By Joanna Cosgrove
I’ll start this out by saying, no, I am not as familiar with DC as I am with Marvel (and honestly, besides Assault on Arkham, I have never watched a DC film in full), but if you need to know how great the scale of amazement from Suicide Squad is, just know it made a fan out of me.
The premise of having a full movie, over two hours of watching the nemeses save the day, is enough to intrigue. The movie tells of the formation of Task Force X at the hands of the sophisticated yet devilish Amanda Waller, where she is looking to enforce her superiority over criminals, brought to justice by Batman – and another Justice League member I’m keeping hush hush about for now – by using them as her own unorthodox army to fulfil any orders. If they obey, demands are met and they get a reduced prison sentence each. If they disobey? They can say bye-bye to their lives via bomb in the neck.
By now, for about a year now, we know who is who in this flick. And don’t get me wrong, every character has a chance to shine in their own way. No matter if it’s Harley Quinn’s moments of undying love/obsession for her “puddin”, the infamous Joker; Deadshot’s constant dedication to seeing his daughter despite being restrained due to his deadly job; or even Captain Boomerang’s little friend Pinky (if you’ve seen the trailers, you know exactly who I mean…)
Special praise, in terms of acting, should really go to all of the main cast for their ability to throw away all sense usually linked to the hero role, and embrace the insanity and confused morality of the villain. But let’s single out a few wonderful performances.
Let’s start with the source of casting controversy: Jared Leto’s unique portrayal of the Joker. Unpopular opinion here – I believe Leto’s version of the psychopathic villain was fantastic. Everyone may have had ideas before viewing his full performance, especially from hearing about his behind-the-scenes shenanigans, but I saw what his prep was leading to and wow, I was definitely shocked by how well he fit into the role. Being creepy, frightening, yet fascinating, is what you should always expect from a portrayal of this character; all three were ticked off by Leto so easily. Hopefully with more movies in the DCEU planned, he will appear even more onscreen and we can get deeper into his backstory – and hopefully, it will be Leto returning.
On a similar stream, let’s explore his lover of sorts, Harley Quinn. I feel that Harley’s backstory was given more than the other members of the group but it sure did help loop the Joker into the story. Kudos to Margot Robbie for taking on such a complex role and doing it total justice. I cannot think of anyone who could have done a better job for Harley’s first ever live-action appearance. Personally, my highest point with Harley Quinn was all homages to her original red and black jester outfit; whenever it appeared, it was telling the fans “we know how to handle Harley, so don’t you panic”. I did not, and I was proud that she was given the respectful personality she deserved. This includes her chemistry with the Joker. There are scenes that show that despite her love for him, and his love for her, there was an edge to it; she felt uneasy at moments, which gave depth to her emotional state of mind. Thank you, DC, for not reducing Harley Quinn to an insane sexualised blonde. Thank you! Fingers crossed for that Harley Quinn solo movie, because I would so book tickets as soon as they are released.
Lastly, but definitely not least, let’s discuss the astounding acting of Jay Hernandez as flame-wielder criminal El Diablo. I don’t know how to talk about him for so long without spoiling the movie, but here goes. Honestly, I had no clue about this character before hearing about Suicide Squad, but I now just want to learn all about him. He was one of the most complicated and heart-breaking characters, because unlike the other villains, he did not want to fight. He explains how he was once like the rest of them, out of control and dangerous; but after too many casualties and too many losses, he restricted himself from using his “curse”. If you’re looking forward to badass pyrotechnics 100% of the time he’s on screen, change your ideas; he will make you feel, possibly cry, when he shows too well the damage villains’ powers can have on loved ones.
So to conclude, I will say this: do not pay full attention to websites like IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, who take some reviews and average the scores. Go see the movie, judge for yourself. You may agree with me, and you may not; it’s all up to you and how you view this movie.
Give these evil enemies a chance, because like it or not, they are here and they are ready to dominate the box office.