Suicide Squad, DC, movie, film, Batman, Joker, Jared Leto

Suicide Squad (2016) – Review

Oh dear.

Thanks to the early onslaught of negative reviews, I went into Suicide Squad with pretty low expectations. I think it’s fair to say they weren’t met. This was never a film I was desperately excited about in the first place, admittedly, but I like David Ayer (silly Marvel comments aside) and think he’s made some great films in the past.

I can only assume Ayer’s cut was a lot more fun (and interesting and coherent) than the version we got, which creaks all over the place with the weight of last-minute studio intervention. That seems to have damaged the film considerably, but Suicide Squad suffers in the first place from a seriously messy script which lacks any kind of direction or tone, and loses all plausibility the moment it tries to set things up. The film’s reasons for assembling the Suicide Squad in the first place are pretty much: “What if another Superman comes along and what if he doesn’t share our ideals?” Well, you’d all die regardless of who you hire. That’s what would happen. And they’re some pretty big ifs to warrant taking such a risk.

But whether evil Superman enters the equation or not, hiring this bunch of villains to save the world fundamentally doesn’t make sense. I know it’s based on a comic, but however well that may work (or not, I haven’t read it), it completely fails to translate to the screen. It doesn’t matter how much Viola Davis scowls and tries to convince us this is the “only” option; with the exception of Deadshot, who’s really good with guns, and Diablo, who can incinerate a room in seconds, what makes the rest of these guys so much better than highly-trained SWAT officers?

Captain Boomerang is just an angry dude with knives. Killer Croc can just swim under water and throw things. The guy who can climb anything can…climb anything (don’t even get me started on how sloppily he’s thrown in half way through just so they can quickly prove what happens when one of the squad tries to go AWOL). Harley Quinn is just a slightly crazy woman with a bat whose cheekiness is more irritating than cute (though I like Margot Robbie in the role). When do they actually do anything that most good guys couldn’t do?

Just get Batman, The Flash and Katana on the job. They were already used to catch this lot.

Suicide Squad, review, movie, film

And crikey, as desperately as the whole thing tries to be cool and irreverent, it speaks volumes that Jai Courtney might be the most enjoyable thing in it. The first act’s jumbled editing and clunky pacing lays a foundation for an endless throng of classic rock tracks to be hurtled in aimlessly, before the flat humour and less than uninspiring dialogue bore us from our seats. I’ve read several comments along the lines of: “it’s just a bit of fun if you don’t think too much”, but I’m sorry, it just doesn’t get off that easily. Fast & Furious 7 is a bit of fun if you don’t think too much – this is just shit. There’s no joy, there’s no spark, and nothing makes sense.

And then there’s The Joker. Sorry, Jared, but it looks like all that sending dead pigs and used condoms to your co-stars nonsense didn’t do the trick after all (and by the way, what’s with that? It’s basically a glorified cameo). It’s not that Leto is particularly bad at what he’s doing, it’s that what he’s doing is bad. And it’s not about comparing it to Heath Ledger, either – this is just a poor version of The Joker that really, really wants to be a great one, but it’s way off the mark. They’ve made the character too much of a blinged-up, gun-toting punk; one that seems to be more about Jared Leto being mental than The Joker himself. You could also entirely cut him out of the movie and it wouldn’t make a difference.

As dumb as the premise of Suicide Squad is, there’s still a load of potential to make a really fun movie and it’s genuinely unfathomable how a studio like Warner Bros. could release something in such a pathetic state. And it is pathetic. Who wrote this thing and decided it didn’t need another draft? Who green-lit it? Who thought it would be a good idea cram tonally-conflicting scenes in at the last minute? How did an actor like Will Smith read this and think it would be worth his time? Who watched the final cut and thought it was acceptable?


Just a messy and irritating insult to filmmaking.

★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


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