Review: ‘Suicide Squad’
We’ve been anticipating Suicide Squad for over a year here at Social Underground. It seemed that DC Comics was extending its universe with a movie that takes some well-known and some random comic book characters to make a movie. The cast is stellar, the writer/director David Ayer is a proven filmmaker and all the trailers make the movie look incredible, which is what a trailer is supposed to do. It seemed to have more humor than that of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and it also has to make up for that mopey mess of a missed opportunity.
Suicide Squad has everything going for it. It’s the reason why first weekend estimates are rising to up to $140 million dollars. A comic book film with a bunch of secondary characters that will rock the box office? Sounds a bit like Deadpool, huh? It’s looking that way. But what Deadpool had was rave reviews and staying power. Suicide Squad is getting bad reviews on Rotten Tomatoes days before its release near the same level as BvS. Will that hinder the box office? Maybe, but then again all of those Transformers movies make a billion each with bad reviews, so the tomato meter doesn’t really mean much.
Premise: Figuring they’re all expendable, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), a U.S. intelligence officer, decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto) launches an evil agenda of his own.
I went into this movie with a lowered bar because of the reviews. Going into this movie, I haven’t actually read any, but the titles of the articles were enough for me to bring my hype down. I did the same thing when I saw The Matrix Revolutions since Reloaded kinda ruined everything. Let’s say that BvS did that for me with this movie. Was I right to lower the bar? Yeah. Did it make the movie better? Sadly, no.
First off, Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Viola Davis do a great job in the movie. Smith adds that emotional depth to a movie where all the characters are basically, “Hey, I’m a bad guy! Let’s do bad guy things!” Smith is a bad guy, but he really is just a Dad that did some really stupid murder things in his past and wants to see his daughter. Robbie is the perfect Harley Quinn. Every time she’s on the screen, she steals it. It’s not just because I’m into attractive crazy girls, but she is everything you remember from Batman: The Animated Series. She’s nuts, but lovable, but she might kill you in your sleep, but it’ll be worth it.
What about Jared Leto? He’s a bad Joker. He had a different take on the character, but he still has all the same beats as the Joker, I guess. One thing that is deceptive in the trailers is that he’s a big part in the movie. He isn’t at all. This says a lot about Leto since he was method acting the entire time for barely any screen time. It’s practically a cameo. Batman (Ben Affleck) has almost as much screen time. Heath Ledger only had so much screen time in The Dark Knight, but the entire time he isn’t on-screen, you wonder where he is. Ledger acted his role without fuss. I mean, he did die shortly after, but that had nothing to do with the movie despite what idiots say.
The rest of the cast is underdeveloped and uninteresting besides Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. Of course she’s good in it. I’d honestly have to go look online to remember what everyone else’s name is in the film. With Davis, you could give her the worst screenplay, and she will still deliver the goods. You can give Jai Courtney the script for The Godfather and he will make everyone in the theater want to jump off a cliff head first.
David Ayer has made some iffy movies in the past. He wrote Training Day, then directed Fury and Sabotage. Training Day was great, Fury was alright, and Sabotage was just bad. He uses the same look in those movies as he does in this one, but it just doesn’t work. It looks like some little kid poured a mixture of oil and grape juice on the camera lens. I guess that’s to make the movie looks more gritty because of the subject matter, but it’s more annoying than anything. You may not like his other movies, but at least he had his fingerprint on them. This just felt like a director phoning it in with a genre he isn’t used to.
As for pacing, the movie is choppy as hell. Remember those stories you heard months back about the reshoots and the attempt to make the movie lighter? You can really see it, but in a bad way. You can practically see where parts were cut out, new parts were put in, and then they were edited together badly. There were moments in the theater where I could see people in front of me in the seats looking at each other like they all noticed something wrong. It was like that part in Fight Club where Brad Pitt inserted a frame of a penis into a film that catches the audience off-guard, but in my theater it was just people noticing the bad editing and pacing. It makes me think the recent news about the clusterf*ck behind the scenes is 100% true.
She’s nuts, but lovable, but she might kill you in your sleep, but it’ll be worth it.
Suicide Squad really tries to be a good movie, but about midway through the movie I felt like I was going through the paint-by-numbers superhero tropes we’re all used to. SPOILER ALERTish if you can put it together: Do we really need yet another superhero movie with the same third act? Fantastic Four just did this third act event and we all know how that dumpster fire turned out. Even Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, the first Iron Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Captain America: The First Avenger did it (ED Note: Chill, Marvel). Hell, even the last TMNT movie pulled that crap. I’m not telling you what that thing is, but you can guess. Most superhero movies have to do that to make the movie add some sort of epic scale to it. When everyone does it, it loses its effectiveness.
I’ve written before that I’m getting tired of every summer being full of bloated comic book movies, but I think this movie might put me over the line. Maybe it will be better a second time? I’m not paying again to find out. You have some work to do, DC Comics.
Suicide Squad opens everywhere on August 5th.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.