By Heidi Gaustad (Benton, AR, United States)


First and foremost I CAN say that I do NOT agree with most critics’ reviews. For one, I think that the way this movie was done was actually near perfect. Comic books always kind of jump around. That’s how they read. And this movie was laid out like a read comic. Ok, even better? Instead of a Marvel movie where you get introduced to the main characters (few at a time ex Hulk wait years then Iron Man etc.) they decided to throw a bunch of characters that those of us who know the comics would already recognize, and give just enough back story to keep us watching eager for more and to hopefully hook newbies into watching and wanting more. I actually liked this tactic and never did I even remotely think Croc/Drax from Marvel. Drax the Destroyer never once even crossed my mind because I was actually into the one I was being introduced to from THIS world. Maybe it’s because I went in wiped completely clean of any preconceived Marvel notions, maybe it’s because I know there is a very distinct difference between the two worlds, so maybe I was a little more unbiased than those critics, and although I was thrilled with the short snippets of a whole group at once that made me hungry to see more.

Give me a movie with each of them now!! I want to know more about El Diablo, Deadshot, Slipknot even, and Katana…all I got was a tease and now I just want more. So, to me? That was all actually a very smart move going in reverse from Marvel’s way of doing things. Now, that being said I can go into my take on character performances. Thought they were perfect. Harley Quinn embodied the classic textbook bipolar rapid cycle with schizophrenia tendencies with some obvious daddy issues and a tad of Stockholm syndrome. She nailed it. Spot on (I work on a psych unit trust me, she nailed it). Deadshot? Just enough to make me want to see more!! Which was the same as the rest with the exception of Enchantress. I feel that Enchantress served her purpose in being a quick villain to bring the group out to us as a whole.

Now we know who the Suicide Squad is. We now know what they do and are capable of. Brief relations with Waller? Enough information to set the table with. Throw in the Joker. And wow…did they. I am a diehard fan of The Dark Knight trilogy and honestly? I didn’t think Leto could ever fill Heath Ledger’s portrayal’ shoes. That casting choice ALMOST made me not even want to give it a go. BUT…there was a gaping hole left by that amazing actor who died too soon. I wanted more of the story but I didn’t want to see them take a replacement and try to pull a switch they thought no-one would notice (remember the Evie switch in The Mummy movies? Yeah…that was what made the third a flop for me. Like I wouldn’t notice an Egyptian looking main cast member swapped out for a completely British sound and looking actress. I am not an idiot. Killed the whole trilogy to me).

I didn’t want the whole look at the pretty flowers while I get a tetanus shot snuck in bit. I wanted something to make it make sense to me. I know that in no way will I see the Joker I love as a character again because I know that actor is unfortunately not with us anymore but give something that I can work through in my mind. And they did. In a roundabout way, they succeeded in this. Ok. So, I know that the Joker wound up at Arkham. (Exit Heath Ledger’s Joker). Now prison and psych wards can really change somebody quite a bit. Add the fact that while incarcerated, I’m sure that Joker had ample time to build a mafia empire from behind bars (why not go from supreme anarchist to a mob boss?? Behind bars, still has connections, still has respect among the underbelly districts, why not utilize it and broaden one’s own horizons?? I would have). That can explain the difference in style of operations and style.

The basic attitude and demeanor was left intact. Although seemingly more jaded (for an already jaded criminal) almost as if that during time served his already loose marbles have now added scrambled eggs. Which is what I would expect would happen to someone like that stuck in a place like Arkham. But that young face? How do I justify an obviously much younger looking face compared to the one very lived in face of the previous Joker?? Well…I think of the very real gangster Dillinger. He went through plastic surgery to change his appearance to evade capture. And I know from reading the books that Dr. Quinzell helped the Joker escape before having her license revoked. It stands to my reasoning that he used the same tactic. And that metal grill?? Well, the Bat is a known punches, stands to reason he’d get his teeth knocked out (BAM! KAPOW!)Then also decided to beef up on some very prison like tattoos while he was locked up. Also typical of prison life. And the fact we only got a brief glimpse of under fifteen minutes of Joker screen time? It worked for me. It was just enough to fill in the gaps and do some explaining while leaving the door open for spin offs that I would want more of, and Leto’s performance was shockingly brilliant in its own right as it made the changes and differences MAKE SENSE.

My ONLY complaints of this movie are actually off beat ones. I still can NOT explain the Batman kiss and punch of Harley. Unless there is more to explain that interaction in a later movie (please hear me Mr. Affleck in your solo Batman endeavor)…”Luuuuuucy, you have some ‘splainin to do!!!” Nope…I don’t understand what just happened there. WHAT DID I JUST WATCH? And the baby clothes and computers in the Joker’s mad circle of crazy in his home. Again, unless that is explained in a later movie, I am highly confused because there are a couple of different options that it could mean going by the books and unless they decide to explain this later…it leaves a gap. I hate gaps. Again, though, I appreciate the different spin from how Marvel does theirs, it was a nice break that gave me something I can look forward to knowing more about in what seems to be a much faster pace than Marvel and I thank them for it.

Unless of course, the critics get the whole thing canned without looking at things like a diehard comic book nerd, kind of like they did with The Amazing Spiderman. Yep. I said it. I think they prematurely canned that one, as I can personally vouch that I will NOT be giving any more Spidey even a remote chance because I am SICK of reboots. You can only justify so much change and make it make sense to keep caring about it. Yes, I realize while my own opinion is just one, it’s still a ticket buying one, Suicide Squad is one movie I will be spending more dollars on. Look forward to watching it again next week, and next go? I’m going in a group.



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