Suicide Squad – Movie Review (no spoilers)

Directed by David Ayer

Characters:
Harley Quinn/Harleen Quinzel (Margot Robbie)
Deadshot/Floyd Laughton (Will Smith)
Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman)
Amanda Waller (Viola Davis)
Enchantress (Cara Delevingne)
El Diablo (Jay Hernandez)
Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney)
Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje)
Katana (Karen Fukuhura)
The Joker (Jared Leto)
Batman/Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck)

Warner Brothers are back with their second DC film this year, and the third in the DC Cinematic Universe. Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer, is a story of a group of supervillains coming together to stop a threatening force. That’s pretty vague, but it is what it is.

I’ll start with what I liked about this movie. More often than not, it captured the spirit of the characters involved, and everyone had good chemistry. Margot Robbie was greatly cast as Harley Quinn, whose character remains to be herself even in the most serious of situations. Will Smith as Deadshot had me sceptical before watching the film because I feared he’d play Will Smith more than he did Deadshot. After watching the movie, I liked his performance overall and he did have some great characters moments, but there were times when I felt like he was playing the generic Will Smith character more than he was Deadshot.
Jared Leto as The Joker didn’t click with me at the beginning, but as the movie progressed, he grew on me. He became more like the Joker I know and love, and I’m happy he didn’t just do the same thing Heath Ledger or Jack Nicholson did. This universe’s Joker really has his own traits that set him apart from the rest; and while I do understand some people wouldn’t be happy with that, I see The Joker as a versatile character who’s had so many iterations, you can be flexible with him as long as you capture his core mentality and characteristics, which is what Leto did. I’m not going to compare this version of the Joker to any previous ones yet, because he’s barely in the movie, but I hope we see more of him in this universe. He’s certainly my favourite thing about this movie.
The Batman cameos were well done in this movie, although, there was a really strange moment involving Harley Quinn and him that made absolutely no sense and is something that made me both cringe and stare at the screen in disbelief at the same time.
There’s also another cameo in this movie that was a welcome addition.

Now let’s turn the coin. This movie was all over the place.

The movie’s first major scene involves Amanda Waller explaining her idea for Task Force X at a dinner, which we see in the trailers. Immediately, I understood something that would be evident for the rest of the movie. It was lazy. It was really lazy. Everything in the whole movie is exposition, and the way Waller introduces the characters at the start includes their actual biographies popping up on the screen. It put me off right from the start, because only a handful of characters actually get some depth, and even so, it’s all pretty much directly told to the audience. Characters like Killer Croc and Captain Boomerang get no depth whatsoever, the latter of which I enjoyed despite him being generically Australian, and the former of which was just not Killer Croc. I don’t know what he was, but he wasn’t Killer Croc.
Furthermore, the laziness of this film is showcased with the introductions to Katana and Slipknot (who I haven’t even billed because the character is pointless in this film). Katana, the last major character to be introduced, just showed up, with no explanation of her reason for being there and how she was working with Amanda Waller’s organisation. Even worse is Slipknot. After the whole team has been assembled and they’re about to leave to the city where all the bad stuff is happening, a car pulls up and Rick Flag just says “Oh, and this is Slipknot”, as if he’s nothing but a throwaway (which he is). I would have appreciated a little bit more effort in the script. Even the dialogue seemed like it was just pandering to modern audiences, with jokes that tried too hard to work and didn’t click at all.

Suicide Squad is really sketchy when it comes to the editing, which I will get more into later. The film doesn’t follow the typical three act formula, which is fine because I like it when things deviate from what they’re usually supposed to be. However, what we get instead is a first act of nothing but exposition, and then the rest of the movie is weightless, meaningless, repetitive and completely needless action sequences. Some of these clearly look like they’re from re-shoots because they’re totally out of place and have no story value. Occasionally there were random character moments that were supposed to connect with me, but instead they were sandwiched between explosions and guns, and I couldn’t feel anything. Most of the movie is set at night and at some instances, I could barely even see what was happening.

The villain. They’ve done a good job of keeping this a secret. One thing I liked: The villain had a connection to the most human main character of the bunch, Rick Flag, which added a nice dynamic to the film. What I didn’t like: Everything else. The character, the motivations, the dialogue and everything else were so clichéd, generic and unoriginal that I had no reason to even try to understand why this person was doing what this person was doing. This character spends the majority of the movie standing in one place and powering this ‘machine’ that will destroy the world, just like every single comic book movie imaginable. There was no effort whatsoever to try and be even a tad bit original here. And when it comes down to the ending, it suffers from what I now like to call X-Men: Apocalypse syndrome, which is when a movie ends so abruptly and so stupidly that you question whether or not it’s actually over.

There’s one final thing: This is a two hour long music video.
I like music integrated into film, when it’s done right. Within the first ten minutes of the film, I knew what I was getting into because the music just doesn’t stop. It goes from track to track to track and forgets that it is a movie. This is one of the major reasons why I couldn’t connect with the film at all. There would be a few lines of dialogue and it’d cut to the next song. I’d estimate out of the two hours four minutes run time, one hour and thirty minutes were songs. I don’t know what the producers of the movie were thinking with this decision. I wanted this movie to be fun but cramming music down my throat isn’t the way to get that to happen.
Immediately I made a comparison to Guardians of the Galaxy, possibly my favourite Marvel film. The music used in that film wasn’t at the forefront and the tracks that play during some scenes are relevant to that scene, and instead of taking weight from the movie, they added weight to it. And the majority of the movie isn’t washed away in music either. Maybe that’s what was aimed for, but it missed the mark by a long, long margin.

DC have had three films in a row that have fallen short. One was bland and ignored the basic morals of one of the most iconic characters of all time, one had enjoyment but was tattered with so many problems that it’ll be remembered for its sub-par performance. And now there’s this. If Wonder Woman doesn’t work, then they’ll need to work hard with the Justice League movie to win back my faith. I want them to succeed, as much as anyone in the world, but they can’t do that if they don’t make movies that are great. Not even good. Great. The standard today is too high for just ‘good’.

I’m afraid Rotten Tomatoes was accurate on this one.

On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Suicide Squad: MIHIR



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