PLEASE NOTE: This is a discussion for people who have already seen Suicide Squad, so there will more than likely be SPOILERS. You have been warned.
If you’ve read my full review for Suicide Squad then you will know that I was a bit disappointed in the latest DC Comics Extended Universe feature film offering. After all the hype and promise of this being the movie that rights the DC Comics movie ship, we instead got something with a severe identity crisis as it tried to be beholden to its misleading ad campaign while still delivering the serious gritty superhero drama that writer/director David Ayer was originally aiming for before some panicky Warner Bros studio suits showed up and edited it to hell and back.
Besides for the messy structure and silly plotting, most of the ensemble cast had very little to do other than just getting dressed up in costume (Seriously, what was Captain Boomerang’s point on that team? Exactly what skills did he bring to the table?), or in the case of Adam Beach’s Slipknot, just die.
And then there was Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress, an utterly unengaging villain who spends more time doing bad ballroom dancing moves in front of a CG energy portal that is probably going to get sued by the Ghostbusters soon for copyright infringement than actually giving us a definitive evil plan. Hell, even her lackeys were nothing more than 2016’s version of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’ putty monsters. In a genre that already has a compelling villain problem, she has to be one of the lamest of recent memory, possibly only trumped by her walking bad-CG brother who has less character than Harley Quinn’s hot pants.
And after all the fuss that was made about Jared Leto’s controversial new take on the Joker, he ended up having nothing more than a glorified cameo that added basically nothing to the plot. Also, I have to wonder if total non-fans had any freaking clue why Joker was even convincing Harley to take a swan dive into a vat of chemicals as the movie just assumed you did and ran with it.
But with all of that being said, I can’t say that there weren’t aspects of Suicide Squad that I really, really enjoyed. Most of these centre around Will Smith’s badass and charismatic Deadshot (I got chills when he stepped up on that car and just started murdering EVERYTHING!), Margot Robbie’s star making pitch perfect turn as previously mentioned Harley Quinn, the surprise standout of Jay Hernandez’s guilt-ridden pyro Diablo, and Viola Davis putting in a masterful turn as Amanda Waller, making you believe 100% that she’s as ruthless as severe as she lets on even though she’s written like an idiot at times (you keep the one thing protecting everybody from the demigod teleporter in your closet at home?!).
The movie also gave Smith the opportunity to completely remind us why he was once the biggest, most bankable movie star on the planet. If Warner Bros doesn’t give us a solo Deadshot movie where he may have to throw down against Ben Affleck’s Batman at some point, then there’s simply no justice in this world. Also, while you would need to have some serious blinkers on to deny that WB copied the iconoclastic use of contemporary music seen in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, there’s also no denying that Suicide Squad has one killer soundtrack, even if its use in film is far too clumsy and on-the-the-nose.
But that’s just my opinion, and if internet chatter over the weekend is anything to go by, then this is one movie that is really dividing the fans. For example, here’s what the rest of the crew around here thought about the movie and they were far more unforgiving than I was.
Suicide Squad was a schizophrenic mess. Tonally, it was all over the place, some characters were given far too much time while others not nearly enough. The first act had too many jumps between flashback and present day, they didn’t let you catch your breath between all the hopping around. The sound track in the first act irritated me. They just had to have a “clever” song for every scene where they introduced a new characters, regardless of flow, which made it seem like they were trying too hard.
It was unbalanced and badly edited, I felt like I was watching two different movies that had been smashed together. Which, in light of all the behind the scenes drama and reshoots, is basically what it was. It was pretty obvious where they had crowbarred in extra “humour”, even though the laughs were few and far between, and most of the jokes were flat and forced. Honestly, I got the most enjoyment out of it when it devolved into a generic superhero action movie in the third act, at least there was some cohesion.
