Connor Harlan and Ian Shank

HHS Journalism thrives on its diverse staff with very diverse interests. What happens occasionally is that our staff deviates in interests. With the recent release of the brand new DCU film, “Suicide Squad,” the polarizing opinions have spread beyond just the dark recesses of film criticism right into our own backyards; specifically those of Journalism staff members Ian Shank and Connor Harlan. We cordially invite you to our first installment of POINT/COUNTERPOINT.


If I saw “Suicide Squad” in any other context outside of “multi-million dollar feature length film,” I would be certain that it was a parody. This cannot be an actual film. I’m not an adherent to the Marvel Universe, but I am thoroughly convinced that the higher-ups at Warner Bros. are asleep at the wheel. Believe me when I say this film is a downright cinematic miscarriage. I can’t say I was completely surprised, because I do fall into the camp of people that also simply didn’t enjoy “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” but that film simply didn’t have a lot going for it. “Suicide Squad” had EVERYTHING going for it. It had a decent director, a creative concept, and a group of actors that weren’t half bad. But no. Absolutely not. The first and most absolutely glaring issue comes in the stylistic choices. The most absurd choice is the ridiculous darkness. Not tonal darkness (which also came off as immature and edgy), but the literal darkness of the scenes. I am under the impression that every single scene was shot with an opacity filter, giving the whole movie a grey and uninteresting look that says “buddy war drama” way more than it says “enjoyable superhero movie.” The acting on the other hand, is in a completely different boat. In order, we have Will Smith as . . . uh, Will Smith, Margot Robbie as (bad) punchline machine, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, and Jared Leto as the only redeeming quality in this film. Not that Jared Leto is particularly good; he’s really quite the opposite, but his performance is so bloody awful that I can’t help but enjoy myself every time he comes onscreen. His Joker is a cross between every T-shirt at Hot Topic mixed with that homeless guy down the road that you’re pretty sure is on PCP. And while this is not an integral part of the film, the soundtrack is downright unforgivable. It’s completely out of place, tasteless, and trying to be mature. In short, “Suicide Squad” is the stuff of nightmares. It’s what happens when complete artistic freedom leads to an uninteresting, tired, boring, and downright abysmal cinematic experience. (Connor Harlan)

“Suicide Squad” is essentially about a bunch of super villains that are sent to take down an even worse villain. Let me just begin with how great the characters were. Margot Robbie and Will Smith nailed their performances. I’m originally wasn’t a huge fan of Harley Quinn, and I thought she was one of the best parts of the movie. She was funny when comedic relief was needed and fought like a maniac when the action began. Will Smith as Deadshot was a perfect choice. I totally bought his portrayal as a person who was an expert marksman and a loving father. Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang was way better than I was expecting it to be, which isn’t saying much considering he hasn’t been in anything good. The Joker was alright. He’s not as menacing as Heath Ledger’s Joker but not as bad as Jack Nicholson’s Joker. Movie critic Jeremy Jahns described Jared Leto’s Joker as almost like Scarface, and that’s the best way to describe the Joker in “Suicide Squad.” Amanda Waller, who was played by Viola Davis, was exactly like she is in the comics. She’s a bossy lady that doesn’t take no for an answer. Also, the action was really fun and energetic. It was really cool to see all the different characters fight, since Harley Quinn uses a bat, Deadshot uses machine guns, El Diablo uses fire, and Killer Croc uses his razor sharp teeth.  It was really cool to see Harley Quinn take on a bunch of bad guys in an elevator using only her bat. The soundtrack was incredible. I never thought I would see Rick Ross, Logic, Twenty One Pilots, and Panic! At the Disco all in one album. I normally hate Skrillex, but, his collaboration with Rick Ross on the song “Purple Lamborghini” was spectacular with all the “Suicide Squad” references, stellar beats, and over-the-top lyrics.  “Sucker for Pain” was definitely the standout hit from the album. It was interesting to hear a rapper doing his thing and then being interrupted by Imagine Dragons. Logic and Ty Dolla $ign were the best parts of the song, but Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa weren’t all that bad. I really enjoyed looking at all the set pieces. Belle Reeve Penitentiary was exactly like it was in the comics; the dark alleys and destroyed building were also dark and creepy which amped up the intensity. Ben Affleck’s brief appearance as Batman was spectacular. He was the same dark and gritty Batman we saw in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Other than some issues with pacing, there really wasn’t anything wrong with the movie.  All in all, “Suicide Squad” was a great cinematic experience, I had a lot of fun, and it is definitely worth seeing. (Ian Shank)