Underwhelming, Arkham City knock-off. Alternatively, someone attempting to do Guardians of the Galaxy and ending up with bad Avengers fanfiction. It's a sad day when I, who has defended the DC Movie universe pretty fiercely, just can't muster much energy for this particular round of it. It's doubly worse because Suicide Squad was the movie I was most looking forward to.
I wrote the Supervillainy Saga novels because I loved villainous protagonists and the black comedy of things like The Secret Six as well as the original John Ostrander Suicide Squad. I also had high hopes for this because they already did the definitive Suicide Squad movie in the Batman: Assault on Arkham animated movie (reviewed here). Do that! Only with live action!
And they didn't.
|Harley, because everyone loves Harley.|
If The Avengers is a Twinkie, then this is a Twinkie which has been smashed up with a hammer into an unappetizing mess.
You may think I'm being unfair but I'll let my summary of the movie speak for itself: The United States government as represented by Amanda Waller (as played by Viola Davis) wants to assemble an anti-Superman squad which they create from a bunch of Batman villains, a few of which have superpowers, and then immediately lose control over the one which actually could do damage to Superman (The Enchantress as played by Cara Delevigne). The DCU movieverse's Superman is dead at this time so this is doubly confusing but is perhaps the most believable part as government bureaucracy never lets reality get in the way of a acquiring funding.
|Just a wee bit too big for a team with too few deaths.|
There's an extended flashback to Harley Quinn's origins which involves Batman (Ben Affleck). Eventually, the group has an existential crisis, gets drunk, and goes to kill the Enchantress as well as her evil brother-god-thing. The Joker rescues Harley Quinn, which I think we're supposed to be happy about and the movie ends.
The term overcrowded is one which is applicable as there's just too many characters fighting for screen-time. If I were to redo this movie I'd say you really don't need anyone but Amanda Waller, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Slipknot, and Diablo. I add Slipknot because you really can't do the Suicide Squad without his role in it.
|I want that car for my wife.|
It's not like the Joker hasn't threatened whole cities before. Have him gas the city to become a bunch of psychotic marauders or steal a magic doo-dad. I don't care, just give us someone we'd actually want the Suicide Squad to play off of.
|Yes, I'm quaking in my boots here.|
Watching this movie is like a checklist of scenes from movies I'd actually want to watch. Ben Affleck's Batman vs. Joker and Harley Quinn, in fact, is pretty much a better 20-minute movie than the rest of the film and probably something I'd prefer watching by itself.
The movie knew they had an easy victory with Harley Quinn and if they'd done her as part of the aforementioned Batman movie, this probably would have been a really well-liked movie. Margot Robbie does the crazy, sexy, cutsie, tragic thing which is the hallmark of the character and something which should rightly be considered the best part of the film. Even so, the relationship with the Joker is lacking its usual abusive elements so you almost think the movie is trying to tell us she should be with Jared Leto's Joker rather than someone we should pity having fallen under his Manson-esque sway. Not cool movie, not cool at all.
|Jared is more The Boss from Saints Row than the Joker.|
After decades of the Joker being a serial killer as well as nihilist terrorist, I don't mind one who actually functions as a barely functional ultraviolence-prone crime boss. In fact, he reminds me a bit of how Alex from A Clockwork Orange might have grown up in the DCU and that's not too bad a thing. Even so, he's basically a massive dose of energy to the film which appears then quickly disappears.
|Will, I don't buy you as Deadshot at all.|
Why isn't Will Smith the new Green Lantern? John Stewart would have been the perfect character for him and his smooth easy charisma fits the Justice League better than the cold-blooded psychopaths the Suicide Squad are supposed to be.
The movie was clearly rewritten numerous times as there's several plotholes, scenes which don't connect clearly, and places where characters are encouraged to do things they've already done in the movie. I really think Warner Brothers needs to talk to their editor, writers, or both because the their stitching together of scenes are more Frankenstein than surgical. I suspect the movie was originally going to be far darker but they decided to accent on the comedy, only it's still pretty damn dark and not in a funny sort of Joker-esque way.
The pop soundtrack is overused and it seems like they were trying to use music to provide a sense of energy which the film itself was lacking. It sometimes works but quite a few of the songs don't really go together well and I think they'd have done better to stick with a purely 80s collection of pop tunes. They do, admittedly, spruce up the action scenes which seem to lack the humor and spectacle which a Suicide Squad movie should have. This is the sort of movie where you need to believe a man with a boomerang can kill a bunch of Special Forces operatives.
|Why am I not seeing this movie?|
Which actually gets to another problem of the film that it doesn't really know where to set up characters. Rick Flag and Diablo get a lot of character building when I think that should have better been used elsewhere. If anyone should have serious family issues and a story arc about redemption in a Suicide Squad movie then it should be Deadshot.
Anyway, I've ripped on this movie enough. I think its extremely disappointing and I left the film feeling frustrated because there were a lot of parts which almost came together but fumbled before they could make a touchdown.