DC has consistently proven themselves to be some of the most inconsistent filmmakers next to the mighty Fox. It’s actually surprising how poorly understand their characters, and when they do understand them, they can not create a competent film around them. Sadly, this is the case for DC’s recent venture into the comic turned film fray. Suicide Squad had a lot riding on it for DC after the poor critical reaction to both Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman.
Let’s set the record straight right here, Suicide Squad is a bad movie. It may be entertaining (and I’d say that that’s a bit of an overstatement) but that does not make it a good film. This was DC’s poor attempt at chasing after the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and, to be honest, it looked like it would be a good one of those. A fun action-packed summer blockbuster full of great action and laughs. Yet, as per usual, DC films somehow does not understand the fundamentals of creating an exciting film that balances both visual awe and a fun script. DC is always able to get the visual awe down pact yet they can’t seem to make their movies fun. The disappointment of the film stings a bit more when you realize just how engaging the trailers were. Every trailer seemed exciting and entertaining, quite the tonal shift from the other DC films. It was almost as if they wanted me to go into the movie and have a good time. Instead, Suicide Squad was the same tonally serious and drab film that BvS and MoS were. The film seemed so dark and brooding as opposed to the colorful nature of the trailers, quite the act of deception DC. Well played. It’s almost as if Suicide Squad was two totally different films mashed together to middling effect.
The few one-liners and jokes in the film were abysmal. It seemed as if only Will Smith and Margot Robbie had any type of chemistry in the film. Every character in Guardians of the Galaxy had a unique personality that allowed the characters to joke and jive with one another in a way that felt organic. There is nothing organic to the relationship between the Suicide Squad. The only character that receives any significant treatment and depth is Will Smith’s Deadshot. It’s also no wonder why he is the best part of the film. You can sympathize with the deadly assassin and his plight to elevate himself in the eye’s of his young daughter. There’s something real there, I want this terrible person to live and redeem himself. The same cannot be said for any of the other characters in the film. There is nothing to sympathize with them. They pulled some heart strings with the character of El Diablo, although his story was more than a tad bit ridiculous, but everyone else is just straight up bad. Which is understandable and I am in no way slighting that against the movie. I just wish that they gave me a reason to care about Killer Croc or Captain Boomerang, or at the very least, make them amusing. What we have with those two characters are cringeworthy abominations. Captain Boomerang is not funny (no matter how hard they try) and Killer Croc is basically not a character. Killer Croc maybe has a total of ten lines in the film, and even fewer appearances. I wished that they would’ve fixed up the costuming on Croc since he seems so puny in comparison to the rest of his team. Harley Quinn was so annoying and infuriating, yet somehow in a different way from her usual character traits. In Suicide Squad Harley is used as a mechanism to spout such absolute chunks of spewage, her one-liners are cringe worthy at best and boring at worst. You can see that they tried so hard to make something of Harley here but they failed miserably at making her enjoyable.
Viola Davis absolutely nails her performance as Amanda Waller. Perfectly nailing the cold and ruthless attitude that Waller is so known for. Davis steals every scene that she is in with absolute grace and precision, it’s an incredible display of sheer mercilessness. Although, Jared Leto’s Joker is only in the film briefly, he does make a lasting impression. I’m not the biggest fan of the gangland Joker but the approach is psychotic and wild enough that it works well. He does not surpass the bone chilling Joker portrayed by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight but Leto gets the job done, and is pretty terrifying while he’s doing it.
The plot is nonsensical and another fantastic display of disaster porn. Look, I get that people hate the fact that New York gets torn to shreds in most Marvel films but this world ending cataclysm in every DC film is just fucking ridiculous. I’m still unsure whether the Enchantress was building a world ending machine or a portal. I think even she got confused as to what she was making half way through. My biggest issue with the plot was the lack of stakes. From the moment we begin at Midway City everything feels so lifeless and devoid of any real danger. There is a surprising inability to ground the film in a semblance of reality. Instead, we seem to be dropped into a place that is almost dreamlike. Everything seems to play in this pocket dimension devoid of any real danger. It’s incredible how the plot serves purely as a way to move the Suicide Squad from one room full of bad guys to another with no quiet moments or moments of substance in between.
Finally, my biggest rant against the film.
The use of a licensed song can go a pretty long way to help set the tone of your film. “Come and get your love” may have been the most perfect opening song for the beginning of Guardians and the music is used very sporadically from that point. Suicide Squad is egregious with it’s use of music. Some of the most popular pop songs of the last forty years will play with reckless abandon, a song will end and a new song will begin. From the beginning of the film to about fifteen minutes in, a new pop song is playing taking time away from character development or dialogue.
Overall, Suicide Squad is either a terrible film or the greatest music video. I guess that’s up to you to decide. I know my opinion lies with the former.
Let me know what you guys thought about Suicide Squad in the comments and how you feel about the general trajectory of the DC film universe.