Suicide Squad: Closer to suicide than success

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A year earlier, the action-packed snippets of the Suicide Squad trailer featuring everyone’s favorite DC Comics villains left fans on the edges of their seats with excitement. However, when the widely anticipated movie finally came out, it is safe to say that many exited the cinemas unsatisfied with an itch unscratched by the mediocre movie.

Suicide Squad, written and directed by David Ayer, entails the mission of an antihero team composed of famous villains such as Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Deadshot (Will Smith), and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez). The unlikely team tries to stop the Enchantress, who possesses the body of June Moone (Cara Delevingne) and is trying to destroy and take over the mortal world. The squad is led and supervised by Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), who acts under the orders of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). Throughout the movie, the Joker (Jarod Leto) appears sporadically to retrieve his beloved Harley Quinn back to his side.

Despite having a high profile cast, Suicide Squad felt like an extended trailer. The plot was clichéd and lacked complexity, progressing in a series of choppy scenes with some dialogue sprinkled through. Instead of being focused on the progression of the plot and the flow of the scenes, the film seemed to be more focused on its ambiance, or its “vibes,” leaving the impression that it was trying too hard to seem cool and different from other superhero movies.

However, the plot is far from the biggest downfall of Suicide Squad: the majority of the character development was dismal. Most of the characters’ backstories, if they were even given one in the first place, were not developed enough to be properly relevant to the storyline. Without well-written, three-dimensional characters that the audience can empathize with and relate to, a movie can only do so much.

For example, one character—it is difficult to even remember his name (Slipknot) from watching the movie alone—is barely introduced before he is killed off. Another character, Katana (Karen Fukuhara), is given a tragic backstory that has no relevance to the plot, and exists as one of Flag’s hackies, upholding the stereotype of submissive Asian women. Still other characters, such as Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), are so insignificant to the plot that they could be omitted from the movie and nothing would change. Even the most infamous character, the Joker (Jarod Leto), could be completely omitted from the film with minimal damage to the plot.

However, not all characters were so hastily characterized. Take Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. The actress successfully captured the charismatic yet crazed personality of Harley Quinn. Perhaps due to the phenomenal acting, or perhaps due to Quinn’s distinctive character traits, most can probably agree that the memory of the bubblegum-blowing character lingered long after the credits rolled. Will Smith’s Deadshot and Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo were better characters compared to the rest, too: Deadshot’s obvious love for his daughter and El Diablo’s all-consuming guilt from killing his loved ones gave context, suggested some of the motives behind their actions, and provided some depth to their personalities.

That being said, with the exception of a choice few, too many of the characters in Suicide Squad are little more than two-dimensional stick figures flopping around in a grungy atmosphere full of action.

However, despite its faults, Suicide Squad was not completely without merit. The aesthetic appeals that the film makes contributed to the novel idea of a protagonist team composed of supervillains, leaving a somewhat badass impression not found in other hero-based action movies. The music selection, which included songs such as “Without Me” by Eminem and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, was composed of songs that the audience would surely know and enjoy, and contributed to the aforementioned chic atmosphere that complemented the film. While watching the scenes with those songs, it was easy to sit back and enjoy myself, watching the antics of the protagonist villains and bobbing my head to the beat.

Overall, though Suicide Squad was entertaining to watch due to the bold, flashy themes and a complementing soundtrack, it probably is not worth the money to watch in theaters due to its confusing yet simplistic plot and mostly lackluster characters.

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Marie Park

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