The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Suicide Squad: The hype train has crashed


Suicide Squad was primed for major success. It was supposed to be the great return of the Clown Prince of Crime on the big screen, the highly anticipated debut of multiple DC universe villains, and the bounce back from the abysmal reviews of Batman vs. Superman. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Jared Leto’s Joker was spectacular. Coming into the role, he had to live up to Heath Ledger’s Academy Award winning performance as the Jester of Genocide in The Dark Knight. Months before the film’s release, Leto’s incarnation of the Joker was highly condemned. His heavily tattooed body, grills, and mafia boss like look were seen as unorthodox, and dedicated fans soon lost hope for the Joker’s restoration: including me. However, when the movie came out, the Joker’s limited appearances actually left viewers unfulfilled. Leto’s performance was the spectacle, as his different portrayal of the Joker as a spontaneous, love-crazed and highly feared figure won the interest of the audience. However in a 2 hour and 3 minute movie, the Joker may not have even appeared for 20 minutes. The hype that was built for the Joker was unprecedented and the movie missed out on a chance of building on a character with limitless potential.

Along with the Joker, the debut of multiple characters on the big screen was another major opportunity for the DC Extended Universe to make a splash. These characters were open for new and fresh interpretations, yet, the movie heavily focused on two of the six members: Harley Quinn and Deadshot. Deadshot and Harley Quinn’s stories were told with perfection and the adaptations by Will Smith and Margot Robbie respectively, were on point. However, the other members of the Suicide Squad were put together messily and as a result, the movie seemed unorganized. Supporting characters such as Killer Croc, Boomerang, and El Diablos seemed insignificant and Katana was thrown into the mix with no explanation. Suicide Squad might as well have been named Deadshot and Harley.

Suicide Squad was supposed to redeem Batman vs. Superman for its failures. However, both movies were rated 26% and 27% respectively by Rotten Tomato. The plot escalated way too quickly (15 minutes into the movie) and the motive for the antagonist is way too common and has a lack of depth (conquer the world). The idea of putting the Suicide Squad onto a movie screen is understandably compelling. However, with a lack direction and backstory for the characters, Suicide Squad was always going to be extremely hard to pull off effectively. The main reason that Marvel and the Avengers were successful was because of the buildup and character development for 8 plus years. Hopefully, DC and Warner Bros can create something special with Wonder Woman and Justice League next year.

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