Today I am kicking off Joker Week here with my thoughts on the Clown Prince of Crime’s latest cinematic appearance.
BTW, if you haven’t seen this yet, you shouldn’t be reading this yet. Go see it though.
Let me start off by saying that all these haters can suck it, this is a good movie. Is this going to win best movie next year in the Oscars? No, but that doesn’t make it the terrible wreck everyone is making it out to be. You know what else isn’t going to win best picture? Captain America: Civil War. That doesn’t mean that either is a bad movie.
Am I biased for this movie? Yeah, I am. I’ve been a DC guy for most of my life. I picked up a Suicide Squad comic when I was 10 because Batman was in it. It’s a great concept that can translate to the theater. It also features characters that I’m a fan of. That, coupled with some great trailers that have been released got me excited for this.
Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to fawn over a movie if it’s bad, even a DC one. I still remember when my friends and I left the theater after seeing Batman & Robin. Never have a group of people and I been so quiet when leaving a movie. Like we were trying to reconcile what we had seen and trying to find something positive about it, but coming up short.
This is not that movie.
It’s possible that this is the best movie so far in the new “DC Cinematic Universe.” To me it feels like it is, but I would want to live with it for a little while longer before deciding that. That may just be a knee jerk reaction to the film.
Since this is the first in a superhero movie franchise, we are of course shown the obligatory origin of the team. The interesting part of that is this is one of the few comic book movies where that isn’t necessarily needed. It’s a black ops team put together by the government. They could have just started with the team already formed and filled in backstory as they went. It’s really only needed as a reaction to the death of Superman in BvS. Amanda Waller’s justification for the squad is the impending metahuman threat.
The conflict the Squad is called in to resolve concerns Enchantress going rogue and attacking Midway City. As Enchantress was under the control of Amanda Waller, Task Force X discovers that their mission is to clean up Waller’s mistake.
Long story short (even though I wouldn’t have minded a longer version), this group of outsiders comes together and overcomes their differences to save the day. Plus, since it’s the Suicide Squad, a couple of them die along the way. Pretty much what I expected from this movie.
Will Smith as Deadshot
For real you guys, I thought I was going to need a targeting eyepiece to fix my peepers when they rolled so hard at the news of this casting. I love Deadshot. He is a great character and is underused outside of the Suicide Squad comics. Deathstroke seems to be taking all his work in the DC Universe.
So when I heard that Big Willie Style himself was going to be playing one of my favorite hitmen, I was disappointed. To me it just looked like Smith had picked the biggest role and said “that’s who I’m playing.” Whether this was the case or not, we’ll never know.
However, he was a lot better in this than I thought he would be. Maybe because I had such low expectations for him, I was pleased with what I got. Perhaps since Smith is a father, he was able to bring that to the role. When they announced Deadshot was going to be in this, I knew they would bring in his daughter to give him some humanity. This is Hollywood, that’s what they do. Smith pulled it off though.
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
This is why we came to see the movie, right? Everybody loves Harley Quinn. I haven’t seen Robbie in anything yet, (no, I haven’t seen Wolf of Wall Street, fuck Leonardo DiCaprio) so I wasn’t sure what I was getting. She’s great though. Despite any previous fan castings over the years, I don’t think anyone else would’ve done a better job.
Despite all the hate for this flick, I haven’t heard a bad word about Robbie yet. She’s great and you can see why Warner Bros are considering a solo film.
Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang
If I was disappointed with anything in this movie, it’s that we didn’t get more of the Captain. A longtime Flash villain that’s been a joke for decades, shouldn’t have been this good, but here we are. Hopefully, some of those deleted scenes everyone’s bitching about has a little Captain in them.
Bonus, his inclusion also led to a great cameo that I avoided online like it was the Zika virus before I went to the theater.
Jay Hernandez as El Diablo
When I was El Diablo was in this, the first thing I thought was “fodder.” You expect some of the team to die in a Suicide Squad story like it was in the title or something. What you don’t expect is for them to be this good. Diablo is a villain I know little about and don’t care any about. Hernandez turned this into a good character with a well-developed arc.
While watching this I felt something familiar about Hernandez, but couldn’t place what I had seen him in before. As if his face was covered up or something. Checking his listing on IMDB though, I haven’t seen anything else he’s done. Any familiarity I felt towards his character must have just been a well-rounded character that exceeded my expectations.
Adam Beach as Slipknot
You know what feels great? When your predictions come true. Why would a character who’s part of a team not be featured in group shots in a trailer? You know, like scenes that are obviously from later in the story when the shit is going down? Gee, it’s almost like something was going to happen to him.
