We are reaching the end of the Summer, and that also means the Blockbusters designed for this time are beginning to wrap up as well. But not without one more big release to get the crowds swarming in, and this one had some immense talk going on about it before the release. So, let’s have a look at DC’s “Suicide Squad”!
Setting your story primarily around a group of anti-heroes is not a common sight, but that gives this film the backbone upon which everything moves from. The world post-Superman remains on edge, and wary of the threat that “Meta Humans”, or, those with superpowers may pose. A plan is put together to bring the worst villains they have locked up together, and make them fight the battles that a standard superhero won’t take on. The ranks include the likes of Deadshot “Will Smith”, Harley Quinn “Margot Robbie”, El Diablo “Jay Hermandez”, and Killer Croc “Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje” to lst just a few.
Okay, I know I’m usually fairly good with avoiding spoilers, but I do need to bring one up here in relation to the character Enchantress “Cara Delevingne”. So to give fair warning;
—ONE SPOILER IN THIS REVIEW!!!—
With that out of the way, let’s get right in to the matter at hand. I do indeed like the idea of a band of misfit villains being brought together to fight. It feels different, something that’s not just the same formula being served in a pleasing new design. It included characters I was being introduced to for the first time, as well as some that are icons in the Comic world. DC was promising a bit more humour, more colour, an overall more entertaining experience than their previous attempts. I had my worries, but things looked hopeful!
And in some aspects, I have to admit they have succeeded. You need only look at the opening weekend revenues to see this was a riot of a success in financial terms. When you have a product that’s going to bring more than just the regular audience into your film, it is a very good sign. And there did appear to be a better visual palette overall too. A bit more bright, using lots of vibrant pastels for the likes of Harley Quinn and The Joker. The overly-dramatic Hans Zimmer score was gone, and so was the intrusive Zach Snyder slo-mo moments.
Props go too to some of the actor choices. Will Smith as Deadshot was an excellent choice. He was given the most emotionally-deep storyline, that gave moments where you really felt for him. Even though you had that voice telling you he was someone not to root for… he illustrated some humanity. The same can be said for El Diablo, although to a lesser extent. Still, his arc was interesting. Both these characters had their time to shine in the bar scene – by far the best scene in the whole thing where everyone just sits down and talks through what’s going on with them. It was a glimmer of light through the windows that, if it had been woven more into the screenplay, would have given this some massive credential.
As for other good aspects to highlight, Margot Robbie really captures the look and style of Harley Quinn. She is unpredictable, wild, constantly hovering on the edge between manic glee and violence. She really does the character a service, and even the visual aesthetic she has in here… yeah, kind of looks awesome. Thirteen year olds are going to have a new pin-up, and don’t give me the criticising glare over that – that will be a fact. We move now to the
portion about the movie’s true villain Enchantress, and her design is astonishingly good. I was not expecting her to be a major part at all, but her transformation scenes, and her overall movements and stance, were genius. The actress does a wonderful job in bringing her to life and making her feel so awesoemely threatening.
I would love if things could carry on with that vibe, and have me end with pinning the movie with a gold badge and a pat on the back for a job well done. Good work, DC is back on track. But this isn’t going to be one of those reviews, and the reasons why are going to take a while.
Let’s start with some of the big ones that appeared in the trailer. The Joker (played by Jared Leto) is just awful. He struggles to appear in twentl=y minutes of the running time, and ultimately doesn’t have any real role in the main plot of the story. And I hate to say it, but Jared performs what must be one of the weakest Joker roles I have seen. There’s just very little going on, none of the mind games being played on the characters, and one scene has him giving Harley to some dude for sex, and then goes crazy when the guy says no. The Joker is usually disturbing, but infectious to watch – here he is just disturbing and dull. Harley Quinn is disappointing to a lesser extent. She looks and acts in exactly the right way, but the script doesn’t scintillate or snap with the energy her character deserves. As for Enchantress – the way she turns out in the third act is massively disappointing, taking on the cliche stance in front of the light beam shooting into the sky which we have seen a thousand times before. To create such a wonderfully designed character and then have her do this is just an insult.
Then there’s the way the majority of the film is stitched together. Whatever happened between the first main trailer and the feature, it caused an editing massacre that led to the entire structure feeling like it was done back-to-front. The start comprises all of the character back story (each one including a pop-culture song to increasingly annoying effect), that doesn’t succeed in really defining the characters that much at all. Scenes feel very choppy, and the long walk through the streets is ver conveniently devoid of any other human life. I have to applaud the emergency services for evacuating that entire city so fast the movie couldn’t even take note of it. The evil minions to which our team must face on these streets are just dull, faceless monsters that doesn’t work to either introduce any excitement, or even worse, validate why this team in particular was chosen to taken them out. I mean, Haley Quinn is going up against them with a bat and one pistol, why is she even there? In a world that has Batman, The Flash and (yes) Superman, it starts getting laughable.
Lastly, we get to what must have been the biggest headache for the production and post-production teams. The movie seems to be going for a dark tone, as well as a humourous tone at the same time. And all within the confines of a PG-13 rating. But after all the editing, re-shoots of scenes and so on, we are left with something that lacks enough devotion to either. There are a few dark moments, and a few funny ones too, but without the elements binding together in a pleasing manner they are dis-jointed. In a movie where they are working very hard to introduce new characters along with set up “The Justice League” in the future, this is a severe blow.
And with that last point in consideration, I am baffled at how DC could let this drop with such a disappointingly dull thud. Sure it will punch up their finances, but when you are knee-deep into developing a cinematic universe, that isn’t playing for the long run. How did something that showed potential falter so badly??
Suicide Squad” is not as bad as “Batman Vs. Superman”. I think that is worthy of emphasising here. There are the good aspects that I pointed out near the start that indeed showed the smart choices in some of the casting, as well as the attempt to take on a different visual tone. It was not devoid of any redemption, and under the right frame of mind and circumstances, you could walk out of it having had a fun time. But I can’t say the same. The problems mounted up at an alarming rate right from the get-go, and I was left feeling like it was all a colossal mess. Someone needed to come in and really get this production back on track, and it could have been saved. But instead we are left with something that is just below “Thor 2: The Dark World” in terms of a rating for me. Fuck…. I’m as surprised at that fact as you are.
Thanks for reading!