Worse than a bad movie is a bad movie with potential. “Suicide Squad,” the third film in the DC Expanded Universe, after “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”(which got worse and worse as time went by. Much worse than my original B- rating, more like a C now), looked amazing. The trailers captured our attention with stunning action sequences, an amazing soundtrack, and seemingly faithful representations of beloved comic book characters. The film seemed to be heading down the road to being a great tentpole of a thus-far disappointing summer movie season.
But once again, summer of 2016 has failed us. “Suicide Squad,” despite its best intentions, is yet another DC disappointment, that is so misrepresented by those amazing previews that Warner Bros. is actually being sued for false advertising by angry fans (really, look it up).
In this film, a bitter government official (which seem to be a dime a dozen in today’s cinema scene) named Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) puts together a team of criminals that she hopes will be able to stop a Superman-level threat. So, against these villains’ wills, she assembles this so-called Suicide Squad, including but not limited to, Harley Quinn, Joker’s insane girlfriend (a perfectly cast Margot Robbie), Deadshot, a master hitman (Will Smith), El Diablo, a Latino supervillain with some major firepower (Jay Hernandez), and Captain Boomerang, an Australian bank robber (Jai Courtney). So, speak of the devil, a huge threat has threatened Midway City in the form of Enchantress (Cara Delevigne) and the team of mismatched bad guys are forced to take down the even bigger bad guys.
Not an exceptional plot, but one that could set up for some solid superhero fare. Most of these actors are talented, the characters are well-loved, and the film is directed by David Ayer, whose “End of Watch” was a fantastic thriller with great chemistry between its actors. But none of those things are the problem. The script is. Save for the occasional solid one-liner, the dialogue is phony, and the film is an absolute mess. For the majority of the two-hour runtime, it feels like a mashup of a few different movies, one about a team of villains taking down a threat, one is about Harley Quinn and her messed-up history with The Joker, and the other is an action comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The writers had no idea what they wanted the story to be, and that is a hit to the quality overall.
To be honest, the movie isn’t terrible. The film has a sort of guilty pleasure appeal to its madness, and a lot of the actors are good. Will Smith is in one of his best roles in while, Margot Robbie absorbs the character of Harley Quinn perfectly, baseball bat and all. Viola Davis is delightfully menacing in her role, and Jay Hernandez brought a depth to a usually cliche sort of character. The action scenes are well-made, and the music choices are good, except that the film chooses about twenty and plays each for about one minute and random points, instead of carefully choosing places to play songs. This prevents the film from using music as effectively as their clear model in this field, Marvel’s excellent “Guardians of the Galaxy”, which allows the songs to set a mood and tone for a scene.
This saddens me to say, but even The Joker, that oh-so-delightfully chaotic character does not feel present here as he was meant to be. He has lost all of his hectic charm in this incarnation, where he is reduced to a power-hungry crime boss who wants his girlfriend. This is a departure of what we all love about the modern age Joker, his thirst for chaos and disorder, his twisted psychology and view of the world, substituting actual insanity. Jared Leto does what he can, but he can’t save this poorly written character. He feels shoved in, a second villain in a film that has room for only one. I’d rather the Suicide Squad do battle with The Clown Prince of Crime than
But the worst thing this film does is be normal. In look and atmosphere, it merely mimics the other recent DC excursions, which it is still superior to, but it feels the same, unlike what Marvel is doing at the moment, switching up its genre every film. The air is still dark, the only light comes from the moon and streetlights, and the buildings are still black-tinted. The film would have looked much better drenched in neon, with bright colors dancing across the screen in every fight scene to highlight its craziness. But the film decides to be the same. The film can be entertaining at times, so I will not be too harsh on it. But DC, come on, guys, you can do a lot better.
Final Grade: C+