Suicide Squad Director: David Ayer Writer: David Ayer Producer: Charles Roven & Richard Suckle Distributer: Warner Bros. Pictures
Note: This review contains spoilers, you’ve been warned.
If you been paying attention to modern pop culture as of late, you’d know the ever-growing popularity of the comic book movie genre. It began largely thanks in due to 2000’s X-Men and recently has exploded with the Marvel Cinematic Universe(MCU)(beginning with 2008’s Iron Man) and its first accumulation with 2012’s The Avengers. Since then, other movie studios have tried to create their own superhero cinematic universe, using the MCU as a template. From Sony’s failed Spider-Man universe to the in the spotlight Warner Bros.(WB), DC Extended Universe(DCEU).
The DCEU’s most recent film, Suicide Squad, was just released this past weekend. While a box office success grossing over $135m domestically its opening weekend, its come under fire by critics with a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes and mixed/polarizing reception from fans. This is far from what WB was hoping for, as the later two DCEU movies have had similar reactions. That being Man of Steel(MoS), which was released in June of 2013 and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice(BvS), which came out this past March.
Unfortunately this has unsurprisingly prompted some ignorant fans, who can’t seem to fathom the fact that other people are entitled of having a different opinion then them, to start a petition to shut down the Rotten Tomatoes website. Further exploiting their ignorance as the website doesn’t review movies, they only aggregate movie critic scores and give it a percentage based score off the positive vs. the negative reviews. Before I turn this into an editorial on my hatred of blind fanboys, lets talk about Suicide Squad.
I was really looking forward to this movie. I had a real distaste for both MoS and BvS but I had hopes for Suicide Squad, thanks largely to writer/director David Ayer. This is the guy who wrote Training Day as well as write and direct Fury and End of Watch. But after seeing this, I 100% believe the Hollywood Reporter article that claims that Ayer only had 6 days to write the script before production began. It largely has the same problems as End of Watch did, only it’s even more apparent.
Undoubtably the weakest element of this movie is the script, it is, to quote Donald Trump “a mess”. The opening introductions of the characters don’t even deserve the dignity of being called half-assed. They have Amanda Waller, played by Viola Davis, just word for word explain the background and history of the members of the squad. They also throw their photos up on the screen with text to give more information on them, however it’s only up there for a brief second and unless you’re a cyborg designed to read at an incredible pace, you won’t be able to read it. It’s 100% lazy expository dialogue and should be the first sign to its audience that they’re in for a rough ride.
Another tell-tale sign of its poor writing is how the character of El Diablo, played by Jay Hernandez, is used. The character has very little to do throughout the movie. Then, during the transition to the third act(if you can even call it that), he tells his “tragic” past to the other members of the squad. How he couldn’t keep his anger in-check which caused the death of his wife and kids. This is supposed to be a scene that grabs the audience’s investment but it’s nothing more than a billboard saying this character is going to die. They didn’t do this for any of the other characters and then to do it for someone we’ve seen so little of, is just careless writing. No surprise, he dies in what’s supposed to be a heroic sacrifice but it doesn’t work because we see it coming from a Grand Canyon away. There’s no emotional weight and it makes one ask, why didn’t they just replace El Diablo with a walking talking grave stone?
One of the more annoying pieces of the movie was its soundtrack. Not that there are bad songs in the movie, far from it, the problem is that the music is too over the top and trying too hard to be like Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s really on the nose and obvious. Right from the movies opening, it feels like a collaborative music video of a greatest hits playlist. Rather than letting a song play out and build an atmosphere of a scene, Suicide Squad feels the need to throw out as many classic songs at its audience as possible to trick them into thinking its clever.
This movie wants badly to be the DCEU’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but what Guardians did was it took 5 characters that the vast majority have never heard of, introduced them, had them team-up, interact with each other, and by the end you feel their camaraderie and care about them. Suicide Squad has no emotional pull, the bar scene is supposed to show their camaraderie and it doesn’t work, and there’s some characters that they don’t know what to do with, i.e. Killer Croc, Enchantress, and El Diablo. It’s expository opening is so lazy and at the end, the audience only has an identity grasp on Deadshot and Harley Quinn.
There are an abundance of other issues in this movie. Like being another movie that promises us to be about the villains but later find out that they have good hearts, that they just have a bad rap. Killer Croc has no dialogue until the final third and it’s largely just lame punch-lines. The climax looks staged. Slipknot is just shoved into the movie to drive home a point, that if the villains run they die, that’s it. They give no introduction or dialogue with the character, he’s nothing more than a pong. Along with a slew of others headaches. I’ll just list these and avoid going in-depth with them, otherwise we’ll be here forever.
Is Suicide Squad better than Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice? Kind of. Is there fun to be had with this movie? Sort of, the interactions between the characters can be enjoyable sometimes. It has a very charismatic cast, the highlights being those in the roles of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and Captain Boomerang. However while Margot Robbie embodies the role, Will Smith largely plays himself and Jai Courtney is given extremely little to do.
Some other positive are some well utilized cameos of Batman and the Flash. Another of note is that while BvS took itself way too seriously, with every ounce of dialogue having the vibe of feeling more important than it is, Suicide Squad at least knows it’s stupid and tries to embody it the way Guardians of the Galaxy did. Unfortunately it’s a towering miss.
I wanted this movie to be good, I never go into a movie hoping it’s bad. Sure, I have preconceived notions as to what level of quality I think I’ll receive, however I put those aside before the movie starts and judge it on its own merits. If anything, the best part about those predetermined expectations is that they can be genially shot-down. When they’re hit with something unexpected and you end up liking a movie you didn’t expect to.
Does this movie have some lively and amusing moments?…..Some…but that doesn’t excuse sketchy writing, weird editing choices, and a tiresome clichéd ending. When you look at Suicide Squad in terms of just film structure, it collapses towards failure. Its structure of is the definition of a mess and the trend of the quality and future of the DCEU isn’t looking to bright.
Score: 1.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach
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