I should start this by stating that I was worried about Suicide Squad. I was worried that there would be too many egos on the set (Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie) and rather than character animosity, we might have actor animosity. This is currently going on with the behind the scenes stuff coming out of Fast and Furious 8, the Fast Awakens, with Vin Diesel and Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson clashing. I was also concerned because DC has this weird and really annoying habit of trying to make every single movie they do with the Batman Grimdark Instagram filter. Finally, I read that Suicide Squad was almost completely filmed when Deadpool smashed into the superhero scene, making obscene amounts of money with a Rated R violent comedy. They went back and started filming again. Great, the movie won't know what it is trying to be.
Thankfully, these fears have been allayed.
1. The Joker
Jared Leto's Joker is a creation of his own. He isn't aping Ledger's PTSD heroin laced Joker, but his own demented super violent out of control pillhead Peewee Herman monstrosity. One of the complaints I have heard is that there wasn't enough Joker. I would disagree with this, there was just enough Joker to make you want more, and it could very easily segue into a stand alone Joker and Harley movie. I would pay more money to go see that.
For clarification, Joker is NOT part of the Suicide Squad, and most of his time in the movie is as a force running behind the scene and when he appears on the scream it is not without impact, be it an explosion, or a personal aura that would be very naturally at ease in Fight Club, brutally beating the hell out of someone and then going for a grape soda.
2. Harley Quinn
Harley has been a favorite of mine since her appearance in Batman the Animated Series. I was mainly concerned because this would be the first big screen representation of her, and Margot Robbie does a fantastic job. She is insane, and there is a line where she is told she's pretty on the outside but when she opens her mouth it's a knife fight, she's ugly on the inside. She wades into a firefight with a baseball bat, steals a purse on a rescue mission, and all the rest you would expect of an over the top high functioning acrobatic lunatic.
It doesn't hurt that I joined the Margot Robbie fan club after watching The Wolf of Wall Street.
3. Dead Shot
It isn't really surprising that Will Smith and Dead Shot are the best character in the Suicide Squad. His portrayal of an amoral hitman and loving father is nuanced and he delivers. Likewise, he delivers consistent great lines, and when he demonstrates his namesake stopping an avocado head zerg rush from the top of a car (gunning down dozens of baddies with perfect head shots) he is untouchable.
What I want now is a Deadshot movie. It would be a reverse angle of the Batman movies, where he is doing his job, killing snitches and carrying out contracts (elements of Jean Reno's The Professional) and trying to care for his daughter despite her alcoholic/whore (never really given enough detail on that) mother, while the entire time facing off against the Caped Crusader. Batman becomes a force of inevitability and Deadshot is trying to keep his head above water, until ultimately, Batman takes him down.
4. Amanda Waller
If you haven't seen the movie, or read the comics, you have no idea who Amanda Waller is. Viola Davis delivers a a great white shark performance, doing absolutely horrible and unforgivable things, without showing emotion. Is she tortured by the fact that it is her job to deploy the Suicide Squad, putting bombs in their necks? It obviously didn't bother her to gun down her own tech staff because they had exceeded their security clearance? There seems to be no remorse that the entire plot of the movie is entirely her fault, attempting to leash a mesoamerican alien god as part of a goverment task force, and then activating the same unit to rescue her when Enchantress goes Broken Fucking Arrow on everyone.
Amanda Waller/Viola Davis gets a bullet point here because in many ways, she is the worst member of the Squad, being it's leader, and taking no responsibility for the horrible things they have done and will do. She is remorseless and an absolute monster. I think Waller is possibly a bigger villain than the Joker because everyone knows he is a bad guy, everyone assumes she is a good guy.
5. Multi-racial cast
One of the modern complaints about Hollywood is the whitewashing of movies (everyone is a white guy) and Suicide Squad does a fantastic job of turning this on it's head.
1 Latino (El Diablo)
2 Black men (Deadshot, Killer Croc)
1 Asian woman (Katana)
1 Native American (Slipknot)
2 White men (Flagg/American, Boomerang/Australian)
2 White women (Harley, Enchantress)
1 Black woman (Waller)
None of it is forced diversity (cough cough Michael B Jordan in F4nt4stic Four)
6. Strong Female Characters
The boss pulling the strings of the Suicide Squad is Amanda Waller, a no shit taking, dead eyed shark, black woman, who ain't got remorse for pushing a button and popping your head off like the cork on a $3 bottle of wine. She won't feel bad about. She won't lose any sleep.
For all that the victims want to claim Harley for their own, she is a powerful character, and while a large part of her motivation is based around getting back to/being rescued by the Joker, when that seemingly goes up in flames, she comes back ready to fight. At the end, it isn't Flagg that brings Enchantress down (he does 'kill' her at the end, possibly) but it's Harley taking up a sword and hacking her heart out after she promises to bring her Puddin back. That's badass.
7. Batfleck and the Justice League
I haven't seen Batman vs Superman, and now I am going to have to rent it or something. Having seen Ben Affleck's too old for shit Batman in a few scenes, I am now interested.