Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Cast: Will Smith (Deadshot), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Jared Leto (Joker), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flag), Viola Davis (Amanda Waller), Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang), Jay Hernandez (El Diablo), Cara Delevingne (Enchantress)
Running Time: 123 minutes
Warning: Very Mild Spoilers in RED
Suicide Squad in my opinion was the must see movie of the summer. I was so excited for this movie and believed it would save the DCEU. Then the reviews came in. The band of DC villains forced to complete a secret mission fell on its face. With highly publicized re-shoots and rewrites, skepticism for the movie grew. However, I believed that Director David Ayer, superior to Zack Snyder in nearly every way imaginable, would redeem my faith in DC Extended Universe after Batman v Superman.
I honestly do not know how to describe Suicide Squad. Yes, it was a mess. I am not going to try to describe the plot because there was none. The Batman v Superman theatrical cut was awful. There was no logical way to defend it. I guess it was good fan an service and it was a rally against critics, but that is about it. The Ultimate Version simply added clarity that made the movie watchable. I did not agree with a lot of the creative decisions like making Batman a murderer, but the film was better.
While evaluating the DCEU, I find a couple main flaws.
1. The movies are poorly cut
2. The Studio is too involved once the movies start production
3. I just do not get some of the creative decisions.
The first two problems I feel are directly related. Batman v Superman felt weirdly cut. There is a lack of flow or structure. Again, the Ultimate Edition helped a lot but that still does not mean that was a great movie. Suicide Squad was also a mess. Again, there is no plot. It also felt like by the time we finally meet the characters, the movie it was almost over. The intro to the characters felt rushed. That could have easily been fixed by introducing fewer squad members. Katana could be cut easily. She was just there and played no role. Then I would cut either Killer Croc or Captain Boomerang. I did not like Croc at all but he may have been needed for plot. His comedic lines were awful and SO forced. Boomerang was actually pretty funny. Good job Jai Courtney, you were not terrible. Finally, I would have cut The Joker though I will get into this later.
As some of the characters are introduced, we get descriptions as simple as… she has a sword or he can climb anything. That was awful and must suck for fans who love those characters. Once the squad gets into the field they are awesome, and it is the best part of movie. They have mini fight scenes, but what works is the relationship among the squad. They grow on each other and start to work together. This is where Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Joel Kinnaman shined. While I hated some parts of Kinnaman’s character, he was great with Will Smith. There was a bond among the characters and felt like the movie was headed somewhere. Then the third act hit. It was God awful. If you divide the film into three acts, the first act/intro was ok. The second act was well done and gave me the vibe I got in the trailer. The third act was Fantastic Four bad. It was so bad. It made no sense, it was over the top CGI mess, and had random slow motion scenes that made you cringe. The climax was honestly uncomfortable to watch because without spoiling too much, there was weird dancing and an out of place voice dub. Trust me it was awful. I heard laughing from people in the audience. Then the finale ends and you think thank God that’s over and film has a simple closing with an after credits scene. The film felt like a mess and if you read the headlines about the re-shoots and script changes its clear the studio did not know what they were doing. While Marvel has made it clear that Kevin Feige is in charge, DC gave the power to the directors, most notably Zack Snyder (who was a producer on this film too). The thing I do not understand is why would Warner Bros give all of this power to the directors then take it away after the film went into production. Let the directors sink or swim if you give them the power. Do not put to many voices in the room and the film does not have a clear message. Should Ayer make another DCEU film, probably not? I would still rather watch his original version than the one I saw last night.
As for the characters, this movie felt a lot like Star Trek: Beyond though it was not nearly as good. This movie focused on the characters and had a bad villain which I said before is not a bad thing. In my Star Trek: Beyond review I said it can be done good and bad ways. This was the bad way.
The three actors that stole the film were Wil Smith, Viola Davis and Margot Robbie.
Will Smith was great, though at times I felt that he was simply playing himself. To his credit he did have the two best scenes in the movie. His relationship with his daughter worked and you felt bad for the guy. He was defiantly the straight man in the movie. He seemed like the normal character that audiences can relate to in a fictional world and it led to some really great jokes.
