Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) goes boom in “Suicide Squad.” (Warner Bros Pictures)
Secret ending? There’s a mid-credits scene.
Running time: 123 minutes (~2 hours)
“Suicide Squad” is a dark action comedy superhero film that’s the third entry in the DC Extended Universe. A group of incarcerated supervillains is moulded into a black ops team for the American government, and ends up saving the world. It stars Will Smith (Deadshot/Floyd Lawton), Jared Leto (Joker), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn/Harleen Quinzel), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flag), Viola Davis (Amanda Waller), Jai Courtney (Boomerang/Digger Harkness), Jay Hernandez (El Diablo/Chato Santana), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Killer Croc/Waylon Jones), Cara Delevingne (Enchantress/June Moone), Karen Fukuhara (Katana/Tatsu Yamashiro), Adam Beach (Slipknot/Christopher Weiss), and Ben Affleck (Batman/Bruce Wayne). It is rated PG-13.
If you only recognise a few of the supervillains’ names there, don’t fret. Besides the Joker and Harley Quinn, these are the best of the B-lister villains in the DC Universe, since it’s unlikely that the likes of Lex Luthor or Ra’s Al Ghul would join the Suicide Squad. The film makes a lot of effort to set up the villains as plausible protagonists, with opening vignettes for each of the main characters so that you’re up to speed on their backstory, powers, and motivation. It’s a fun film and a good entry in the DC Extended Universe.
The Joker (Jared Leto) in “Suicide Squad.” (Warner Bros Pictures)
“Suicide Squad” is all about the fun factor, and the film goes out of the way to give lively banter and cool scenes to the villains so that they’re not as dislikeable as they’d normally be portrayed. There are plenty of extended sequences set to pop soundtracks to remind you that it’s going to be a fast-paced ride, and it works. “Suicide Squad” does net a few chuckles.
For a film where everything can be explained away through super powers or magic, “Suicide Squad” manages to sneak in a lot of exposition that gets paid off in the third Act. Insights into the motivations and fears of Harley Quinn and El Diablo bear fruit in the climactic confrontation, and add more layers of complexity to what would have been straightforward but cool scenes. And of course, the whole film is one big setup for another film that we’re all waiting for.
Even though the audience never forgets that they are the bad guys in the grand scheme of things, they’re not so irredeemable that you’d never root for them. Even the Joker has his soft spot, and is humanised enough that we actually root for the Joker (something I thought I’d never say) as he tries to accomplish his objectives. You can empathise with the villains, but not so much so that you’d ever want to be one of them.
The Suicide Squad assembles in “Suicide Squad.” (Warner Bros Pictures)
“Suicide Squad” jumps from whimsy and darkness so many times that it gets rather jarring at times. It’s a film of extremes, so it abruptly swings to either end of the spectrum in an attempt to lighten what is actually a pretty dark story. While this is, of course, the function of a last minute change in direction and production, it could have been smoothened out a little better so that the film doesn’t seem so schizophrenic in tone.
You’ll question why their ace-in-the-hole only miraculously comes through at the end of the film, when he could have singlehandedly solved the problem. “Suicide Squad” also sprinkles liberal doses of superheroes, which begs the question — where are the heroes when the world is on the brink of disaster? There are many other needling questions that pop up with the logical consistency of the film, and are just enough to occasionally distract you from what’s happening on screen.
Harley goes blasting again in “Suicide Squad.” (Warner Bros Pictures)
“Suicide Squad” has fun characters that overcome its tonal and logical inconsistencies for a satisfying superhero movie.
Should you watch this at weekday movie ticket prices? Yes.
Should you watch this at weekend movie ticket prices? If you like the DC Extended Universe.
“Suicide Squad” opens in cinemas:
- 4 August, 2016 (Singapore)
- 4 August, 2016 (Malaysia)
- 4 August, 2016 (Philippines)
Marcus Goh is a Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He Tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own.