The only issue I have here is that the plot doesn’t set up Slipknot enough to make you care, or even surprised when he gets taken out. The only purpose it serves is to motivate the rest of the team to fall in line. I know that’s not new to SS tales, but it should have been developed more.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc
Ok, I’m going to quit checking now and assume I’ve spelled his name right. The problem is, this guy should be a household name now. He does a great job with Croc. I’ve gotten over Killer Croc’s first movie appearance not being in a Batman movie. (Something I’ve wanted since I was like 11.)
The only issue here is that maybe more than Boomerang, Croc doesn’t get as much screen time as he should’ve. Naturally, with an ensemble cast, some people are going to get the short end of the stick, but I could’ve used more Waylon Jones here.
My only issue with Croc in this movie is the scene in which Enchantress is trying to tempt members of the team with showing them their deepest wishes, implying that she can fulfill them if they join her. Harley Quinn’s shows her desire to live a normal life with Joker. In this dream sequence, we see Leto, sans makeup. You know who that would’ve been better used for? How about the guy that Ray-Parked this whole movie. Is it that hard to believe that Croc’s would wish for being cured of this affliction and lead a normal life? Why not throw a bone to the actor who was covered up for this entire adventure and show his real face?
Karen Fukahara as Katana
Hey, we got Katana in a movie! Again, a character that doesn’t have as much on-screen time as some of the other players, but I don’t think she needed it. The more mystery the better with her.
My only issue with her is that they kept mentioning her Soultaker sword.
No, not that Soultaker.
You can only remind me so many times that her sword captures the souls of her victims before I expect it to pay off later. It did not.
Cara Delevingne as Enchantress
Honestly, if there’s a weak link in this movie, it’s Enchantress. I don’t care about this character in the comics, and I really don’t in the movie either. It’s revealed that Amanda Waller set up Rick Flag as her handler knowing that her host, June Moon, and Flag would sleep together and that would be another level of control over the Enchantress. Even with that I don’t really care about Moon. If they’re both so easily manipulated how strong can their relationship be? Plus, it could be argued that Moon is only the host of the Enchantress due to her carelessness.
Oh yeah, the Enchantress’ brother, Incubus. Who is he? Hell if I know. I’ve been reading DC Comics steady for over 25 years and I’ve never heard of this guy. I kept trying to figure out who he was over the course of the movie. Later on, I had to look it up to see that he was from a 2 issue run in the 80s Suicide Squad book. I’m all for deep cuts, but c’mon.
While I was watching I kept holding out for a film version of Eclipso to show up. Explain to me how that wouldn’t have been better.
Jared Leto as Joker
So this was the character I was the most interested to see. The first cinematic Joker after Heath Ledger’s performance. We all know the expectations were high for this. Then, the shots on the internet of Leto in character with a bunch of weird ass tattoos all over. That did not look good.
As we’ve learned time and time again with casting in superhero movies, wait to pass judgement until you see the movie. Leto is fantastic in the movie. He had created a new take on the Joker.
Online, a lot has been made of how little Joker is in this movie. I felt that it was the perfect amount. This isn’t a Batman movie, it’s Suicide Squad. I think people let the “Joker is the villain of the movie” theory get away from them. Just because some jack-offs on the internet have an idea, doesn’t mean it’s true. Sorry to blow your mind just then.
There’s also the issue of Leto claiming that he filmed a lot more than is actually in the finished release. Oh man, I guess we’re never going to see that footage, huh? That’s too bad. If only there was some medium where we could watch the movie later on with a bunch of ancillary material. Possibly even an expanded version of the movie with all this stuff put back into it. The other side to that is that all that extra stuff could’ve sucked. The guy was sending rats to his co-workers. Who knows how smoothly his process worked.
Another ridiculous criticism I’ve heard is that Leto’s Joker is too “Riff Raff.” As if there is such a thing. The character has been wearing purple suits since the 40s and now he’s too outlandish for you?
Full disclosure: I’m totally down with the Neon Icon, so no harm, no foul as far as I’m concerned. If James Franco can use him for character inspiration, so can Leto. Sorry, he’s not subdued enough for your clown crime boss.
Crime boss is my issue with this take on the Joker though in this story. If the Joker is so entrenched that he is hanging out in a club and meeting with tattooed, White House visiting rappers, why hasn’t Batman shut that shit down? It really plays up Batman’s ineffectiveness if Joker operates with that much impunity. Unless, the Dark Knight just loves crashing through a skylight and kicking everyone’s ass on a nightly basis, it doesn’t make much sense.
I don’t know why everyone’s hating so much on this movie. I really enjoyed it and will probably go see it again. That said, it’s not a perfect movie, but tell me what the last movie you saw that was. What was the last superhero movie you saw that was “perfect?”
As a whole experience, I think it was better than Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. That may just be due to less studio interference though. For me anyway, these DC films are getting better and hopefully will continue next year with Wonder Woman.