In a world where audiences cannot get enough of superheroes, comics and geeking over the impossibly feverish fade of comic book hero’s adapted onto the big screen, DC Comics is trying to cash in on this highly lucrative cinematic craze by developing a feature length feature, and their competition to The Avengers with Suicide Squad. Yet, if we really look at the bigger picture of Suicide Squad, one can easily see some stark differences, for example; none of the characters are really superheroes but villains; none of the characters presented are really recognizable names, with the exception of The Joker (who isn’t even a member of the squad in the film) and Harley Quinn (who is destined to become a household character by the end of this film, with the help of Margot Robbie of course), and, if not most importantly, assembling a team together, including cast and crew, that couldn’t be more, disassembled.
Quite frankly, Suicide Squad is a complete disaster and mess of a film. The writing of the film is so incoherent, it makes the objective of the team and the audience really question as to why they are doing it altogether. The direction of the film feels forced and almost lacking any artistic creativeness by David Ayer and more-so of a forced studio film shoved down the artistic team’s throat, and, the story is just convoluted, discombobulated and weak. Ayer, who was on my radar of becoming one of my fav directors, blending, almost effortlessly, the use of action with real-world comedy, thanks to the near-perfect End of Watch, shits the bed on this one.
With such star power, including the uncompromising Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, and the once attached Tom Hardy, you would think Suicide Squad was a film with some massive potential to wreck box-office havoc at the end of a very disappointing 2016. Yet, the film itself is a very sad excuse for a summer blockbuster, insulting its audience with any sort of artistic and cinematic credit.
While the narrative of the story has been told before, like seriously, almost exactly like the narrative in the first Avengers. Just to refresh, here is it; A loved one of one of the team members (Thor’s brother’s Loki in the Avengers and Nick Flag’s (Joe Kinnaman) girlfriend June Moone, also know by her villain name Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) in this one, wreck havoc on a city, a team gathers to save the city (New York City in the Avengers, Gotham in this film). Coming out of the gates, the film does not have much street credit.
Suicide Squad was easily one of the most anticipated and exciting movies of summer sixteen. The trailer, which features one of the best bands ever assembled singing one of the best musical arrangements ever created, was easily one hell of a ride to watch. Unfortunately, some of the best parts of the film were featured in the trailer, which took away and ruined the film overall, or, the music just brought the best in the footage. After all, its pretty hard not enjoying watching anything while listening to the angelic voice of Freddie Mercury.
While the movie did feature the likes of Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, the sadistic mastermind behind the formation of the Suicide Squad, in a compelling and completely engaging role as a devilish, heartless and soulless women, who takes her job WAY too seriously, the only real redemption the movie has is Will Smith and Margot Robbie, and I mention those named quite carefully. Notice how I didn’t say Deadshot and Harley Quinn, the characters these actors are playing. Smith, who is an excellent actor whom audiences love whole-heartedly, did not play an interpretation of the almost obscure comic book character. Smith, in turn, essentially just plays himself, in a film adaptation where he must kick ass, save the world and give the occasional motivational speech. Its hard not to like Will Smith in anything really (we will completely ignore After Earth), hence why much of the good criticism will come from him, but people will quickly forget that Will Smith is a likeable guy, but did he give a spot on, target approve depiction of a DC comic book baddie, heck no.
With Margot Robbie, one of the hottest and most attractive Hollywood actresses working today, its hard not to like her in anything, especially when for the duration of the film, she is featured in very sexy short-shorts and ripped nylons, as well as while the camera takes the liberty of shooting her from behind most of the time. Geeks and fanboys, compose yourself! Again, Robbie, A HIGHLY alluring and charming actress, who, if wasn’t already, will surely be a house hold name after only one studio film, plays the best version of herself, with some sort of an accent, doesn’t really play a version of the iconic sidekick to The Joker, rather, just an amazing companion to Deadshot, which shouldn’t be hard, especially since the two have shared the screen before in Focus, showing the same caliber chemistry as Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The chemistry between the two is so good, it comes to no wonder why Jada Pinkett Smith was worried when rumours were circulating about affair rumours between the two.
One of the most disappointing, yet, expected factors of the film, comes of course in the form of Jared Leto. Leto, who came into this film fresh off his Oscar win in The Dallas Buyers Club always had, to say the least, TREMENDOUS shoes to fill after the remarkable and by far masterful performance of Heath Ledger in Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Leto, who knew of these massive expectations, took the role anyways, always elevating his acting to new levels. While the production of this film was legendary, so were the antics that Leto supposedly got away with with methoding his joker role through the whole production time. Pranking his co-stars, cast & crew as well as his director, sometimes pushing the envelope in unexpected ways, never really gave a new and daring take on The Joker. Although it can be argued, Leto doesn’t have more than maybe ten minutes of screen time overall, as well as some very poorly written material about his characters and life while in prison after being captured by Batman, Leto creates hardly anything from practically nothing. No magic tricks here.
Then of course, there’s Batman, also known as Bruce Wayne, played famously by Ben Affleck, as of now. Affleck, who is riding the wave off being an exceptional producer, writer, actor, director, can seriously do no wrong. His acquiring the rights for the next cinematic Batman reboot, as well as continuing his streak as Batman going into the Justice League, really shows Warner Brother Pictures faith in the man who had the best image resurrection in Hollywood since Robert Downey Jr.
Sadly, Suicide Squad does nothing to promote these group of rag-tag villains turned heart-warming characters who save the world. Their motives are never really given due justice, with the exception of Diablo, played by Jay Hernandez, who at first, refuses to fight, then finds purpose and redemption in their previous unwanted actions. Members such as Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Slipknot (Adam Beach), and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) are given their due character development arcs, and rather, just become poorly contrived and sadly executed racial and stereotypical slurs for humour and action within the film. Two dimensions may even be given them too much credit.
One of my biggest peeves with Suicide Squad as a whole is, the film never really tries to establish these characters in the world of cinema. Batman still makes an appearance in the film, for no particular reason at all, as does The Joker and other recognizable DC property, such as The Flash (Ezra Miller). With Marvel, during the promotion and eventual release of Guardians of the Galaxy, none of the characters in the film were properties that many audience members knew or recognize. Yet, the studio, created a standalone film that not only kept most of the characters from the universe away, but also created a film that made all of the unknown characters likeable, popular and fascinating. Sadly, the same cannot be said with Suicide Squad.
Director David Ayer, who wrote/directed a couple of stellar films in the last couple of years, really jumped the gun with Suicide Squad. Although rumours suggest, the film was more of a studio pushed, rushed production, and less of a creative and cinegeek work of art, Ayer’s name is obviously front and centre on this one, which doesn’t boast well for him. Even the stylistic choices for the promotional and marketing in the film, as well as the stylistic choices used in the film, yes, we are talking about that coughed out neon graffiti thats used to label all the characters, the use of flashbacks within the film, that never really resonates with the audience and rather insults their ability to take in a movie and trust their ability to retain information about the characters and the story, really gives the movie a trashy and almost ignorant aura.
Suicide Squad can only be hailed as a flop. Maybe not commercially, but critically, stylistically and as a whole, without question. As the taglines all over the promotional material suggests, “worst heroes ever”, we can’t help but wonder if this is a literal tagline subliminally added by the direct, or just the studio really making it obvious how far lost their summer flop really is.
Night Film Reviews: 1 Out of 10 Stars.
Is Suicide Squad as bad as we make it seem? Are there any redeeming factors to the film at all? Let us know if you and your squad formed to see this one.