Another DC film, another miss. While Suicide Squad brings together a bunch of fun characters and actually takes the time to develop them, it misses on just about every other level of filmmaking.
So there’s good news and bad news when it comes to Suicide Squad. Good news: it’s likely that Suicide Squad is the best theatrical release from the DCU. Bad news: it’s still a pretty bad movie overall. After first viewing the movie, there was no doubt in my mind that I knew how I felt about the movie. The criticisms are similar to what I’ve said about Batman vs. Superman. The story is disappointing, the pace is shoddy, and the pieces just don’t add up. The biggest difference between the two movies though? The characters look like they’re actually having a good time. Just a warning, there may be brief spoilers for both Suicide Squad and BvS.
Taking place after the events of Dawn of Justice, the thought behind bringing a squad of the world’s most dangerous criminals: what if there’s another Superman, but this time he’s a terrorist? Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) pitches the idea and gets it approved after showing just how effective some of their potential agents could be. The members of her new super group consist of: Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Slipknot, Killer Croc (Adewale A), and Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). An assassin, a psychopath, a thief, an arsonist, an escapist, an animal, and a witch. The group are led by Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), who routinely reminds the group that with a press of the button, he can kill them. Safe to say, the party’s just getting started.
While this is happening, The Joker (Jared Leto) is planning to get his Harley back. That’s…really all he does. To be honest, the only reason for throwing The Joker in this particular movie seemed to be for Harley’s flashbacks. Otherwise, if this is the version of The Joker that we’re in for, this tattoo’d up mafia-lite version…well…moving on. Without spoiling the movie, one of the Squad members ends up going rogue has plans to, what a surprise, take over the world and kill humanity.
There’s a lot of flaws with Suicide Squad, so for once instead of focusing on the flaws I find myself compelled to talk about the good. This is easily the best acted DCU film to date, and you actually are given a chance to care about the characters. While the flashback sequences may not always work out, the ones that do really stick with you. Particularly, Will Smith as Deadshot is given a lot to work with and he knocks it out of the park. The biggest surprise throughout the whole film is Jay Hernandez as Diablo, who out of all the characters presented on screen was given what was likely the best arc throughout the whole film. As far as the most badass character goes, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. No doubt. She steals every scene that she’s in and in a film of criminals and supervillains, she may just be the baddest person in the whole film.
So while David Ayer does get the character representations right, it’s the rest of the film that remains a mess. It sort of feels like a bad rip off of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, giving each character their own sort of theme song at random points throughout the film. But considering that Suicide Squad shares similar criticisms to Batman vs. Superman, questions have to be directed at the brain trust of DC. If every film is following a similar sort of formula and sharing similar shortcomings, that can’t just be on the directors and screenwriters that are brought in. At some point blame has to be directed for the style of movies that DC is trying to make. Frankly, it’s not working out too well for them and it’s a shame because they have some of the most interesting and complex characters within the comic book world. There’s going to be a lot of pressure on future DC films, particularly Wonder Woman, and if DC is unable to get that one right, there may be changes coming soon for the future.
Suicide Squad is written and directed by David Ayer and stars Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, and Cara Delevingne. Suicide Squad will be in theaters August 5th, 2016.