***There are spoilers for Batman v. Superman ahead***

So I’m pretty sure DC has my birthday circled on their corporate calendar because for the past couple years a DC movie has come out on or near my birthday. Last year, Assault on Arkham came out the day of. This year, Suicide Squad came out the week before, so my boyfriend and I saw it when he came to visit me for my birthday weekend. I went into it with mixed feelings. I had read the critic reviews beforehand and, as you guys may know, they weren’t good. Many of my friends who saw it liked it, however, so I was trying to remain optimistic. As long as it was better than Batman v. Superman, it would be a win in my book.

Rejoice, for it was a definite win.

Louisiana’s Belle Reve Prison contains some of the world’s most dangerous criminals. There’s Floyd Lawton, AKA Deadshot, an assassin for hire and the deadliest marksman in the world. Dr. Harleen Quinzel, or Harley Quinn, who fell in love with the Joker while attempting to rehabilitate him, and dove into his mad world. Waylon Jones, better known as Killer Croc, a cannibal with terrifying reptilian features who lives in the sewers. Captain Boomerang, the alias of Digger Harkness, an opportunistic thief, deadly with boomerangs. Ex-gangster Chato Santana, AKA El Diablo, who for some reason is reluctant to use his awesome and terrifying fire power. And finally, Christopher Weiss, Slipknot, a mercenary specializing in rope work.

Amanda Waller wants to create a team of these villains, as well as Enchantress, an ancient sorceress inhabiting archeologist June Moone’s body, to fight supernatural and metahuman threats since the death of Superman.

The government thinks, of course, that she’s crazy. But once Enchantress escapes, frees her brother, and starts weaving a spell to destroy humanity for imprisoning them in bottles for thousands of years, no one is laughing at Waller any more. She sends out the Suicide Squad under the guise of shutting down a terrorist attack. They are implanted with microchips in their neck, which will detonate and decapitate them upon escape attempts or disobedience, ensuring their cooperation. Also promised are ten years off their prison sentences should the mission succeed. The squad, joined by Rick Flagg and his bodyguard, Katana, hits ground zero, and what follows is a wild ride full of action, hilarity, and the suspense of wondering if the squad will succeed and save the day or revert to their wicked ways mid-mission.

Some of the things the critics had problems with turned out to be valid. Jared Leto’s Joker, for example, so hyped up in the trailers to make him seem like a central feature, only had about 20 minutes of screen time. Comparatively, you could have called it “Deadshot: The Movie” for how much Will Smith’s character stole the show. I like Will Smith, but I would have liked to see a little less of him here. Also, Slipknot was so obviously used for a singular purpose that he’s barely worth mentioning.

The biggest thing I agree with the critics about is the casting. There was not one person who was miscast in this movie. Will Smith did great, as per us, even if I wished he was less prevalent. Margot Robbie absolutely KILLED it as Harley Quinn. The chemistry between her and Leto’s Joker was perfect, and the little vignettes of their relationship sprinkled throughout the film turned out to be some of my favorite parts. Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress turned out to be my favorite new character and I’m really interested to learn more about her. Viola Davis was the perfect Amanda Waller, the perfect antithesis to the squad, making you wonder who is really more evil.

However, I do not at all agree with many of the critics saying that this movie was predictable. I was not expecting a lot of things to happen, least of all Enchantress to be the main villain. If anything, I expected Joker to be, probably only because he was so hyped up in the trailers you couldn’t really assume anything else. One review read that it tried and failed to be like a combination of Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy. I think it succeeded. It was both an anti-hero and team-up movie, it was both hilarious and at times way more heartbreaking than it needed to be (like I was in literal tears not 10 minutes in), and, most importantly, it was a step in the right direction for DC. After the extremely negative reception of BvS, DC really needed to step up their game. They needed to take a different tone, and this movie definitely delivers that.

In short, Suicide Squad is brilliantly cast, full of action and humor, will give you feels way disproportionate to how funny it is, has an amazing soundtrack, but in short: it’s fun. Could it have been better? Sure, anything can be better. But it is nowhere near the train wreck the critics would have you believe it is. If you’re finding yourself disenfranchised with the DC cinematic universe, please go see this movie and let it renew your hope. If you’re just looking for a fun summer movie, please also go see this movie! =D

– Kathleen