I saw Suicide Squad with a good friend who is a Batman fan a few weekends ago. We both entered with no expectations. Her familiarity with Batman is essentially based on the cartoon that aired in the '90s. The cartoon is exceptional as has been noted many times by people much more eloquent and with more nerd cred than I, if you are not familiar with it, it can be viewed on Amazon. One of the more notable aspects of the show is it introduced Harleen Quinzel, better known as Harley Quinn. All Harley Quinn needs to make her happy is her Puddin'....the Joker. Their tempestuous love, and Harley Quinn's backstory were excellently explored in the Mad Love comic. What drives a woman in love crazy? How can a woman so smart enter such a self-destructive relationship? Dark themes for a comic story steeped in psychological storylines.
The only other member of Suicide Squad as portrayed in the movie was Killer Croc. I have to say I heaved a sigh of relief when I discovered his cannibalism would not be explored in this movie.
I was trepidatious of Will Smith as deadshot only because I was worried that he would be playing Will Smith, not Deadshot, but his over-the-top acting lends itself well to the character.
I have not read the Suicide Squad comic books so I don't have anything to relate to, but I enjoyed the story thoroughly. I walked in with no expectations other than Harley Quinn would be amazing. The reality was I left more in love with the Joker's main squeeze and I desire to read more books featuring Diablo. This Mexican gang-banger lost literally everything he loved because of his own doing. I felt unlike the other characters in the movie who embraced their dark sides (Deadshot saying "You know the dark places, too." comes to mind) he saw his strictly as a business. When he realized this other thing lived in him, it was too late. I like Harley Quinn because I identify with her self-destructive side. As someone who once hinged everything on the wrong guy, I totally get it. The draw of the uncertainty and the desire to tame the wildness sucks one into the madness of the wrong person. It is strongly implied that Harley Quinn suffered a miscarriage or according to comic book cannon, had a child she kept hidden from the Joker that she sent to be raised by her sister. The overwhelming guilt of either of those scenarios could easily make ones feel the only way to serve penance is to remain in a relationship that constantly punishes them.
Believe it or not, but my favorite part of the movie was the much panned soundtrack. It kept the movie going at a fast pace. Even if some of the songs are over used in other movies, again it is the over-the-topness that appealed to me. This is a movie based on a comic book series about the craziest of villains in the Batverse. They aren't underdogs, they aren't antiheroes, they are villains. They are villains with their lives literally on the line. If they go against the cutthroat Amanda Waller, its off with their heads. The theme of evil versus evil is explored to great success. The movie may have undergone edits to reduce run time, but the fast pace helped keep the feel of the movie being a comic book. Out of all the current DC movies, this was my favorite. Batman vs Superman was just too long and the action was far and in between. Superman felt like they were turning Supes into Batman.
The only criticism I have is I do not like the trend of these ensemble movies that multiple characters must be in one movie. It makes the movie claustrophobic to have that many characters in one movie at one time.
All in all though, this movie gets 10 stars. Does the movie deserve the negative press? Perhaps, but I feel it is worth a watch.