The cinema has been flooded with remakes and superhero films over the past several years: True Grit, Wrath of Khan, X-Men, Avengers, Batman, and the list could go on. While this is not inherently a problem, the saturation of films (especially superhero ones), has started to become tedious. There was a time when I genuinely got excited to go watch a new film about some guy/gal in spandex saving the world, but not so much anymore. Marvel, which has been consistently hitting it out of the park with story, characters, etc. has become (in my opinion) very samey in their films. On the opposite end of the spectrum, DC has produced some stylistically intriguing films, but they have largely lacked (with Christopher Nolan’s notable trilogy as an exception) well-paced stories and characters. DC’s latest entry, Suicide Squad, suffers from most of the same weaknesses as past films from the publisher but makes up for it in other areas.
Suicide Squad has a plethora of protagonists—think Avengers but with all villains. However, while Marvel manages to introduce their cast in a way that does not feel rushed, Suicide Squad manages to only introduce three of the characters in any depth: Deadshot, Harlequin, and Diablo. As such, the film has multiple characters that feel very flat since their backstory and motivations are not fully drawn out. Overall, the pacing of the movie did not bother me too much although the introductions of characters is placed heavily on the forward end of the film which creates an odd division between the two halves.
For any pacing or character/plot problems the film has, there are still positive aspects that made the film fun for me. Firstly was the music. The film makes ample use of contemporary music which fits extremely well with the style of the movie. Songs like “Sucker for Pain” by Lil Wayne, and songs by Imagine Dragons and others, create a soundtrack that provides immediately recognizable theme music. However, while the music was entertaining, the visual presentation of characters and settings is what I enjoyed the most. As I mentioned in the introduction, DC often has interesting stylistic approaches in their films (see their animated shows/movies and the 90’s Batman series). This approach of translating the comic book to the screen has always pleased me because, being a huge fan of comic books in general, any time a film tries to capture the eccentricities of the drawn page, it usually creates a very unique experience. Suicide Squad manages to do this with its bizarre and over the top characters like Harlequin and the Joker, as well as with Deadshot, Diablo, and others. By created a visual experience most certainly NOT grounded in reality, the film does a good job of carrying over the visual themes and characters from the comic book genre.
Suicide Squad, although suffering from some poor pacing and weak character development, offers a humorous musical experience combined with a unique visual presentation of its subject matter. While this film will certainly not win over those who have become tired of the superhero genre—or never had an interest to start with—those who are drawn to the more visually stylized films will probably find it an enjoyable romp through bizarre super-powered action.