After the box office success and critical failure of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, DC Entertainment is back with Suicide Squad. DC and parent company Warner Bros. are trying to quickly build a Marvel-esque shared universe and find similar success with general audiences and critics alike. Does the movie studio succeed? Well, the third film in their loosely-connected series (that Man of Steel accidentally launched in 2013) starts off with a bang, but progressively goes downhill throughout its entire running time.
Suicide Squad follows a group of very dangerous supervillains who are brought together to possibly do some good for the government. Assembled by a high-ranking government official named Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), Task Force-X a.k.a. Suicide Squad is comprised of criminals sent on, yeah, suicidal missions too dangerous for traditional military operations. Ultimately, they must work together to stop a mysterious God-like super being from claiming the Earth for itself, while also trying to not kill each other as they work out their own personal demons.
The team of bad guys is led by soldier Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman). He is stuck with leading Deadshot (Will Smith), a talented hit-man and marksman who never misses a shot; Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), a demented acrobat who will stop at nothing to be re-united with her main squeeze, The Joker (Jared Leto); and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), a Latino gangbanger who controls fire. Oh, and Slipknot (Adam Beach), a badass mercenary whose only purpose in the movie is to die, but serves a greater purpose overall than the characters that stick around like Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Katana (Karen Fukuhara), and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and even The Joker, who is hardly in the movie, despite his prominence in trailers and movie posters.
The new superhero movie is a big ol’ mess from beginning to end. There are so many characters in the movie that it takes about a half-hour to introduce them, but you still can’t get a sense of who they are and what they’re about. The movie suffers from trying to cram so much material that it loses focus on the task in hand. It moves so quickly between flashbacks and action sequences and the soft character beat that you’re not prepared as a viewer on what will come next. It’s like neon-colored vomit that makes no sense and has no rhyme or reason.
Greater than the ostensible threat the Suicide Squad faces is the bombardment of pop music that takes over the movie. There are at least 25 music cues throughout the film that quickly become annoying and lazily fills in the blanks of character instead of actually showing a character in action. By the time the movie kicks in with Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady” (which is a good song), you’re left but thinking “Is the movie just going to throw in random pop music throughout?” I mean, who is “The Real Slim Shady” in the movie? Killer Croc? Katana? Enchantress (Cara Delevingne)? Who?!!
Along with its plot holes and structure issues, Suicide Squad never seems to find its footing in terms of story. It’s too confusing to follow and feels like something got lost in editing. It also injects comedy and levity in the oddest places. For example – after a character opens up about the big tragedy of his life, in a real emotional moment for the character and the audience, a joke about Killer Croc’s look comes out of nowhere to completely undercut the moment. And before we can have a chance to really feel for this character, the movie abruptly goes to the next scene to shoot up and kill faceless and nameless bad guys.
Overall, Suicide Squad had a lot of potential to be something different and exciting in the very familiar superhero movie genre. Instead, it’s just another incoherent mess summer blockbuster that doesn’t deserve the attention of comic book fans. It also feels like director David Ayer just felt that simply putting these beloved characters in a movie was enough for fans to flock to theaters. It’s very disappointing and ugly and has to do better by its very talented cast.