The two scenes were when Deadshot auditioned for Amanda Waller and Rick Flag it was fantastic as Black Skinhead played in the background. The other scene is when Will Smith has a shootout in the field earns the respect of the soldiers.
Viola Davis was just a bad ass. She was calm and evil it was intimidating to watch. While some parts of her character did not fit in the plot, she excelled when her role made sense.
Margot Robbie was fantastic but I did not like some of the creative decisions behind her character. When she was used properly she stole the show and I could not imagine anyone else in that role.. Some jokes felt forced, but enough of them hit for it to be a problem. I feel so conflicted when talking about this character because of how David Ayer presenter her. She is evil and has sex appeal, got it. But, the issue I have is that what is her relationship with the Joker and is she an independent female character. Is she in an abusive relationship with the Joker or are they partners in crime?
One of the biggest things that bugged me is when it was mentioned that she may be crazier than the Joker. That really bothered me. There is also a sexist scene towards the where it is implied Harley just wants to be a housewife in curlers and it really hurt the character for me. It really pissed me off. That put the final nail in the coffin that David Ayer should not have directed this movie. He does not understand how to use strong female characters and that is very disappointing. He also made June Moon/Enchantress a damsel in distress which sucked. Again, this is not the actors fault but instead it was the creative decisions and the director who is not great developing female characters.
The actor that was a surprise hit was El Diablo played by Jay Hernandez. He was the character I cared least about heading into the film and I was surprised how important he was to the plot. I thought he was the weak link, but instead he carried the second tier squad members. I would love to see him in future films because he was such an interesting character. El Diablo and Deadshot were the characters that felt most relate-able. However, El Diablo was the only squad member who felt bad for what he did. The others felt bad because they got caught.
Next, we get to Jared Leto’s Joker. And I can only grade it by saying incomplete. There is footage from Ayers original cut that exists, but I will wait to judge him when he is featured in a Batman Solo Film. If you are planning on seeing Suicide Squad just to see the Joker, I recommend that you do not go. My biggest problem with the Joker is that they bring down the Joker so they can elevate Harley. I mentioned the quote earlier about her being crazier. Not a spoiler that is in the trailers.
My biggest fear for Leto’s performance came true. I felt like he overacted at times and tried to hard too get out of Heath Ledger’s shadow. His performance does not come close to Ledger’s in The Dark Knight, but that does not mean it is bad. As Leto said so himself, “it’s probably one of the best performances, not just of a villain but maybe one of the best performances on film, period.” when asked about following Ledger. What I was angered about was the creative decisions behind the character. I did not love the tattoos originally, but got over them. I thought it was cool how they made him the head of the mob, but in my opinion they lost the true meaning in the character. David Ayer made Harley the most important person in the Joker’s life, but it should be Batman. The Joker’s main priority should be trying to beat and break Batman, not have a one dimensional high school relationship with Harley.
Leto was not great in his limited scenes but he was not terrible either. Most likely you will get the same feeling you had about him that one had walking into the theater. He is basically the same thing from the trailers, so there is not enough content to change your mind one way or another.
While I did not hate the movie, I am worried about the DCEU. I do think Warner Bros should consider a reboot if only a fraction of the audiences likes them, and those consist mainly on DC hardcore fans. If I were DC I would not start production on another film after Justice League. Hopefully, Wonder Woman will be good and put DC back on track, but the DC Universe lives and dies with Zack Snyder. His third strike would be Justice League and if that fails, then there is no going back .Warner Bros has to blow it up and give a blank check to either JJ Abrams or George Miller. While Abrams is not as good of a director, he excels in world building and restoring broken franchises. I get why the reboot is tough for fans because it means waiting and abandoning relatively well cast roles, but if the universe has no structure in the studio or behind the camera then it is doomed. Another key factor may be the reception to Leto’s performance. If it is panned by fans similar to Jesse Eiseneberg’s Lex Luther, then that is another reason to reboot. How can the DC universe survive without its two most iconic villains? The villains in DC are way more important than those at Marvel.
I did not like suicide squad as much as I wanted to, but it also was not as bad as I feared it to be.