Suicide Squad has faced a massive identity crisis. The first trailer gives us a feeling of darkness and twisted evil that overpowers all feeling. The second (Bohemian Rhapsody) and third (Ballroom Blitz) trailers ex hue a feeling of lightheartedness and fun. So what is it going to be? Neither because Suicide Squad is a mess of a movie that is filled with poor editing, an often dreadful script, and obscure tone and pacing issues. There are definitely good moments within the movie, such as good character interactions and solid action. Suicide Squad looked so promising and just falls short of expectations as a mixed bag of fun and missteps.
Let’s go over the great elements of the movie, this mostly includes Will Smith as Deadshot. His performance in Suicide Squad is easily the best as he’s the most interesting character. He’s given a muse and compelling backstory where you care about him. He’s the lead breakout in the movie along with Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Deadshots moments include a few great action sequences and the best character building in the movie. When he is front and center, you’re usually in for a good time. The character does occasionally succumbs to some poor dialogue, but that is only to fault of the writer. The characters themselves guide the movie to the best direction because Suicide Squad is so well cast.
Margot Robbie honors everything about the character of Harley Quinn. While I don’t think her performance or dialogue are anything to write home about, they still attribute well to the movie and what I know of the character. Jai Courtney surprised the hell out of me because he’s really fun as Captain Boomerang. He has a particular interaction with another character that is a high point of the movie. I really enjoyed Katana in this movie and El Diablo had a mostly satisfying character ark. The casting agent did a phenomenal job because all these characters feel exactly as they should be, aside Killer Croc. It pleases me as a huge DC fan to see these characters come to life and expressed through the right talent. This movie lacks a good script because the dialogue muddles everything good about the characters down.
There are some really strong moments in this movie with that in mind. Deadshot communicating with any member of the team often makes for highlight material. El Diablo’s story is a compelling one to boot. I really wish that Harley had a better ark with The Joker. I can see that Jared Leto is trying his best to do something with the character. He takes vocal inspiration from Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson. While Heath was anarchic, Jack was deranged, Leto is insane and a gangster. I appreciate this approach but every scene with the Joker is too short and forgettable. You can tell that a myriad of content was cut with him and it’s a damn shame because the movie is brimming with possibility.
I really enjoyed the first third of this movie as it establishes our anti-heroes, it’s regrettably brought down by bad editing. There is at least 10 songs that play during the first thirty minutes of this movie. One minute ‘Fortunate Son’ is playing and fifteen seconds later a Kanye West song takes charge. This pacing and tone make it difficult to follow. This film really wants to have fun and engage the viewer in joining in the jeer, but the tone just make the changes so extreme that you’re just left scratching your head. I can say that any moment Batman was on-screen is a blast, however these moments are far too few.
Overall the plot of Suicide Squad is a decent one that gives for some good character moments. It’s nothing to really highlight, but it’s a serviceable plot with some standout moments. The villains steal the show, even Amanda Waller makes for more of a forceful presence than the big bad of the movie. The direction of the action scenes is done very well, it makes for a high point to the movie. Often the stakes feel high and other times it doesn’t feel like there are any stakes.
It’s disappointing that Suicide Squad came as such a mixed bag. For every point of strong dialogue, there’s a counterpoint of cringeworthy dialogue. For every good scene, there’s a mediocre one to mirror it. It’s a shame because it sounds like director, David Ayer, had a much different and better film before WB tampered with his vision and released this cut. This movie feels like it really wants to be Guardians of the Galaxy and there’s so many unique elements to it that it really doesn’t need to try to emulate it. This movie will appeal to some of the hardcore fans, but even speaking as one I left the theater just disappointed because it deserved to be so much better. The original cut is a movie I want to see, until then we’re just left with a mess of highs and lows.
Suicide Squad Review
Posted by Paul Minnich Critics on Thursday, 4 August 2016