Before we begin this review it’s important that we acknowledge the massive black cloud that’s been hanging over this movie since the Suicide Squad reviews starting pouring in. Since people seem to scream “bias” or “paid off” like it’s some kneejerk reaction and justification, let me be quite clear that I am actually a massive DC fan. Far more than Marvel and especially for anything relating to the villains such as Suicide Squad. Normally this shouldn’t even matter, but it seems like some people will straight out refuse to accept that a DC property can be bad. Which, of course, brings me to director David Ayer’s Suicide Squad.
For those unaware, the Suicide Squad is a crew of famed DC villains (mainly Batman‘s) that have been assembled as a Black Ops force to go on secret missions that others cannot. This is the basic set up for the film, as the steely-eyed government official Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) assembles a task force of meta-humans to hunt down a destructive entity. Each member has a bomb planted in their necks in case they try to run and they are babysat by the overly stern Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). Don’t go into this movie expecting a lot of development from the majority of the cast as Ayers brushes over 90% of their backstories and never brings it up again.
Characters like Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) are so utterly one-dimensional that it becomes clear very early on that they are simply in this movie because the Suicide Squad needed to have more characters. This really comes to the heart of the issue, and that’s the balance between this massively bloated cast. Now don’t get me wrong; the actual actors and actresses do a fantastic job portraying their respective characters — Margot Robbie offers up an incredibly memorable Harley Quinn and Will Smith’s Deadshot is so on point that he feels as if he jumped directly from the comic book’s pages.
Speaking of Deadshot, there is a lot more time spent on him than you might expect, and, honestly, it makes me wonder what would happen if the film was more focused on him. Smith brings the charisma and coldness needed for this hitman, but the disproportionate amount of time spent on him over the others is incredibly apparent. Harley is the other character who gets an intense amount of focus and she is a welcomed presence to the movie. Robbie has clearly embodied everything about this character and her passion for this iconic villain bleeds through the screen.
Though I’m sure the one performance everyone wants to know about is Jared Leto’s portrayal of The Joker. From what time Leto gets, the man eats up every moment on screen, giving us a unique and interesting version of the Clown Prince of Crime. Acting more as a mix between a flamboyant gangster and the classic psychopathic version we all know best, his portrayal is fascinating to watch. However, you won’t be watching for long because this character appears for maybe a whole 15 minutes — I’m being generous with that time. His character literally serves no purpose to the plot itself, and when it seems like he might actually make a significant impact that concept is dashed away as fast as it arrived. The Joker is here for fan service and nothing more, which is a shame.
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Speaking of shame, the disjointed editing and soundtrack for this movie is so out of place that it borderline ruins the entire movie. Suicide Squad is a prime example of when someone tries to be trendy by throwing in as many “fun” soundtrack pieces as possible in hopes of giving a film some personality and life. Instead of letting one or two big music drops cap off a great moment, Ayers throws an insane amount of songs at the wall and hopes that a few stick. The same could be said for the editing, which comes off like the editor was just slapping the keyboard with reckless abandonment and cutting random sections out.
By the end of this film, it is incredibly obviously that a lot was left on the cutting room floor. Parts of the film’s story feel rushed, while other aspects come off as if Ayers completely abandoned the idea. Now there are nuggets of interesting ideas here, like how flame-user Diablo (Jay Hernandez) is dealing with a personal tragedy. Sadly, these small moments are not enough to carry the movie, as it just comes off like an unfocused mess that only has a few shining sections.
In terms of action, it’s handled competently with some interesting choreography and fun crowd-pleasing moments. Though there is nothing exactly special about its fight scenes, they are serviceable enough and allow everyone a fair amount of screentime. It’s a shame that during their fight scenes there’s so much CGI plastered everywhere that you might think the actors were digitally inserted into scenes. Characters like Enchantress (Cara Delevinge) look great because the CGI is only used to enhance their appearance, while those who are completely computer generated are absurdly cartoonish.
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Suicide Squad is not the worst movie DC has made, but this isn’t the smash hit they needed, either. This is a fractured film that is only saved by the talented cast and some serviceable moments to both comic and movie fans. It’s a frustrating movie due to the clear ambition and fantastic source material to pull from, but it’s a shame Ayers had no idea how to handle it all. By the end of Suicide Squad, you can almost hear DC’s movie division go on life support as another property fails to deliver anything it seemed to promise.
- Will Smith’s Deadshot
- Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn
- Some Fun Fan Service
- Jared Leto’s Joker…
- …Who Shows Up and Promptly Does Nothing
- Disjointed Soundtrack/Editing
- Weak Story
- Hit or Miss CGI
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