Jesus, I really wanted to like this one… and on paper it seemed like a satisfying slice of anarchic fun. DC’s third movie in their connected movie universe brings out the bad guys to fight world ending threats (against their will of course) since the tragic events of Batman Vs Superman. A gleeful middle finger to the anarchic superhero movie to shake up an increasingly crowded market was the next logical step for the franchise and, if done right, could have followed in the morally questionable footsteps from the similarly themed Guardians Of The Galaxy and Deadpool; two other movies that celebrates heroes aren’t just that heroic. Cold blooded government tyrant Amanda Waller is mulling over the options of global security in the wake of Superman’s death and naturally comes up with the option of forcing incarcerated super villains to do her dirty work. Recruiting a group of psychotic killers by fair means and foul, Amanda amasses Deadshot (world’s most dangerous hitman), Killer Croc (cannibalistic brawler), Diablo (gang-banger pyrophore) Harley Quinn (crazy chick with a baseball bat) and Captain Boomerang (he… throws boomerangs) under the command of straight arrow soldier Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman renting out Peter Weller’s vocal chords) and immediately sends them into battle against The Enchantress, a former meta-human under her control that’s gone rogue and is looking to destroy the earth for generic villain reasons. Quickly realising they’re screwed either way if they fail to save the earth, the Squad look to bail the first chance they can possibly get but will the kinder parts of their nature force them to eventually do the right thing or will the arrival of Harley’s ex, the clown prince of crime known as The Joker (you may have heard of him) complicate things even further?
Bottom line: the real problem with David Ayers Suicide Squad wasn’t so much the script (although it ain’t exactly loaded with common sense, who’s recruiting Captain Boomerang to fight a fucking witch), the director (Ayer build’s a legitimately grimy world) or actors, but it’s the infamously truly wretched tone that made the terrible team’s premier outing as grating and obnoxious as you’d expect a two hour music video would be. You see, whereas most films have trailers edited to try and fit the feel of the finished movie, this felt like the movie was edited to fit the trailers (something the filmmakers actually admitted to). Choppy editing made almost all of the characters motivations seem weirdly random, not because they’re criminally nuts, but more because it felt like they’re extraordinarily poorly written. Each and every character has a lengthy character intro (some even have two or three) which means the film takes forever to get started and all the catchy popular songs this soundtrack has crammed into it are used abysmally, slapped over random action and introductory scenes with no care about whether or not they actually fit. Characters hyped up in the extensive ad campagin hardly have anything to do, Katana and Slipknot add nothing to the story except either be a racial stereotype or have their heads blown up Running man style, while others have had scenes shaven from their run time which leaves the under utilised Killer Croc growling after everyone else’s punchlines but has little else to offer himself apart from looking magnificent and swimming a bit – and let’s not get into the pruning of Leto’s Joker as he’s already been vocal enough about that already… On top os this, the end of the world plot is hideously derivative and uses the same old same old blue light in the sky and faceless monster army shit that other films have frequently done before and done decidedly better.
So, is Suicide Squad a total trainwreck then? Oh, yes. Decidedly so, but there’s random good points floating randomly throughout this over-edited void. Will Smith carries the film nicely and is one of the few characters here whose motivational changes actually make sense given his performance and feels somewhat like a Will Smith performance of old – I’m talking Bad Boys, no Fresh Orince here… Margot Robbie also fares pretty well with the fan favorite character Harley Quinn, but I feel playing up her relationship with the Joker as an actual romance instead of the abusive relationship is, and has always been is a massive mistake.
Ah yes, the Joker – Or very nearly Sir Not Appearing In This Film. Having far less to do here than all those trailers suggested, Jared Leto’s much anticipated portrayal of the clown prince of crime, if I’m being hugely charitable, isn’t that bad. Sporting more costume changes than Katy Perry on awards night, he does succeed in looking utterly insane, but standing in the immense shadow of Heath Leager’s iconic punk rock terrorist, Leto’s meth addicted juggalo approach just isn’t the portrayal we were in the mood for and the fact that the prospect of seeing him square off with Batfleck get further and further away with every new DC movie announcement isn’t something anyone seems to be losing sleep over. Joke’s over Jared… Also, I feel I have to give props the movie for getting a fairly memorable performance out of Jai Courteney, I’ve been pretty hard on him in the past for casting agents insisting of cramming him down our throats and I truly never knew he had it in him. In fact everyone here from Viola Davis to Carla Delevingne laughable, flailing villain blatantly seems to be trying their collective asses off, it’s just the editing doesn’t seem to let anything of worth come through in it’s unrelenting attempt to be a cool two hour trailer.
So once again we had yet another muddled and compromised DC offering that choked on delivery, yet still offered enough tidbits, moments and cameos to keep you awaiting the next one; but you really felt like Warners needed to up their game back at the tail end of 2016’s summer season. Critically, at that point, the DC Extended Universe was 0 and 3 when it came to that knockout blow of a universally loved movie that a franchise needs to keep moving forward.
Man Of Steel: OK
Batman Vs Superman: OK-ish
Suicide Squad: Meh.
Bottom line, Wonder Woman needed to dazzle and dazzle hard and she did – not to mention Bird’s Of Prey did decent work to bring some respectability to the dirtier corners of this world – but if James Gunn’s upcoming soft reboot can’t do the business then surely The Suicide Squad needs to be put out of their misery and ours.