Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay is an American animated action superhero film produced by Warner Bros. Animation and distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The film is directed by Sam Liu and was written by Alan Burnett. It is the 31st film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series and is part of the DC Animated Movie Universe. The voice cast includes Christian Slater, Billy Brown, Liam McIntyre, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Gideon Emery, Tara Strong, and Vanessa Williams.
The Story/The Direction:
Following Ocean Master's defeat after the events of Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, Amanda Waller (Williams) dispatches the Task Force X to recover a flash drive but someone betrays the team but Waller overhears everything and then detonates the betrayer's head bomb. Afterward, she discovers that she has a terminal illness and so she reassembles Task Force X with a new roster: Deadshot, Harley Quinn (Strong), Captain Boomerang (McIntyre), Killer Frost (Bauer van Straten), Copperhead (Emery), and Bronze Tiger (Brown). She then sends them to retrieve a mystical black card that is a "get out of hell" ticket.
What works very well with this film is it's dark witty humor. Burnett's script has a lot cool and funny one-liners that keep this film fairly light especially with how violent it is. It also keeps the film fairly grounded in regard to its mystical themes. The film comments on the ideas of redemption not only to oneself but also in the afterlife. All of the characters in this film have done some shady stuff but what happens when they are killed or they die normally? This exploration of these themes makes it a fairly intellectually engaging comic book film. This film also does a good job of tying in other DC animated movies in a way that if revealed would be a spoiler.
The two characters that are most delved into are Deadshot and Bronze Tiger. One can understand their story and can feel for them even if they are terrible criminals. Each member of the squad hold their own beliefs on why they want the card but the former two are the most explored. Slater and Brown both do well as their respective characters that give them more gravitas than the others. The rest of the cast are also serviceable but lack development.
One of the flaws with this film is that it does not know what to do with Harley. She is mostly in this film for comic relief, sex appeal, and because she is a fan favorite. The film does mention some of her backstory that only fans of her would know but that's it. The film also does not do anything to convince how an insane person with a bat would help a team trying to get a supernatural card. Furthermore, the rest of the squad are given minimal to no backstory. The film also has no explanation for the violence aside from it's R-rating. This, unfortunately, takes away from the film's exploration of faith and redemption.
This film is a lot of fun and if one is a DC fan, they can find plenty of enjoyment in this film. It has a dark and witty humor that also attempts to explore faith and redemption. The violence and lack of development of some characters do add some annoyance to the film but it's not a huge deal. It is definitely better than the live-action version and is similar to the other animated outing by the squad: Batman: Assault on Arkham. All and all this decent comic film is worth checking out.
Rating: 3.5/5.0 bowties
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