it might have spawned a million margot robbie-based harley quinn costumes and been a huge financial success, but the live action suicide squad was not a good film. with a poor storyline and incredibly weak villain, the movie failed to enchant critics and left many hardcore fans cold. even though it earned $746.8 million at the box office, that doesn’t automatically make it a great addition to the dc extended universe. sure, some of the visual effects and costumes might have been impressive -- it even won best make up at the oscars -- but the narrative was a disjointed mess.
luckily, thanks to the dc animated universe, we’ve finally been given the suicide squad movie that we deserve. and thankfully, it doesn’t include an awful romantic subplot between rick flagg and june moone.
the animated film follows task force x as they’re assigned a personal, off the books mission by amanda waller to obtain a mysterious artifact that could provide the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card. although it’s a simple plot device, it works thanks to all the villains that appear throughout the film. the team is made up of deadshot, harley quinn, captain boomerang, copperhead, bronze tiger and killer frost. and the plot device is a basic excuse to have them interact with iconic characters like the reverse flash, professor pyg and vandal savage. as such, it boasts some truly incredible villains that don’t feel forced into the story.
but the real stand-out of the film is deadshot a.k.a. floyd lawton, voiced by none other than christian slater. the actor brings a quiet rage to the assassin without sucking energy from the other characters. and whilst the dceu’s suicide squad was very much the will smith show, christian slater’s iteration doesn’t make everything about him. nor does he drag the squad along with his own agenda. he’s mainly mission focused, aside from a slight detour in which he goes looking for his daughter since he’s nearby anyway. remember how the daughter sub-plot and origin was thrown in for dramatic effect to make a vague pass at making the audience care about will smith’s deadshot? it was a messy way of finding an arc for him amongst a film full of other half-attempted character arcs.
the animated film makes no attempt at finding redemption for him. floyd lawton knows exactly what he is: a bad guy. he’s killed people, and isn’t trying to make amends for it. if he gets out from underneath waller’s thumb, he’ll continue to be a killer -- he’ll just be able to see his daughter more often. plus, we don’t see his daughter used as bait or a threatened by the main villain of the film like she was in the dceu. plus, although hell to pay offers a rough direction of what happens to lawton and his daughters relationship, it doesn’t give us a concrete resolution. and honestly, that’s for the best. some things are better left unsaid.