Perhaps the most-anticipated cinematic release of the year is “Suicide Squad” (2016). With several superhero films being released every year, director David Ayer found a new angle: super-villains. The result is an incredibly entertaining, star-studded mess, with a shining performance by Margot Robbie and a rather disappointing one by Jared Leto.
In the grim world of DC Comics, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) sets up a taskforce consisting out of the “worst of the worst” criminals, such as Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). With this taskforce, which is let by Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) the U.S. government intends to battle their biggest fights, which presents itself in ways of the Joker (Jared Leto) or the ancient Enchantress (Cara Delevigne). But are these super villains capable of saving the world? Or would they rather save their own ass?
The film, which has been super hyped over the past couple of months, does not do very well with the critics. Bad review after bad review has been published, calling the film incoherent and disappointing. But if you ask me, “Suicide Squad” (2016) succeeds at what it aims to do: entertain. The film is funny and exciting, and I was not bored for even one second. Of course, it doesn’t have the unique “Marvel” spark that works incredibly well with both box offices and film critics, and it isn’t as serious and epic as Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy – but that was never the aim of “Suicide Squad” (2016). The film’s aim is to entertain and to be darkly humorous and it definitely and undeniably succeeds at that.
And the person to thank for the level of entertainment, would be Margot Robbie. The actress, who gained fame by her performance alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013), is the film’s shining star. Robbie plays everyone’s favorite bad girl and the Joker’s girlfriend Harley Quinn, formerly known as psychiatrist Harleen Quinzel. Dressed in basically nothing, Robbie brings humor and tragedy to the film. She’s funny and lighthearted, delivering creepy yet friendly one-liners and twirling around with her lethal baseball bat, but she’s also one of the most interesting and tragic characters of the suicide squad – and Robbie makes sure the audience gets both sides of the coin. Underneath all that heavy make-up and over-the-top giggling, there’s a girl who wants nothing more than the man she loves to love her back.
A big part of the hype around “Suicide Squad” (2016) revolved around Jared Leto’s portrayal of one of the most iconic of bad guys: the Joker. Numerous articles have reported how Leto completely transformed into the green-haired super villain, sending his co-stars typical Joker gifts, from rats to used condoms. It created an air of expectation and – there’s really no other way to put it – Leto as the Joker did not meet this expectation. At all. The Joker is supposed to be creepy and intimidating and fascinating all at the same time and Leto was none of those things. The last actor to tackle the part of the Joker was the late Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (2008) and that was a brilliant performance. Leto was already kind of fighting the odds here, but with disappointing portrayal of the Joker in “Suicide Squad” (2016), he did not even get close to Ledger’s. In fact, I thought Viola Davis’ portrayal of U.S. government official Amanda Waller was scarier than Leto’s performance as the Joker.
As much as I was entertained by “Suicide Squad” (2016), I do have to agree with the majority of the critics and point out how messy and incoherent the film felt. They story-line could not seem to focus on anything, constantly shooting new information, flashbacks, characters or plot twists at the audience, leaving us feeling confused and overwhelmed. But – and this may be the most far-fetched response to this – if that was actually the point of the film? What if it was the intention of the filmmakers to confuse their audiences, to keep on throwing information and bright-colored visuals and new characters at them until they feel completely overwhelmed and dazzled? If that is the case, then “Suicide Squad” (2016) definitely succeeded and is actually a really clever play, but if it’s not intentional, then it just leaves the film being incoherent and messy.
All in all, “Suicide Squad” (2016) is here to entertain its audience and it definitely succeeds at that. The excitement, the film’s hyper-active and unique visual style and shining performance by Margot Robbie are reasons enough to follow the hype and go watch “Suicide Squad” (2016) in theaters – because you will not be sorry.