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Suicide Squad and The Not-Good-Very-Bad-Despicable-Summer-Movie-Season

Written by James Leggett

Now that the summer movie season is coming to an end, we can let out a collective sigh after enduring one of the worst ones in recent memory. What started out strong with Captain America: Civil War quickly plummeted with a series of duds that made up the entire season. Either excruciatingly forgettable (The Legend of Tarzan) or downright atrocious (Independence Day: Resurgence), this summer forgot to offer movies with fun, watchable factors. You know it’s real bad when the reboot of Ghostbusters gets a pass for simply not being horrendous. Probably the one film which successfully gained momentum in its hype was Suicide Squad. Thanks to great marketing, this August release was the hope in saving a summer from the depths of mediocrity. Unfortunately, just like Batman v Superman, this took a critical beating. Currently sitting at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes (1% less than Batman v Superman) this was sent through the ringer where everyone took turns. And much like my own experience with Batman v Superman, my expectations were significantly lowered walking into the theater only to realize it’s actually not so bad.

The thing with Suicide Squad is most of the criticisms are justifiable. The narrative structure is nonsensical at best, the editing is bad, and the whole thing reeks of studio interference (though certainly not to the degree of last year’s Fant4stic). All of this said, the film has something which almost every other movie forgot this summer: entertainment. For all its flaws, this movie has a playful sense of fun. It moves fast with bursts of action and comedy throughout. It’s two hours where you’re not checking the time every ten minutes and dying for the end credits to roll. This is in large part thanks to the cast. There’s humour in this and I found myself laughing at several parts, which mostly came from Will Smith. If anything, this was a reminder that Smith is great in action comedies and should return to these types of performances. Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney are clearly enjoying themselves in their respective roles. While Jared Leto wasn’t in much, he certainly got my attention and has me hoping those deleted Joker scenes get released.

Is this going to join the ranks of The Dark KnightAvengers AssembleSpider-Man 2 as one of the greatest comic book films? Absolutely not. Could this film have been a lot better? Definitely. Will Harley Quinn be the top Halloween costume this year for girls? Probably. Perhaps it was a culmination of bad reviews, early reports that the movie was a mess, and the overall abysmal-ness of this summer, but I walked out of Suicide Squad pleased. It’s frenetic pace and gleeful tone felt very true to the Suicide Squad comics. The characters have chemistry and simply watching them interact was my biggest incentive to see the film. The movie has glaring flaws but they don’t outweigh the pros. I really hope one day we get to see the competing version of the film that was supposedly darker but most likely better.

Warner Brothers needs to stop freaking out and let their directors do their thing, especially when they don’t really understand these characters anyways. But for all this I don’t think the hyperbolic negativity is completely warranted. This movie is neither the death of cinema nor the best of comic book movies. But it is a summer movie that realizes it’s a summer movie. It’s not trying to be anything grand or revolutionary. It’s not quite as concerned with world-building as other superhero flicks and it’s all the better for it. It’s a small step in the right direction for the DCEU but it’s a step nonetheless. While other movies this summer made me feel like I threw my time and money into the garbage, this was a good evening out. Which is all that should be expected for a blockbuster even though some can’t even accomplish that.

What did you think of Suicide Squad? What was your favorite movie of the summer? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

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James Leggett

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