Getting old sucks. Well not that I’m that old either, I don’t possess any real wisdom or skills that would indicate any sort of age. I get ID’d at bars. They think I look 12. Maybe a more appropriate thing to say is that ceasing to be a kid kind of sucks. With respect to movies such as Suicide Squad, for example. Trust me, I wanted nothing more than to think this movie was big dumb fun, full of goofiness and cool explosions and one-liners. And if I was 13, I probably would have actually thought that. But I’m not 13, and Suicide Squad is not big, dumb fun. It’s not even big and dumb, it’s mostly just dumb.
No Superman to be Found, Thank God
Hot on the heels of Batman V Superman, a movie which we all agreed on being shit, comes Suicide Squad, a sort of DC villain equivalent of the Avengers. You’ve got an ensemble of B-List DC villains: Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Diablo, Killer Croc, you get the idea, and they are forced into reluctantly saving the world by some shady government people.
Okay, on paper this sounds pretty cool. Of course it sounds cool, nobody heard the premise for Suicide Squad and thought “wow sounds pretty boring”, however, this is EXACTLY what the movie turned out to be. It was boring. The characters were mostly flat and underdeveloped. The action was incredibly underwhelming. The plot was so janky and awkwardly spliced together (possibly due to re-shoots and edits in response to the backlash over Batman V Superman’s overly dark tone) and what results is visually bland, uninspired, and pretty cringy.
No Starlord Either…
What seems to have happened with this movie was that they were creating a gritty, violent Usual Suspects-esque movie, and halfway through they decided they wanted to make an action-comedy. And they tried, I think? There is this weird disconnect of dark, dreary visuals with bland violence, but then you have a bunch of forced 70’s and 80’s pop songs playing in the background and awkward punchlines served up between all of it, making it seem like the producers watched Guardians of the Galaxy, pointed at it and said “just make the entire movie like THAT.” There is a complete unevenness to how the film presents everything, and neither half is particularly good.
A Little Batman Though…
Tone aside, the editing in Suicide Squad is total crap, once again a result of the film deciding to be something entirely different halfway through post-production. Flashbacks happen at random times for no reason. It takes around half the movie to bring the team together whilst providing nearly no character development. The first act is a mishmash of scenes that don’t really connect to each other, with a couple of clunky character intros that don’t really serve a purpose other than to show some scenes with Batman.
Even after all of this baggage, the action sequences aren’t even that good. The lighting choices seem pretty ill-advised, fight scenes take place in dark, grey, office buildings and dark, grey, demolished streets and my GOD this is such a dark film, literally. You can’t even see the creatures the characters are fighting, just because how everything is so poorly lit and it all sort of blends together into a washed out mess.
In West Gotham City I Was Born and Raised
I’m being a little harsh here. Will Smith and Margot Robbie, incidentally, do a pretty solid job portraying their characters. Will Smith is literally just playing Will Smith, but I’ve always this persona pretty likeable and it suits his character and motivation well enough. Robbie also really engages herself in the role of Harley Quinn, so it’s unfortunate that the script often uses her as a device to just serve up shitty punchlines after action set pieces. Her portrayal is interesting and she gets a quick scene where her character is completely heartbroken, and it’s actually pretty well done.
Should You Care?
I watched this great video by the Nerdwriter about how Batman V Superman failed because it was more occupied with creating “epic moments”, rather than good scenes. I feel like to an extent Suicide Squad suffers the same problem. David Ayer seems so predisposed with creating these nifty shots where Deadshot does something cool, or Harley Quinn has a crazy one-liner, that the pieces don’t really fit together into a cohesive whole. The plot is choppy, the character interaction is awkward. Save for a few decent performances and some okay jokes, this movie didn’t really wow me, despite every box is checked on the “ensemble action-comedy” list. Skip it.