Comic Book Movie Rewatch: Suicide Squad

I really enjoy movies based on comic books, whether they be blockbusters like the MCU films, or old, cheesy films like the 80s Superman movies. Every time I watch one (or re-watch one) I write up a post with my thoughts. I try to be spoiler free, but the older the movie, the less careful I am. This time it was the extended edition of the 2016 movie Suicide Squad.

suicidesquadSuicide Squad

IMDb Rating: 6.4/10

Rotten Tomatoes critics: 26%

Rotten Tomatoes audience: 64%

My Rating: 5/10

I actually watched this movie quite a while ago, but I’ve been having problems figuring out what to say. I really wanted to like the movie. I thought it had a solid cast, some memorable characters, and an interesting villain. They even decided to try adding some humor to a DCEU movie. All together, that should have equaled a fun, entertaining movie. Somehow, though, it was just kind of… meh.

The premise of the movie had a lot of promise. I thought of it as a mashup of The Dirty Dozen and Escape from New York, but with comic book characters. That sound awesome, but it didn’t really work. The biggest problem that I saw was that they put too much humanity back in the characters. They were supposed to be villains, the worst of the worst, but they turned El Diablo into a pacifist, Killer Croc into a victim of religious discrimination (and cannibal, but still…), and Captain Boomerand into comic relief. Rick Flag is worse than useless (if anything, he becomes the damsel in distess for most of the movie). Harley Quinn was probably the closest to her comic book persona, but really the worst thing she does in the movie is steal a purse. The worst offense was Deadshot. Deadshot’s supposed to be a ruthless assassin. Wikipedia describes him like this (emphasis added):

He has been a major figure in the Suicide Squad in its latest two incarnations, where his skills as a marksman and his disregard for human life serve to advance the group’s objectives.

But in the movie he’s just trying to take care of his daughter. He becomes the de facto leader of the group and legitimately cares about the team members, his captors, and the innocents who get caught up in the battles. I understand that writers want people to connect with their characters, but the whole point of the movie is that these are villains, not just criminals or misunderstood outcasts. Making these characters sympathetic undermines their purpose in the comics.

It also seemed like the writers had a tough time balancing their new story with acknowledgements to the source comics. Some worked okay (like Slipknot’s escape attempt), while others were really bad (like El Diablo channeling the Aztec god-emperor out of nowhere).

One of the reasons that it’s taken me so long to finish this post is because the more I think about the movie, the more conflicted I become in how I feel about it. Part of me thinks that it’s the best DCEU movie to date, while another part just gets more annoyed with how much better it could have been. I almost want to watch the movie again, just so I can solidify my opinion. Almost.


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