I accidentally saw this movie, thinking it was in fact supposed to be the new Star Trek Beyond, so I had no expectations settling down in the IMAX. What then transpired before my now bloodshot eyes was a movie designed for hyperactive children who also lack a sense of humour. Story? PAH! We don’t need that! What was the story anyway? Oh, secret team of super badass villains get together to stop any sort of threat. Like a Superman threat. Only thing is… They are pretty bloody useless when it comes to killing anything that isn’t human. You have Killer Croc, super strong, cool. You have… Um, Diablo? ‘Flame on’ guy who is so overpowered the rest may as well go back to their cells! Also, how is it that Harley, who has NO superpowers, is able to literally go hand to hand with the army of monster soldiers when human Navy SEALs cannot? Logic – please leave it at the door when you rent the film.
I also agree with what many say; way too much time spent on flashbacks for each character. That part, with their painted picture and ‘stats’ reminded me of a Borderlands game. The continuity of many a scene was also all over the place for the sake of looking cool. Harley steps into an elevator clearly leaving everyone way behind her but by the time she gets out of said elevator they are waiting for her, all so she could deliver some cheap humourLESS line “Well, come on!”. The humour was pretty terrible in this film and I could mention many other times I literally cringed in my seat. “What are you wearing? The smell of DEATH?! HAHA”. No, not haha.
The only redeeming thing about this film was Smith’s performance. He was very, very cool but I think that also comes down to the obvious attention to detail in writing his character. Sadly Jared Leto’s Joker is in it for all of 11 minutes and only as a love interest to Harley – his role in the narrative being so minor they should have left him out and not shoehorned him in like DC seems to love doing. Not so sure about Leto’s take on the iconic character yet. The whole “I’m a gangsta” doesn’t really work for me to be honest.
People are bashing critics at the moment for their less than favourable reviews of this film and that is sad. We offer an opinion you can use, or not use. As I have said to a few friends, don’t waste your money on going to watch this movie at the IMAX as it is literally as dark (visually) as BvS. That is supposed to help you save money. It is not a conspiracy, we don’t all wear Marvel rings and regularly meet under the full moon (well, Kervyn does, but he’s mental). I personally think Kervyn was generous in his review of Suicide Squad, I would have smacked it with a 2.5/5.
Live-action DC Comics adaptations seem to be the new Tom Cruise films. In other words, critics cannot wait to pummel them with as much vicious prose as possible, regardless of actual merit. Approaching Suicide Squad with as much of an open mind as possible, I found it to be very flawed, but considerably more entertaining than the theatrical cut of Batman Vs. Superman.
Although there were large chunks of the film where plot coherence completely vanished, charismatic performers (Will Smith and Margot Robbie in particular) and sufficient special effects inventiveness kept me engaged. This is weak praise though for a film that felt toothless and overstuffed on the whole; not to mention VERY insulting to its female characters, who have their agency shaped entirely around boyfriends, husbands, fathers and brothers (Viola Davis’s stone-cold Amanda Waller being the welcome exception).
Miscellaneous thoughts: Waste of time 3D, but bonus LOL points for Enchantress’s sublimely ridiculous goth dance. You’re still better off watching the animated Suicide Squad movie at the end of the day.
So what did you think of the movie? Did it live up to your expectations? Exceed them? Or maybe you walked out of the cinema feeling like you could commit suicide because it was so bad? Sound off below! And remember, spoilers are all good around here so feel free to be as detailed as you wish!
Last Updated: August 8, 2016
For the Emperor!
August 8, 2016 at 16:22
I rather enjoyed it at about 7/10. Did not expect a serious plot, and with an ensemble that has cast of “unknown” characters (cinematically unknown at least) I also did not expect all of them to get the “main character” treatment. Deadshot, Harley and El Diablo were my highlights character wise – in acting, character setup and development. Amanda Waller – wow she is one “gangsta” woman 🙂
Must say I have enjoyed a few movies that were critically panned this year. My problem with some of the reviews is not that others do not like the same movies I do, it is rather the part where they sometimes do it “with as much vicious prose as possible”.