TheGiantClaw’s review published on Letterboxd:
First off I just have to say that this is the greatest 27% the critics of Rotten Tomatoes have ever reviewed. Rarely are the critics wrong on so many levels as they were with Suicide Squad. I mean yeah it's flawed, some would say heavily, but it's certainly not deserving of a below 30% rating. From what I've read the main problems with the movie are Jared Leto's portrayal of The Joker, the lack of plot and poor character development. I've also heard people talk about the crap third act and how poorly certain characters were portrayed and yadda yadda, everybody is gonna have a different opinion. But I'd like to discuss why the main issues people had with the movie worked for me.
It's clear DC has taken a page out of Marvel's book after the fan reactions towards Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Fantastic Four (which I know isn't DC but it had the same problems I've heard about from recent DCU movies), and rightfully so. Fans deserve faithful adaptations of their favorite characters. Now personally I haven't seen any of the films I named above and I haven't read much on the Suicide Squad aside from the origins and enough about each character to get a basic gist of what I was getting myself into. So as a casual comic book reader going almost blind into this movie I can't say whether or not these characters are faithful to the source material, but I can say they work for me.
A lot of people gripe that there is little character development and what development there is is crammed into the first ten minutes. And that is a problem that, big shock, Marvel worked around. Instead of telling origin stories for each individual Avenger in the first act of the movie, they gave each character their own movie to flesh them out better and also build up hype for the big showdown. So when working with a team of characters who aren't as fleshed out some are going to be left out of the mix for the main members of the team, the leads in this case being Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Deadshot (Will Smith). But I still felt that they did a good job at giving us simple backstories for each anti-hero and then letting them grow as individuals and as a team as the movie went on. Along with Quinn and Deadshot I felt invested in Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) and Katana (Karen Fukuhara). Over the course of this story each character developed into their own entertaining character with unique quirks, except for Killer Croc and Slipknot. Yeah I will admit one of the flaws I have with this movie is that Killer Croc is just kind of there. They occasionally cut to him to show the audience that he still exists, and he helps a bit towards the end, but for the most part he's just the stereotypical big guy that every superhero team has. Also there's Slipknot, a minor villain to a minor hero called Firestorm. I had to get that off of Wikipedia because his character is literally just dropped in our laps without any explanation as to why he needed to be a part of the team. No build up, backstory, anything. We see him with the group after they are gathered together, then he leaves just as fast as he enters. That's not a spoiler by the way, that's fairly early on.
Also on the matter of Leto's Joker. Since the first preview picture showing The Joker shirtless, covered in tattoos and sporting a grill, people have been livid about this decision. My opinion from day one was that I was fine with this interpretation of the clown prince of darkness. My reasoning is that this movie isn't your typical superhero movie. None of these characters have powers when you think about it, it's based on weaponry for the most part. This movie felt like it was set in the same universe as an early Martin Scorsese or Dirty Harry movie; everything feels gritty and is set on the mean streets and focuses on a gang of criminals. The best comparison I can give is that it resembles something like The Warriors. And because of that you have to have a Joker that reflects the setting. It's something that has been done since the inception of The Joker. The Joker in the comics, television and movies is interpreted in a different way each time to reflect the setting. If we had Nicholson's Joker in The Dark Knight, or Leto's Joker in the 1966 television series, or Ledger's Joker in the animated series, it wouldn't work because it's like taking a fish out of water. Everybody always talks about Ledger's Joker being the definitive Joker, but in my opinion they are all perfect for their respective stories. Hell if you even go to the comics and look at The Joker in The Killing Joke and compare his origin story to the Burton movie, they are two totally different characters because Burton wanted a soulless monster whereas Moore wanted a sympathetic family man walking down the wrong path. So when I learned the kind of "superhero" movie we were getting out of Suicide Squad I thought The Joker represented as more of a pimp, a hustler, this kingpin of Gotham who shows his emotions in his body artwork, bright clothing and fast cars was a great idea because while it isn't THE Joker people expect from the comics or previous film interpretations he does fit perfectly in this gritty crime ridden story. And Leto's performance was spot on. He had this mentally unstable killer look and swagger down and his presence did feel like The Joker's should; like you don't know if a party or a massacre is going to go down.
And I don't want to spoil the movie because I do recommend anyone to go see this if they feel they agree with my opinion, but I liked how they kept the villain of the movie largely in the dark. It was an interesting surprise and I liked what they did with the idea. The scenes where the squad, accompanied by a group of soldiers, walk the empty streets and abandoned buildings fighting henchmen made the movie feel almost like a horror movie like the opening of Monsters or a better version of the third act to 28 Days Later.
Also as everyone has said the casting was spot on. While I know almost nothing about most of the characters from the comics, I felt that for the characters David Ayer wrote the actors had the ability to bring these distinct personalities to life and it felt like they were born to play these roles.
I disagree with Cara Delevingne, who said in an interview that the critics hated this movie because they hate superhero movies. I understand she's passionate about her hard work and the hard work of the cast and crew around her, but I can also understand why it has gotten hate, just not this much hate. In terms of 2016 superhero movies it doesn't even come close to the perfection of Deadpool, but from what I've seen of the newest Fantastic Four movie I can at least say it seems head-and-shoulders above that disaster.
Also just a side note, I am pissed about the soundtrack. I was expecting Eminem, CCR, Lesley Gore, Queen, The Rolling Stones and Norman Greenbaum, and instead half of the songs in the movie aren't on the soundtrack and are instead replaced by mostly modern Hip-Hop and sub par covers. Seriously? Why couldn't I just get the rocking 60's/70's soundtrack I was promised in the movie? In my opinion that's way better than what we actually got. But that's just my mini-rant. Go see this movie dammit!
So what did you think of Suicide Squad?