8th AUGUST, 2016

SUICIDE SQUAD spoiler free Review:
By Olawale "Wale" Awelenje

Myself, roughly two and a half decades ago, would be both amazed and perplexed by the world we are in today.

Comic book movies today

The fact that, things I could only dream of back then- faithful realizations of the comics that so often had the power to take me places I never knew existed within my mind and imagination- brought to life on the big screen and enjoyed by everyone, including those that had nothing but disinterest for the very same books?.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Captain America: Civil War: who's side are you on?

I’ll have to say that fact would be pretty amazing. But what my younger self would find perplexing in addition to that, (confusing, even) is the bizarre conflict that seems to have come along for the ride.

I mean- it’s insane enough that we have millions of people worldwide talking about the Suicide Squad….the *Suicide Squad*....a book so obscure at the time that I found a copy of it lying discarded in my aunt’s long-abandoned bedroom, a rare treasure that seemed printed and coloured for me and me alone- that even my fellow Lagos-based comic nerds had absolutely no idea what it was...that serving this fact up alongside the bizarre circus that is the current three way battle between critics, DC fans and Marvel fans, would have detonated my developing mind, blowing it to a cloud of little pieces.

Suicide Squad: The movie

It seems a little surreal that a title which I hold so close to my heart so randomly ended up at the epicenter of this outlandish confrontation. I would have simply been grateful to see the likes of Flagg, Deadshot, captain boomerang, Nightshade and Plastique rendered in glorious digital 3D, but for some reason this little-known team of villains has ended up at the center of a brand new question-

Are critics useful at all when it comes to superhero movies?

It’s a tough question to answer, and one that I won’t be able to fully address right now. I may give it a shot once I’m done with the next issue of but for now, what you might want to hear is my verdict on Suicide Squad, and whether or not you should watch it.

If you haven’t watched it yet, I have two questions for you- are you a fan of comics, and have you been following the DC Cinematic Universe so far (This means the movies Man Of Steel, and Batman v Superman). If you answered yes to both, then go and watch it straight away, but be prepared to be very very forgiving. If you can forgive...and forgive….and forgive...then you will be pleasantly surprised, and entertained. Unfortunately if you answered no to either of those questions, the answer is a bit more complicated.

You see, Suicide Squad has taken a severe critical beating. It’s score on Rotten Tomatoes is dismal. It has been blamed for terrorism, world hunger, the plummeting value of the Naira, fuel scarcity, and the next global recession. Critics have described it as the worst thing you could possibly imagine….and worse. If you took most reviewers’ word for it, watching Suicide Squad could be one of the worst decisions you could ever make in your life….

Yet, as a comic book fan, and someone who is keenly interested in the DC Cinematic Universe, and grateful for big screen realisations of the rich world of comics, I found myself enjoying the film despite all the negativity. I realised that there was something extra at play- something I had brought to the table, that this movie seemingly depended on in order to stay alive.And that it was , quite simply, personal investment.

I am invested in Batman. In Superman. In DC comics. And in the shared world that this movie weaves itself so deftly into- so it spoke to me on several levels. As each scene appeared on the screen,one pleasant callback to the wonderful world of make-believe that I’ve shared with DC
fans all over the world after another popped into my mind like a long cherished memory. Margot Robbie slipping into a mild jewish accent from time to time, the intro of Jared Leto’s joker with its subdued callbacks to Mark Hamill’s excellent voice acting from the Batman Animated series, visual easter eggs and cameo appearances by the likes of Batman and the Flash, Deadshot’s iconic mask, and the cold, cold evil of Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller.

It’s hard to write the movie off as “a worthless piece of crap” when it does so much for you.

But then, you find yourself having to ignore a number of things that are silly at best, and downright idiotic at worst. Such as the mind boggling level of out-of-character incompetence Waller displays at certain points in the movie (her handling of a character that can teleport is central to the plot, and a major head scratcher) and a number of just-don’t-think-too-hard plot points (Why send the suicide squad against a major demonic threat when their powers involve throwing boomerangs and shooting bullets accurately? How the does Waller just so happen to have a magic explosive that can kill spiritual entities from Hell with no explanation whatsoever? Why does Harley Quinn’s high-tech field requisition kit consist of a baseball bat and multicoloured hotpants?!), and at a point you begin to ask yourself

How many of these would I have been inclined to forgive if I didn’t want to love this movie so badly?

Probably not many.

I think the question- “Should I see Suicide Squad” therefore has an answer that casts a slightly wider net than its simple resolution. I think the fact that the answer itself depends on you, the viewer, and how much you want it to succeed, answers more than just that question- it also brings to mind the fact that a superhero movie is, in fact, much more than just another popcorn-fuelled summer distraction.

Score: (If you’ve been paying attention, you know why there isn’t one!)

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