Suicide Squad was something I was looking forward to ever since it was announced. I remember watching Assault on Arkham and thought that it was amazing. The idea of a cast featuring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Ike Barinholtz bringing that to life made me all tingly. Couple that with Ben Affleck being an awesome Batman, and David Ayer at the helm, I was all but ready to have a geekgasm. I read about all of the fucked up shit that Jared Leto did during filming, I read about how uncomfortable people were on set, I read about how everyone ended up bonding, and the Hype Train had no breaks.
Then, Dawn of Justice happened…
Warner Bros ordered re-shoots to make it “lighter” and “insert more comedy.” Kiss of death. It went from Opening Day to “ehhh I’ll wait.” I’m glad that I did.
By the way….
Deadshot: Will Smith had his Summer Blockbuster shoes on for the first time in ages, and it was perfect for this movie. He seemed to have fun with this role, and Will Smith’d the hell out of it. This was the “WELCOME TA EARF” Will that I’ll always drop $15 to see, and not the “TELL DE TROOF” Will that typically misses the mark.
I hope that he’s finally done chasing Oscars after how poor Concussion was, and I hope he’s done trying to make Jaden Smith a thing after the abysmal After Earth. I loved him as Deadshot, and hope to see more of this character in the DCEU somewhere.
Harley Quinn: Margot Robbie nailed Harley Quinn’s essence, from her quirks to her voice. While watching Suicide Squad, I didn’t once see Margot Robbie. All that I saw was Harley Quinn. Once you can suspend disbelief, you have won the game of entertainment. She was probably the most fully developed character in the movie, and Margot was awesome in every scene.
Amanda Waller: Viola Davis crushed it in this movie. She brought a level of badassery that made Samuel L. Jackson shed a tear. Her character has some flaws, and at the end she learned nothing at all, despite this team of misfits that she threatened with death saving her life. Viola Davis made all of those loose ends a tad less noticeable with how savage she was.
Diablo: I’ve only seen Jay Hernandez in a couple of things, and he’s pretty good. He portrayed Diablo’s inner conflict very well. His character arc was rushed as hell, and tossed in at weird parts (more in the misses), but he did well with what he was given.
First Act of the Movie: Anything that allowed us to get to know these people was done well. Learning about Deadshot, Harley, Diablo, and Rick Flag, coupled with Amanda Waller’s savagery, and some fun Ike Barinholtz humor sprinkled in was enjoyable. Basically, everything up until the helicopter crash was great. The movie fell off a damn cliff from there.
Enchantress: Let’s talk about one of the most terribly cliche villains in comic book movie history. An ancient spirit is freed, creates a faceless army of Power Ranger Puddies, frees her brother who’s a weaker version of Mr. Fantastic. She Milly Rocks and Harlem Shakes some kind of Generic Doomsday Storm that’s going to somehow destroy the earth because… reasons? Her power of creating illusions is instantly rendered useless by the Suicide Squad the minute it’s introduced. Finally, she’s defeated rather easily by THE POWER OF TEAMWORK!!! YAY!!!
I knew nothing about Enchantress going in, and I learned nothing about her coming out except that she can be killed by, essentially, regular ass people. It wasn’t even Batman and his plethora of gadgets. It was a marksman, a crazed psychiatrist, a soldier, an Asian samurai stereotype, an Australian stereotype that throws boomerangs, and a Black guy who’s half crocodile.
Rest of the Team: This isn’t about their performances, it’s about their lack of attention. Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, and especially Katana were such afterthoughts that they never felt necessary to the movie. Katana, who’s power is DOPE AF, was the biggest offense.
“Deadshot, he can kill anyone with anything (ten minute montage)!”
“Harley Quinn is crazy, dangerous, and messes with The Joker (ten minute montage)!”
“Diablo can manipulate fire (five minute montage)!”
“Captain Boomerang…. has a boomerang… (thirty second montage OH LOOK, THE FLASH)!”
“Killer Croc… is a crocodile man… (thirty second montage)…”
“By the way, here’s a last minute additon, Katana… herswordtrapsthesoulsofthepeopleshekills–LOOK AT HARLEY QUINN’S ASS!!!”
How can you have, quite possibly, the BEST power, with THE BEST backstory, and YOU DON’T EVEN GET TO TELL IT! WE NEVER SEE ONE SOUL ABSORBED!!!
The Joker: This isn’t about Jared Leto’s performance. He was only in the movie for ten minutes, and his scenes don’t really give you much. This miss is about the overall use of Joker. Jared Leto had SECOND BILLING, yet he was in the movie for 3% of the run time! Why even have him at all? If you remove The Joker’s scenes from the movie, nothing changes about the narrative. You could have done it where the only time Joker even appears in the movie is at the end where he breaks Harley out of jail. Cut to credits. There would be geek jizz in theaters across the planet! Instead, you have Joker being this P. Diddy/Suge Knight-esque gangsta club owner. All of Joker’s scenes were inserted in such odd places during the movie. Speaking of:
Editing and Plot: My God, this movie is all over the place. The first act is great. Introduces everyone, gives them a reason to come together, and establishes the Suicide Squad. When they actually get to the mission, it was just a mess. Harley randomly flashbacking to the Chemical Plant where “Harley Quinn” was born, while a GREAT scene, was placed in the middle of an action sequence. Joker was able to disarm Harley’s bomb, it’s rearmed at the end. How? When Enchantress gives everyone what they wanted, Deadshot, who’s character was built as this family man who only wants to see his daughter, sees a vision where he kills Batman. Why is THAT what he wants? Why isn’t his fantasy of him with his daughter?
Suicide Squad also has some pacing problems. It resembles how panels of a comic book would look as far as the flashbacks, but they are inserted in such odd places, and they don’t move the story. Suicide Squad also danced a fine line of trying to make everyone redeemable, but made sure to smack you in the face with the fact that they’re still “bad guys” by doing something random to take you out of the moment. Maybe that’s the point, but those moments don’t have to be random to be effective.
Music: Eminem’s “Without Me” does not fit into this movie in any context, whatsoever. There are parts where the music works (any Deadshot or Harley Quinn flashback), but blasting a “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover works for the trailer, not the movie itself. It seemed that WB tried to follow the Guardians of the Galaxy template of using fun music to drive the story. The issue is that GotG uses its score to naturally advance the movie. In Suicide Squad, it feels forced. I will say that “Purple Lamborghini” GOES HARDS on leg day in the gym!
FINAL VERDICT: 3/5
As much fault as I can find in this movie on a micro-scale, it’s a typical Summer Blockbuster movie. The action was great. The cast is great. The comedy, while clearly forced and inserted belatedly, is fine at times. The first act of the movie is awesome, the last two acts is a typical action movie with a typical villain creating a typical thingy in the sky that will destroy the world, and a typical “lets all do the singular things that we’re good at to save the world” conclusion. I’d watch the extended version (because it seems that’s all that Warner Bros loves to put out these days), but it’s not a must-see movie. I was ultimately let down from my expectations.
WB and the DCEU simply cannot tell a coherent story from beginning to end without throwing in eight thousand other things in that spoils it. The DCEU is a weak Campbell’s soup. They have all kinds of carrots, celery, onions, and seasonings thrown in, but they don’t have enough meat and potatoes to make it fulfilling. The studio totally caved to critic pressure, and re-shot the movie to death to make it more palatable for general audiences. Much like Batman v Superman, they want to insert as many characters as possible into a universe that isn’t well established at all. We don’t have a feel for the DCEU yet, but in three movies, we have almost fifteen individual characters. It’s too much. Quantity will never make up for quality.