Movie Review | Suicide Squad
Countdown to Justice League - the nadir. The premise for this film is strange in itself: a team of villains we haven't actually seen any heroes face yet, being forced to act like heroes and save the day. Secondly, why a group of bad guys rather than any of the other heroes DC owns? Baffling decisions abound in Suicide Squad.
Movie Summary: A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force. Their first mission: save the world from the apocalypse. (IMDb)
And this is where the DC cinematic shared universe hits rock bottom. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a mess, but I think Zack Snyder had a clear idea of what he wanted to do, but was forced to add lot of extra material tying in other properties demanded by Warner Bros and DC.
Suicide Squad doesn’t have that, although the production issues that plagued the film are more than likely to blame for that. I’d rather avoid talking about a movie’s production when looking at the final product, but I think it’s absolutely necessary here.
Lots of movies have re-shoots, and often extensive re-shoots, so they’re not the important thing here. The issue was how much the film changed from how it was originally intended by director David Ayer, to how WB/DC wanted it to be.
The reason for the changes? The reaction to the lighter tone and humour-filled trailer that exploded in popularity convinced the powers that be to go back and change the tone of the film almost completely – and, honestly, it’s very visible in the final product.
Suicide Squad is a Frankenstein’s monster of a movie: it looks, sounds and turns out to be a tonal mish-mash that never works properly, often from one scene to the next. It’s astonishing how much of this film simply never works, although there’s also little sign of there ever being any good here; maybe Ayer’s original vision might have turned out just as bad after all.
First off, the film looks a mess. Being fair, this is almost appropriate considering how over-designed and busy the looks of the main characters are. Everything always looks too cluttered, with some sub-standard and unnecessary CGI certainly not helping.
The soundtrack doesn’t help though, with a number of popular licensed tracks scattered throughout the film because… they could? Honestly, none of them makes any real tonal or thematic sense; it really feels like songs were picked and dropped into the film simply because they sounded cool.
It’s like DC saw what Marvel did with Guardians of the Galaxy’s Awesome Mix and thought it would be easy to replicate, forgetting that those songs were written into the script and fitting for the material. Suicide Squad’s soundtrack has some great music on it, but none of it makes any sense in the context of the film of what any given scene is trying to do.
The movie’s aesthetics could possibly be forgiven if the characters or story were great, but the film lives up to its title by botching both of these as well. Seriously, the story is so simple and wafer-thin, that you’ll wonder how it was stretched up to film length.
Spoiler alert, because here it is: Amanda Waller assembles the Squad in response to Superman’s appearance, one of them (Cara Delvigne’s wavy-armed Enchantress) goes rogue to enact her own plan for world domination and the rest of the team are sent to stop her. Seriously, that’s it.
It doesn’t help that the running time is padded out by often repeating scenes for what seems like no other purpose than these scenes had been shot and needed to go in the film somewhere. This is despite giving every Squad member their own little freeze frame to say who they are and what they can do, because why bother actually showing us that rather than telling us and having an empty, bloated film?
I really feel sorry for the movie’s two biggest stars in Will Smith and Margot Robbie as Deadshot and Harley Quinn. They’re clearly giving it their all and, being the two biggest names, are given more screen time than others as a result. But even their best efforts aren’t enough to salvage this waste of time.
Suicide Squad is an almost-complete failure from start to finish. There are a handful of scenes which are actually any good, but the majority of the film is so poorly put together that they only highlight how bad everything else is. A request: no sequel please.