DC and Warner Brothers have been trying to get their DCEU brainchild off the ground for quite some time, but after two unsuccessful films centered around a mopey and just unimpressive Superman, I’ve had my doubts that they could actually achieve the same level of success that Marvel has secured with their cinematic universe. However, despite my feelings about Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman, I decided to give DC another chance to prove that they have what it takes to create a vast and interesting film world. DC piqued my interest when they announced Suicide Squad, the third film in the DCEU, and I must admit that every piece of promotional material for the movie got me excited. The trailers, the posters, the odd mixture of tattoo and comic book art fonts, Suicide Squad seemed like a film that would wow me just as much as Guardians of the Galaxy did in the summer of 2014.
Unfortunately, I was wrong.
I didn’t hate Suicide Squad, in fact, I liked it very much despite its flaws. But that’s just it, it had several flaws, and these flaws weren’t so easy to ignore. Suicide Squad stars some of DC’s baddest and most notorious supervillains, from Deadshot, to Harley Quinn, to Slipknot (for all of 5 minutes), joined together against their will by the deceptive Amanda Waller in order to save the world. I wouldn’t say it’s unfair to compare this movie to Guardians of the Galaxy, because like Guardians, Suicide Squad is an ensemble film about a gang of “less-than-heroes” who team up to go on a world-saving, high-stakes, 80’s music ensemble extravaganza! Unfortunately, I didn’t walk out of the theater after Suicide Squad feeling the same feeling I did after I watched Guardians.
This was mainly due to the many, many errors the film had. A convoluted and messy plot was just the tip of the iceberg for Suicide Squad, which also suffered from shoddy editing, little character motivation, and a soundtrack full of hit songs that existed for the sole purpose of making the film money.
So why is it that I liked the film, despite all of the issues I had with it? Well, what really sold the film for me was its characters. I was extremely unimpressed with Jared Leto’s take on The Joker, but I surprisingly found myself loving the characters of Deadshot and Harley Quinn, portrayed by Will Smith and Margot Robbie respectively. But the character that truly had me invested in the film was one that wasn’t even technically a part of the Suicide Squad- Amanda Waller.
Viola Davis stars as Waller, the sneaky and manipulative government agent who brings Task Force X, or the Suicide Squad, together in the first place. In the comics, this character is a two-faced, corruptible and sometimes downright sinister government official who will step on any toes to get what she wants. However, she’s also a strong, independent, and at times, a caring woman who you absolutely want to have as your ally when stuff hits the fan.
Davis does an outstanding job of portraying Waller, never missing a single beat. Her lines were incredible, her presence was both intimidating and welcome, she was simply a great character. Amanda Waller is a character who would shake your hand one day and shoot you on the next. Viola Davis understood that. This was apparent in many of her incredible scenes, which ranged from her rewarding a group of villains for saving the world, to her shooting a bunch of young interns and federal agents because they weren’t cleared for any of the information they knew. In every scene you could tell, this isn’t a woman you want to mess with.
Despite being stuck with an average script, and being placed in a “style over substance” kind of film, Viola Davis takes her role as Waller very seriously, making sure that she stays true to the character to deliver an amazing performance. Dare I say it, Davis’ performance was multi-award winning in Suicide Squad! She played every side of Waller perfectly, it was like watching the character jump out of the pages of the comics and on to the screen. I may have been disappointed by the miscasting of Jared Leto as Joker, but I found myself willing to ignore that, and many of the other faults the movie had, when Waller was present.
All in all, I wasn’t too happy with Suicide Squad. But performances like Viola Davis’ thankfully saved the film for me. If DC is looking for a bad-ass character to jump across their films like Nick Fury did in the early days of the MCU, then stop looking at Ben Affleck, and start negotiating with Viola Davis!