Sometimes, films are unjustly judged. Other times, popular opinion needs to be challenged. Either way, this content will likely be unpopular.
Having only ever attempted to watch Suicide Squad once before (and having given up roughly halfway through), the idea of revisiting David Ayer’s DCEU villain team-up was not a particularly enticing prospect. However, in the interest of fastidiousness (in covering the DCEU as a whole), it seemed a necessary evil.
The first thing that sprung to mind was just how forced the film’s first few scenes are. Ayer seems to be intent on beating the viewer over the head with the film’s characters, regardless of the fact that they’ve not yet been introduced. This actually works as often as not, with the film’s characters being a real mixed bag of both interesting and forgettable figures in turn. This extends from its most minor named characters to its major ones: Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and El Diablo are genuinely interesting, whereas Katana, Enchantress/June Moone, and the Joker were not. Though its other characters show promise, this isn’t something that Suicide Quad pays any attention to, as overstuffed as it is with characters that it fails to introduce or explore properly.
Arguably two of the most high-profile cast members/characters are Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. The problem with Suicide Squad is that it confuses the characters with the actors that play them – particularly Deadshot, who is written to essentially be an amalgamation of previous Will Smith characters. This allows the actors to lend their own personal charms to the roles, but fails to establish them as characters that feel organic and individual to the world they inhabit. Robbie as Harley Quinn is perhaps the film’s saving grace, but even she feels wasted in numerous aspects.
The general story of the film is paradoxical. Though the stakes are potentially world-ending, there’s never a point at which this feels particularly urgent. Suicide Squad forces so much false quirkiness that there’s simply very little that allows it to deliver any reasonable indication of its stakes. Attempting to make characters who can be considered at best morally ambiguous into heroes is something that works in part (particularly with the characters whose motivations are properly established), but generally unearned, leaving Suicide Squad ringing pretty hollow.
One final criticism is Suicide Squad‘s heavy and inconsistent CGI. At times, it’s passable, but its climactic battle consists almost entirely of computer-generated nonsense that just isn’t able to feel even remotely engaging. It’s decidedly predictable, and when it finally draws to a close, it falls so flat that it’s almost painful to watch.
Suicide Squad tried to do something new by reworking tried and tested ideas, and it came off exactly as one would expect: schlocky, badly-written garbage. Other than introducing a few key DCEU characters, it’s a film that serves no real purpose – and therefore, probably isn’t worth revisiting.
Summary: Suicide Squad takes an interesting concept and then dulls its edges with Hollywood’s most standard superhero action treatment. The result is utter trash with a few interesting and entertaining moments peppered in, offering a glimpse of what might have been had it been better written, better acted, or better handled.
Highlights: The characters of Harley Quinn and El Diablo were actually fairly interesting, and Robbie’s performance was perhaps the only standout of the film.