DC has desperately tried to compete with Marvel as the bigger, badder, darker and grittier comic book juggernaut by launching its own cinematic universe. Unfortunately, its line up has made it a colossal embarrassment of the comic book world rather than the worthy rival they hoped to be. After striking out twice with “Man of Steel” and “Batman vs. Superman,” they hope this new film’s approach will put them back on the map and off of the wall of shame. “Suicide Squad” is DC’s answer to Fox’s “Deadpool” and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” cobbling together (what they hope) are the most successful elements of both films to wipe some of the crud and crape they’re tarnished name has rapidly accumulated.
No-nonsense government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) assembles a crew of incarcerated supervillains to do the government’s dirty work, namely: take out the world’s growing threat of super powered beings for reduced sentencing and throwing them under the bus if they fail or try to escape. Commanded by Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), the team consists of top notch assassin; Deadshot (Will Smith), Joker’s (Jared Leto) psychiatrist-turned crazy clown girl; Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), demonic witch; Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), reptilian freak show; Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), berserker from down under; Captain Boomerang (Jay Courtney), peaceful pyromaniac; Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and soul stealing samurai; Katana (Karen Fukuhara).
Everything about this sounded like it was a good idea at the time: get a new director, new cast of characters that no one has put on the big screen before and focus it all on the villains. Having a bunch of bad guys being hijacked to discretely do the government’s dirty work or hopefully die trying? That REALLY does sound like it’d be something worth watching. Unfortunately, “Suicide Squad” is splattered together in the most half assed, poorly edited manner, even the best idea in the world can’t salvage this hot mess of a movie. The first half of the movie gives you rushed introductions to 2 of the 7 villains, while everyone else gets about as much backstory exposition as they do screen time: slim to none. The movie has no time to develop its cast and make sense of its muddled plot because it’s too busy shoving pop music and flashy editing tricks in a pathetic attempt to copy what “Guardians” and “Deadpool” did better.
This may be called “Suicide Squad” but as far as the film is concerned, it’s the “Deadshot and Harley Quinn” show. They’re performances are the only ones worth talking about because no one else gets enough effort or dialog put into their roles. To the cast’s credit, Margot Robbie really puts her heart into bringing this wildly beloved wacko to the big screen. She’s having fun, flashing killer smiles and kicking ass, despite the fact she’s sexualized to the point of looking like a burlesque star than a character. Viola Davis nails a solid performance as the cold/calculating Waller, Kinnamon surprisingly delivers impressive work and Jay Hernandez is the closest thing we have to a heart in this film. Everyone else just drops the ball even though they act like they have it well in hand, or gets sidelined into off screen obscurity.
Will Smith’s Deadshot may have a compelling backstory with his daughter, but it’s partially canceled out by Smith’s snarky, one liner attitude that removes any essence of the character he’s portraying and basically turns him into Will Smith being Will Smith in a Deadshot costume. I really WANTED to like Jay Courtney as Boomerang, but again, was given with too little to work with (and his agonizing Aussie accent doesn’t help either.) Worst of all comes from the one person everyone expected the greatest from: Jared Leto as the Joker. After all the promotional hype and Leto’s self-glorification of the dedication he put into this role, what are we left with? A lame ass, Juggalo pimp excuse for a Joker that appears for a whopping total of 15 minutes in the 2 hour film.
Practically all of the Joker’s scenes were cut or edited from the original film due to his excessive mistreatment of Harley Quinn leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths (despite the fact that is 100% ACCURATE to the character and his relationship with his mad doll girlfriend). Truthfully though, I don’t really care if Leto’s scenes were cut because he’s so obnoxiously annoying and uninspiring, the less I see of his grunting and growling grill teeth the better. He acts more like a pimped out version of an Insane Clown Posse fan than the Clown prince of crime. The villain and overall endgame was a fragmented mess of inconsistent plotlines and choppy editing trying to hide its massive dents and dings under music video quality soundtracks. Anyone expecting to see this movie for the Joker or to expect DC’s cinematic universe to pull a 180 on its quality levels will be assaulted with disappointment and forced Justice League hints.
This could have been fun, no; this SHOULD have been fun and daring and different and something wild and crazy to offer some hope that DC can stop being the stain of the comic book movie universe. But alas, DC is destined to be the giant pile of dino crap that Dr. Sadler sticks her hands into in “Jurassic Park”: no matter how deep you dig into their inner workings, you don’t find anything except more crap and more disappointment. Saying “Suicide Squad” is the best DC universe movie is like saying “Breaking Dawn: Part 2” is the best movie in the “Twilight” saga: it’s a loser even if it’s the only winner in the litter.
I give “Suicide Squad” 1 and ½ stars out of 4.
By Rob Jefchak