A movie about bad guys that’s just plain bad…
Just when you thought it was safe to revisit the DC Cinematic Universe after the abomination that was Batman v Superman, along comes Suicide Squad. It’s no secret that Warner Bros’ latest feature has been universally panned by critics and I really wanted to be pleasantly surprised by this movie… But, it’s only after seeing it for yourself that you can appreciate just how disappointing it is.
The trailers for Suicide Squad promised a superhero movie unlike any other – and that’s because these guys aren’t superheroes by any means. The thing that makes Suicide Squad different is they are a team of bad guys brought together to fight an even bigger bad guy. The premise alone has the potential to be one of the most bad-ass films we’ve seen in recent years. But, in reality it leads to one of the movie’s biggest downfalls – every comic book adaptation is only as good as its villain. Think of Heath Ledger’s Joker or Tom Hardy’s Bane – a captivating bad guy is the driving force behind every memorable movie, which Suicide Squad ironically lacks.
The problem is there is no stand-out character in the bunch. Sure, Deadshot (Will Smith) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) are given the most emphasis out of the cast, but their thin characterisation is not enough to make us care. Suicide Squad tries to give us a main villain in the form of Enchantress (Cara Delevinge), but she is possibly the least threatening bad guy I’ve ever seen. It’s plain to see that Delevinge was chosen for the role as she spends the majority of it wearing next-to-nothing, gyrating like she’s been possessed by some sort of snake. As for the rest of the cast, it’s hard to recall their names, let alone pick any notable moments. But, this is not entirely their fault – there’s only so much they can do with a shoddy script that is chock-full of cheesy one-liners and more flashbacks than Family Guy.
Speaking of flashbacks, another unforgivable issue with this movie is the editing. Suicide Squad has blatantly been chopped and changed so many times, it’s clear to see half of the movie has been left on the cutting room floor. The result is a film that is just a relentless barrage of disjointed scenes with random music over nearly every single one. It feels like one really long trailer, trying so hard convey the craziness of the characters that it loses them along the way. One character that is buried in the final cut is none other than the most hyped addition to the cast – Jared Leto’s Joker.
When the world saw Leto delivering his “Oh, I’m not gonna kill ya… I’m just gonna hurt ya really, really bad…” line in the trailer, there was a collective buzz of anticipation to see what he would do with the iconic character. Sadly, we don’t really get the answer to that, as he is only in the movie a handful of times. Why he wasn’t given more prominence in the final cut is a mystery, as Leto’s performance is undoubtedly great. Providing a fresh spin on the Joker after Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger is no mean feat, but Leto has given it his best shot and is understandably not pleased with the theatrical release.
Not only does the erratic editing spoil any chance of real characterisation, it destroys any semblance of structure to the story. It’s not really clear why Enchantress wants to end the world or how exactly she intends to do that with her clichéd beam of light shooting into the sky. The faceless robots she creates to do her bidding remove any sense of humanity from the action, even though it’s revealed that it is in fact human beings she is transforming into drones. The climactic battle is an unoriginal slog of predictable smashing and bashing that we’ve seen countless times before and leaves nothing to the imagination.
With a decent cast and fun source material, Suicide Squad could have been the movie event of the summer. But, jerky editing, sloppy scripting and uninspiring action have cemented its place on the list of the biggest cinematic disappointments of the year. It’s been a long time since I didn’t even care enough to wait for the post-credits scene…