Flag in regards to their skills as both soldiers and leaders, they are just on opposite sides of the law.
Although the story is not overly complex, it flows well, keeps the audience engaged and has a good mix of action and drama. I feel that there were a lot of missed opportunities that could have been added in if there was an MA or R rating such as Killer Croc ripping out people's jugulars as he does in the comic books. There also could have been some man-on-man violence instead of man-on-black creepy monster violence. That being said, the creepy monsters fit well into the context of the movie.
Overall, I would give this movie a solid 7 neon skulls out of 10
My Biggest Issue of the Film
I'm sure this is no surprise to everyone, but the biggest issue I found in the this movie was Jared Leto's (American Psycho, Dallas Buyers Club, 30 Seconds to Mars) portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime himself. This character has definitely been one of the most talked about and anticipated aspects of the film since its announcement and photos were released. I'll admit, the tattoos were a cool twist on his appearance but overall he was just a gangster in make up. The Joker is supposed to be insane, unhinged and as stated in The Dark Knight (2008) "an agent of chaos." Although he tried really hard to be unhinged and crazy it just fizzled out. On top of that, the Joker's laugh is the most iconic aspect of the character (other than his purple suit) and it was a bit of a misfire and didn't have the same effect and doesn't really stack up to the other portrayals including the animated versions of the character. As an extension of the character, the portrayal of the Joker and Harley's relationship which was peppered through the film in Harley's flashbacks, had all the makings of a great representation but lacked the all the elements of abuse that is clearly evident in previous versions. Also, Harley's insanity is mean to be a product of extended time spent with the Joker instead of a result of torture in an effort to bring her insanity to the surface.
Although they didn't have a very big part in the film I feel I should give an honorable mention to Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Trumbo, Pompeii, Thor: The Dark World) as Killer Croc. Clad in a enormous amount of prosthetic make-up to create the monstrous character, he didn't have many line but was still intimidating, a little scary and just gangster (just watch the movie and you'll see what I mean). I am also a fan of the fact that he just looked like a regular person with above average strength instead of a reptilian hulk.
Another honorable mention goes to Jay Hernandez (Bad Moms, Nashville, Gimme Shelter) as Diablo. He accurately portrayed the ex-gang leader turned pacifist with the ability to shoot fire and was able to give the character a good amount of depth. He also has tonnes of tattoos that rival those of the Joker. Much like Killer Croc, Diablo plays a smaller role among the other members of the team but is still just as vital to the success of the mission.
Who Would I Recast?
1) CCH Pounder as Amanda Waller
For all of you who don't know, Amanda Waller is a high up government agent and the creator of Task Force X. Her reputation makes her almost mythical, with people never believing the rumors until they meet her. She is as tough as they come and doesn't mess around, she gets what she wants and doesn't think twice about the methods she uses. In the film she is portrayed by Viola Davis (The Help, How to Get Away with Murder, Lila and Eve) who is no stranger to roles where she is unquestionably in charge and a force to be reckoned with. However, I think CCH Pounder ( Law and Order: SVU, Avatar, Orphan) would do an excellent job. She as also previously played the wall of Amanda 'The Wall' Waller in Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014), Batman: Arkham Orgins (2013), and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009) to name a few. If that doesn't make her qualified I don't know what does?
2) Walton Goggins as the Joker
Walton Goggins is someone who has only just recently come into more popular movies and TV shows. Most recently he appeared in Quentin Tarantino's newest film The Hateful Eight (2015) as Sheriff Chris Mannix. He is also the main antagonist in the FX TV series Justified (2010-2015) as Boyd Crowder. He has some of the best dialogue of any actor I've ever seen, he can be a manipulative villain and has the right screen presence to pull off this version of the Joker. Also, he would end up looking pretty similar to Leto if he was put in the make up.