Suicide Squad Review
With summer winding to a close, the folks over at WB and DC are pulling out all the stops to capture some box office gold with the second entry to their DC film universe, Suicide Squad. After the critical disaster that was Batman v Superman, WB was looking to right the boat and gain the respect of fans and critics alike and start the DCU printing money. So, did Suicide Squad manage to live up to the expectations? I won’t mince words here – Suicide Squad is one of the worst films I have ever sat through and I can’t hope to put into words how strongly I warn you away from seeing this unmitigated disaster.
The plot to SS is nothing like it was portrayed in the trailers. With the death of Superman, Amanda Waller conspires to put together a team to fight metahumans. This team is to be totally expendable. Namely, the worst criminals they have will fight the worst evil that can come their way. When a global disaster of Waller’s own making comes about, she calls in her Suicide Squad to set things straight.
Before I go any further let’s quickly address the behind the scenes turmoil SS dealt with even before its release. With the critical drubbing that BvS took, WB panicked a bit and put SS into very, very expensive reshoots in order to ‘lighten it up’. I immediately said that I would have to see director David Ayer’s cut and see how much different Ayer’s vision was to what came out, but after having seen it, there is no cut that can make this terrible ordeal palatable.
“Suicide Squad is one of the worst films I have ever sat through and I can’t hope to put into words how strongly I warn you away from seeing this unmitigated disaster.”
The title screen shows up approximately 2 and a half minutes into the movie and by that time, you’ve already been assaulted by three different songs that are all obnoxiously loud. The scenes are poorly cut together and the songs are very poorly placed. Then, Waller proceeds to spend no less than 15 minutes explaining who each and every one of the Squad is while at dinner with two men. There are flashy, neon-drenched cutaways to spice up this My Dinner with Andre rip off as Waller throws around binders with ‘TOP SECRET’ in big red letters on it, but this is already where we get into how just plain awful the editing is. Choppy and disjointed, as radio single after radio single sloppily cuts in and out of the scenes, it was easy to already be annoyed with the movie and Waller was still having dinner.
Will Smith is completely adequate starring as Will Smith if he had become a hitman instead of an actor. Margot Robbie is also quite good at being the deranged Harley Quinn. But every time Smith was becoming likeable, it was offset by some casual racism or overt sexism that he would spout and anytime you started to warm up to Robbie, they would pull her away for huge chunks of time to remind you how unbearable the rest of the cast is. Because that’s what they are – unbearable.
Jai Courtney made me cringe and not just because he was playing one of the worst villains in comic books. Cara Delevingne did her best Buffalo Bill impression and had as much chemistry with Joel Kinnaman that a piece of toast would have. Jay Hernandez tries to make Diablo a worthwhile character but has nothing to work with other than calling everyone homes, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is a bizarrely 5 foot tall, stereotypically (bordering on racist) urban Killer Croc. Then, there was Karen Fukuhara as Katana who we were told a minimum of 5 times that her sword traps souls while Adam Beach’s Slipknot didn’t even get introduced. He simply walked on screen at one point. The entire Squad is as painfully annoying as the obnoxious songs that are paired with each of them.
The plot to the film itself doesn’t make any sense and Ayer takes all of three minutes to try to explain it. There were a handful of times where I was genuinely confused as to what was happening, not because it was convoluted (which it was) but simply because it defied any and all logic. I hesitate to every use this word when talking about a film, but SS was genuinely stupid. There was no reason for any of it to happen. The reasons for putting the Suicide Squad in the field to begin with, made zero sense. Luckily, as the massively hole-ridden plot was busy tripping over itself, they managed to course correct by having someone come across a satchel full of binders that were helpfully labelled ‘TOP SECRET’ in bold red letters – you know, from the opening scene. The entire thing was an insult to your intelligence and didn’t even attempt to disguise it.
“I hesitate to every use [the word stupid] when talking about a film, but SS was genuinely stupid.”
As for Ayer’s direction which he’s been very vocal about – it’s sloppy, shoddy and was very amateur. To be fair, there were many times that I couldn’t tell if it was his bad direction or the abysmal editing that was making it so awkward and jumbled but either way, there was more than one time that I openly laughed at how poorly a scene was done. Sometimes when a movie gets so bad that you can’t even laugh at it, I like to take solace in technical aspects, hoping that I can at least find one reason that someone put money behind this. But no, I couldn’t even do that. Even the flow of the film was so ass backwards that as the Squad was preparing for their big, final showdown, they decided to stop and give us some more backstory on the characters. How it made sense to anyone to give me the motivations of a character after I had already been watching him for over an hour is beyond me. But the best part about it was that within the same scene, they did it twice.
Now let’s not forget the most hyped aspect of Suicide Squad – Jared Leto turning in his first performance as The Joker. A lot has been said about Leto getting into character and going all out while on set and how he walked around as Joker, not Leto. But what ended up on screen wasn’t so much a wild new interpretation of the Crown Prince of Crime but rather it seemed to be Leto’s take on James Franco’s Alien from Spring Breakers. Not actually doing anything in the film, Joker only had one scene where he seemed in the least bit intimidating, choosing instead to mumble through tattoos and slur through his grill while hanging out in the clubs he owned or driving his custom Lamborghini. Because when Batman hunts his murderous, psychotic arch nemesis, he would never think to look at the club he owns or the custom car shops he frequents. To say this was a disappointing interpretation of the Joker is one of the biggest understatements of the year.
I really, honestly and truly, wish that anything I’ve said above was hyperbole. I wish I was being horribly cynical and outrageously harsh. I really wanted to like this movie and I really wanted to see DC get what they wanted onto the screen so we could move forward with a unified vision and be delivered a great Justice League and expanding Universe. Instead I got poorly cut together scenes where they tried to slap the reshoots over top the original scenes instead of just reshooting the whole thing, a tone that fluctuated from zany and fun to grim and ominous sometimes in the course of a monologue, unlikable characters, a plot that didn’t make even a shred of sense, and a Joker that looked like he wanted Spring Break forever more than he wanted to kill Batman.
There’s a petition that has a shocking number of signatures that is calling for the dismantling of RottenTomatoes.com because they keep giving DC films bad reviews. Instead of dismantling RT, why doesn’t DC simply take all the characters they have and just cut together trailers? They certainly know how to make it seem like they have an amazing film to bring to you, but no matter how much a trailer has me buying into the hype, they seem to only be able to deliver a dud. Or, in this case, a lifeless, soulless facade of what could have been a top-notch summer tentpole.
After the debut of the Wonder Woman trailer at Comic Con, I had high hopes that WW would be the saving grace of the troubled DCU. But after sitting through Suicide Squad, the worst film I have seen in recent memory; an obnoxious, unfunny, idiotic lesson in how NOT to make a film, my hopes for Princess Diana and, ultimately, the DCU in its entirety are all but gone. If this is what I have to look forward to, WB, just hang it up. Don’t force us to endure any more of this.
- Not a damn thing
- Every damn thing