THE STORY – Figuring they’re all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto) launches an evil agenda of his own.
THE CAST – Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Joel Kinsman, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood & Cara Delevingne
THE TEAM – David Ayer (Director/Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME – 123 Minutes
By Matt N.
Oh, what could have been. “Suicide Squad” was meant to pull the D.C. Extended Universe out of the hole it dug for itself after “Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.” Instead, it pushes it down even further by bringing what is sure to be for many the single biggest disappointment for 2016. All of the ingredients were there. A unique storyline, clever casting, a visionary director and a starved fandom wanting to see something different. But whether it be the misguided direction from Ayer, his underdeveloped screenplay, the post production editing process, or studio involvement throughout, what doesn’t change is the fact that “Suicide Squad” is a sloppy mess of a movie that is sure to entertain some while down right infuriating others.
When an other-worldly deadly attack takes place, the government calls upon a dangerous task force of the world’s most dangerous criminals to come together and save the day. Being that they’re all in jail already and with lighter prison sentences awaiting them should they complete their mission, they reluctantly agree to serve under government official Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) with her point man Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) leading the way and keeping everyone in check. Now out of jail and armed Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and a few others must enter the city as the Suicide Squad and save the world, while on the outside criminal mastermind the Joker (Jared Leto) plots to secure back the love of his life, Harley Quinn.
“Suicide Squad” starts off with a tremendous amount of energy and a great deal of fun washed in a level of coolness which makes you believe the film will be truly special. As the two-hour running time wears on, it becomes abundantly clear that this is not top tier DC (“The Dark Knight Trilogy”). Thankfully, this is not “The Green Lantern” or “Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice” bad either. If anything, it bears the same similarities in terms of its faults with another group based superhero film from earlier this year in “X-Men: Apocalypse.” There are simply too many characters to introduce, give them all a meaningful backstory, and have them all matter in the end. Katana (Karen Fukuhara)? Not sure why she needed to be here. Slipknot (Adam Beach)? Completely disposable (Literally). The Joker is the biggest crime of all. Such a hyped up character and with a committed performance from Jared Leto, there is simply not enough screentime for the iconic character to justify his heavy push within the marketing materials or the lengths Leto went to portray the character (Including walking around on set and presenting dead rat’s heads to his cast members in an effort to never break character). There is a subplot involving Rick Flag and Dr. June Moore/Enchantress (Cara Delevinge) which highlights almost all of the worst qualities of the film: Character beats feel forced, plot points which are introduced are never resolved and there is a villain which is presented initially as all so powerful that by the time our heroes clash with the being in the final act, you’re left wondering what this supreme being can and cannot do.
So what redeems “Suicide Squad?” Two individuals: Will Smith and Margot Robbie. Both Deadshot and Harley Quinn are written and performed well enough that their likability, quirks, and performances are what carries the movie over the finish line. It’s just a shame that they are only two of the thirteen other main characters who seem to matter and whom we should care about. Quinn especially makes the most of the far reach her character has in terms of originality and oddball goofiness while Smith gets the dramatic lifting done, which explains why such an A-lister of his status was attracted to such a role and project to begin with. There is another dramatic scene towards the film’s final twenty minutes concerning Diablo, but compared to Smith’s emotional complexity which has had the length of the film to build, Diablo’s story is too heavy-handed and unearned.
“Suicide Squad” is ultimately all over the map in terms of its story, it’s characters, the performances of those characters, the uninspired music choices, the choppy editing which doesn’t allow the film to breathe and take its time and inserted beats for humor which nine times out of ten does not land. It is clear that David Ayer had a strong vision for how he wanted this film to look (And in most cases it’s very well shot). However, the cool factor of this PG-13 comic book adaptation wears off for every off-beat moment of humor, DC extended universe plugin or unexplained plot/character moments. On the whole, I enjoyed it for the most part. It’s certainly not movie suicide to lower your expectations and check out “Suicide Squad.”
THE FINAL SCORE
THE GOOD – Character introductions are fun and Margot Robbie certainly makes for one hell of a Harley Quinn
THE BAD – Absolutely zero stakes in the second half of the film with a terrible plot line suffering from a lack of more Jared Leto as the infamous Joker