Genre: Superhero Action
Runtime: 123 minutes
Main Cast: Will Smith
Main Production Company: DC Entertainment
Written and directed by David Ayer
Written by Nelson Cumming
Suicide Squad is a shade better than Batman vs. Superman. A shade. There are some redeeming qualities in Suicide Squad that salvages it from being terrible, but they are outweighed by a lot of the films elements that I thought DC would have learned by now not to do. The only thing I think DC have learned is to not make a dark, murky, muddled, two and a half hour film. Instead, they made a dark, murky, muddled, two-hour film in the form of Suicide Squad.
The plot itself is a bit farfetched so stay with me here: Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) suggests to the to the FBI (I think, but it’s not important) that after the supposed death of Superman, a group of villains should be eradicating evil as they are the only chance Gotham has. She recruits Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. What a name), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Slipknot (Adam Beach) . Meanwhile, Waller tries to recruit June Moone (Cara Delevingne) who has been possessed by a spirit called Enchantress. Enchantress goes AWOL and resurrects her brother who is also some sort of spirit beast in an attempt to wipe humanity because humans didn’t have the decency to resurrect a morbidly crazy spirit. Oh, and there is a guy in it called The Joker (Jared Leto), yeah, he does some cameos in a subplot.
The character development is either flimsy or non-existent. It falls into too-many-character-syndrome like The Hateful Eight did where not enough of the characters are developed because there are too many characters to do it. Out of all the characters, Deadshot is the only fleshed out character that you care for. Harley Quinn is also a fleshed out character but I found it hard to support her as she falls in love with a psychopath called The Joker and they did stupid things together and shoot innocent cops. The Joker has about 10 minutes on the screen and he never has a breakthrough moment. El Diablo’s character isn’t developed until “the bar scene” near the climax which made his character development feel rushed. Killer Croc barely speaks a word of English, nor was he enjoyable or engaging. Slipknot has about twenty seconds which were wasted. Captain Boomerang says about three lines and throws two boomerangs. If you notice how long this paragraph is getting, you can see where I am coming from and I only used 1-2 lines to describe each character. This paragraph represents the structure of the film: messy.
If action sequences interest you, do not worry because Suicide Squad finds ways to mess it up. Firstly, I was initially happy that the posters looked brighter and vibrant than Batman vs Superman. I thought “Thank God DC have learned their lesson!” That was until I saw the movie. The action sequences are either set in the dark or in the rain with dark, moss green lighting reminiscent of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It didn’t work in Harry Potter and it doesn’t work here. Secondly, the movie either has unnecessary action sequences or they are edited so erratically that you don’t have room to take it in. Harley Quinn fighting the bad guys on the elevator is the worst offender of them all.
If action and character development are not your thing, then maybe the music is. DC has the annoying habit of getting popular songs that are only relevant in the scene by song title only, not because the music matches the action that goes on. At one point Killer Croc is eating cops alive to the tune of “Fortunate Son” I gasped at the irony. Will Smith is beaten by cops to the tune of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in a prison. It made the dynamic so uneven that I was distracted by the songs instead of the visual footage. The other thing DC does is pays an orchestra to play only brass instruments as loud as they possibly can on the soundtrack. That was annoying too. Half their budget must have been purchasing the rights to play the rock songs and the other half was used to to hire a whole orchestra.
After about 650 words of negativity, I must be positive and commend Margot Robbie. She has had a hell of a year and she kept me going. I wrote on my notes that she was “Deadpoolette” because she is the person that gets the endlessly funny one-liners and gave Suicide Squad some tonal variation that was desperately needed. Sometimes, she needed to stop as she jokes during some scenes that were meant to be poignant and meaningful, but I can tell she was figuring it out. I didn’t like her character but I liked her. Will Smith was good as well. I thought I was going to get a more entertaining Will Smith from his first scene, but he was still good the rest of the way. Those two performances made Suicide Squad better than Batman vs Superman on its own.
My final critique contains spoilers so:
For anyone who has seen a superhero movie, you must know this movie law:
“In a superhero movie, none significant dies unless it’s Bruce Waynes parents”
Halfway through the movie, the Joker crashes in a helicopter offscreen, inferring his death. My first thought was “He is not dead” I just knew he wasn’t. I thought “He is going to come back at the climax” He didn’t. That still didn’t dissuade me that he was not dead. Alas, like in Batman vs. Superman, you find out he was alive all along in the final shot. I just thought “Are you serious?” The Joker replied in my head “Why so serious?” and I said “Because you are doing the same thing over and over again and you expect audiences to fall for this stupid one trick pony act! Stop being condescending to them and stop thinking they are gullible. They are going to figure it out if they haven’t already” It’s such a tired cliche that I hate with movies in general. There might as well be a title card that says “Act surprised”.
END OF SPOILERS
Suicide Squad was watchable by the entertaining performances and chemistry of Will Smith and Margot Robbie. Other than that Suicide Squad has little to offer. It’s better than Batman Vs Superman but barley. Suicide Squad won’t persuade or even get Marvel fans to consider to switch, which is sad. Maybe one day DC will be good enough to compete with Marvel. That would be great as it would be double the greatness at the movies. Unfortunately, that day has not come yet. **1/4