It’s funny to me how Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) was supposed to be the bigger of the two DC movies coming out this year. Kind of like how Ant-Man (2015) was the smaller of the two Marvel movies that came out last summer – the bigger one being Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Yet Suicide Squad, even before BvS was released, had way more of a hype around it than BvS did. DC really needed this movie to be good after the backlash from Man of Steel and BvS, and it was clear they were going for the DC version of Guardians of the Galaxy. While it is certainly an improvement from the train wreck BvS was, Suicide Squad isn’t the hero DC deserved.
Suicide Squad opens with Amanda Waller – the Nick Fury of DC Comics – pitching an idea to put the worst criminals together to protect the world from the potential threat of another Superman, one that doesn’t share the same ideals Superman had. It’s a terrible idea but Viola Davis’ diction makes the plan almost believable. We’re then rapid fire introduced to a ton of insane people with quick little montages and flashbacks to show off their skills – kind of like a movie trailer does. I hate to say it but director David Ayer really should have taken a play out of Tarantino’s book when it comes to introducing your characters in a cool fashion. Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn are introduced and they’re honestly the best part of this movie. Will Smith always brings a charisma to anything he does and it’s a charisma that only Will Smith can really capture. He brings a lot of light to some situations without saturating it too much. Margot Robbie is great as Harley Quinn and believably a complete psychopath. It was smart casting from the beginning and she hit the mark perfectly.
One person who I thought I was going to hate in this movie that I thought did really well was Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang. I’ve never liked Jai Courtney and I’ve never said, “Oh Jai Courtney’s in this movie? Awesome!” But in this, I have to say, this felt like the movie Jai Courtney finally belonged in. As for someone I was hoping to do well and just underperformed in my eyes is Jared Leto’s Joker. I’m not denying Leto’s ability to act and commit to roles – the writing’s on the wall with movies like Requiem for a Dream (2000), Mr. Nobody (2009), and Dallas Buyers Club (2013). To put it bluntly, it’s just not my kind of Joker. The problem with a character like the Joker is that he is a chaotic, senseless, and a sociopath to his core. As a result, many writers and artists have interpreted him in the goofiest of lights and the most cynical of lights. Everyone has their own interpretation of what he should be and how he should look and for me, Leto’s take was a bit of a piggyback off of what Heath Ledger did and there’s also the fact that he was a complete wild card in this movie and didn’t have a part to play, outside of some exposition, in the entire movie.
The best way to describe the movie is it’s a video game. You have video game intros for all of the characters with video game stats and they are sent to a place to solve a problem. As they you progress through the place, challenges begin to get harder and harder until the final boss battle where you gradually deplete the boss’ health bar. There are some good moments between characters that humanize them but I think they come few and too far in between. The “final boss fight” is drawn out with too much slow motion, and the movie is edited very poorly if you ask me. We have a barrage of character intros and then we immediately jump from the first act into the third act as the titular Suicide Squad touches down in yet another city that is completely destroyed by something that causes buildings and cars to float and then fall destroying anything around it. Honestly, I feel like I’ve seen this plot point three times in the past year.
It’s clear that DC wants to play ball with Marvel and they’re willing to take risks like Suicide Squad to get where they (Marvel) are. The difference between this and a success like Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) is guardians relies so much less on the heroes that have come before in the MCU and instead embrace the ones that are on the screen. Marvel also didn’t rush into making a movie like Guardians until they had the world hooked on Marvel. As far as I know, the world isn’t that hooked on DC yet. Sure, Will Smith, Jared Leto, and a half naked Margot Robbie will get hardcore fanboys in the seats; but where’s the effort? Where’s the boldness in hiring a Will Smith as opposed to an up-and-coming star like Chris Pratt and letting a movie like Guardians launch his fame into the stratosphere and open his career? Same could be said about Daisy Ridley or even Mark Hamill back in the 70s?
With too many flashbacks and cameos to people we’ve barely met or haven’t met at all yet, it’s sloppy. The movie plays out like it was written in two days by a freshman film student and the soundtrack is even the most generic music choice, save that one song Action Bronson was featured in during a cool Deadshot scene.
Overall Rating: 5/10 – Average
Poorly written and it relies way too much on exposition, flashbacks, and montages to fill in the gaps. Will Smith and Margot Robbie kill it in their roles but Jared Leto underwhelms in his five-ish minutes of screen time. The action is cool but there’s practically no heart in the movie. Yes, they’re bad guys and there are moments when they can be more, but those moments aren’t taken advantage of in the end. Wonder Woman (2017) is up next for DC and it’s not only an important movie for them, but the super hero genre as a whole.
PS There’s a mid-credits scene that is tacked on for no reason if you ask me. It tells us what we already know and doesn’t open up any new threads for the DC movies to come.
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