Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Suicide Squad’ Review: Starring Margot Robbie, Will Smith & Viola Davis

“I’m known to be quite vexing, I’m just forewarning you.” -Harley Quinn

Suicide Squad is an origin story about how super secret ops agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) constructs a task force of “the worst of the worst” and puts them together in order to help save the world. Military leader Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), who thinks this is a bad idea from the start, is tasked with leading the super villains while in battle. We have Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Slipknot (Adam Beach) and Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). All of these villains have either been locked up by Batman (Ben Affleck) or a member of the Justice League. There’s also Katana (Karen Fukuhara), who will slay anyone with her samurai if they try to kill Flagg or Waller or divert from the plan. And of course we can’t forget the Joker (Jared Leto), Batman’s arch nemesis and Harley Quinn’s deranged boyfriend.

When the squad is released from prison to go out on their mission, the Joker plans to help Harley escape, while the others attempt to figure out what they can do to get out of prison for good. But things don’t go as planned since Waller and Flagg are not honest on what the squad is really fighting for.

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Anyone who reads my reviews, tweets or any social media posts knows that I absolutely adore Margot Robbie. Robbie was born to play Harley Quinn and she is without a doubt the best part of the movie. The Australian actress is the perfect choice to bring Harley Quinn to life in a feature film. She already has the comic book villain’s physical features but she adds such fierce and likable qualities to her here. Harley is fully committed to the Joker, who is her kryptonite, and I love how Robbie shows that in the movie but also makes her a total badass. Harley can take care of herself but she’s also willing to do anything for the Joker, even if that means getting killed. I loved seeing the character go back and forth between those emotions.

This is a super bold statement to make but Jared Leto’s Joker is my favorite Joker I’ve seen. Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger are stellar performances clearly, but I loved watching Leto here. His Joker is so different from the others because he is playing off of Harley Quinn. I think the Joker is so much more interesting with Harley Quinn around. Leto’s Joker is psychotic and evil, but he’s also a little redeemable because he does care for Harley on some level. The best scenes in the film are of the Joker and Harley and I hope Warner Bros. makes a movie surrounding these two characters. These two characters also need to be in Ben Affleck’s solo Batman film as the villains. No other villains will measure up. Unfortunately Leto has less than maybe 15 minutes of screen time, which is a major error with the screenplay, but my hope is this will be the start of other films to come for him. We know Suicide Squad is about introducing all of the squad characters, but gosh I could have watched a three-hour long film about the Joker and Harley. I really hope it happens.

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The soundtrack is fantastic and fits the personalities of all the characters. The songs fit so well against the scenes they are played with, especially “Purple Lamborghini” by Skrillex and Rick Ross; “Heathens” by twenty one pilots; and “Sucker For Pain” by Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa and Imagine Dragons. Director and writer David Ayer may have had some issues with editing, but the pairing of these songs along with the film really elevate it.

Suicide Squad is not a perfect film, but it’s far from a rotten one too. David Ayer has already proven he is a good director with films like End of Watch and Fury, but here in Suicide Squad, his screenplay feels like a first draft in certain parts. The editing is a bit choppy and the entire third act makes me want to ask him what he was trying to accomplish. The villain is not great, but it’s not the actor’s fault. The character was poorly written and the plot is never clear to the audience. These characters definitely deserved a better plot to work with, but their performances are so damn charming it still makes the film enjoyable and worthwhile. The best way to look at Suicide Squad is to admire all of the great performances and as a start of future DC films to come that could also feature these characters. Please let’s make a Harley Quinn and Joker movie happen!


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