I wrote a blog post earlier this year where I talked about some of the movie releases that I was most excited about for 2016 and the one that I was looking forward to the most was Suicide Squad. I rewatched the trailers countless times and I literally could not have looked forward to the release day more. The day before I went to see it however, I saw all the horrible reviews about it and I got so disappointed. However, I decided not to let it get to me as I wanted to form my own opinion regardless of what others thought of it. As it turns out, I did not completely hate the movie but I am VERY disappointed with how little they did with these characters. It had so much potential!
Director: David Ayer
Lead actors: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis
Score: Steven Price
Story wise, this movie is quite the mess. There is no build up whatsoever, the characters sort of get thrown at you randomly and it is very difficult to understand some of the decisions that are made by them because there is no explanation for anything that is happening and you hardly ever know what is going on in their minds. I know it is a bit of a cliché to compare DC movies to Marvel movies, but induldge me for a moment because this is the only way I can describe exactly what this movie’s storyline is lacking. When I saw Captain America: Civil War, there was not a single moment where I did not understand one of the character’s motives or decisions. Every one of them had a reason for doing what they did and it all fit into the main story perfectly. The movie counted even more main characters than this one did and yet they were all given their own story arc, they all had internal struggles and they all had a purpose or a goal to fulfill. We knew what they were doing and why they were doing it at all times. Most importantly: there was character development. With Suicide Squad, we can only guess why these bad guys suddenly decide to risk their lives trying to save the city. What made them change their minds so suddenly and why did they not collectively escape because it is pretty damn obvious that they are strong and smart enough to be able to do so.
On the other hand, and this might sound a bit strange, it is quite refreshing to be able to watch a superhero/villain movie without having to think constantly. This is truly one of those no-brainer type movies and sometimes that is exactly what I need.
Now, a lot has been said about the editing of this movie. I feel like the best way to describe it is that it looks as if they have shot a different movie for each individual character and then edited bits and pieces of those movies together to make a little summary of everything. Because of the lack of character development, it is very difficult to relate to any of them or to even sympathize with them because we simply do not get to know them well enough and truth be told, after the movie was finished I had already forgotten most of their names. It is so very frustrating and disappointing if you think of how much potential these characters and the cast have. Also, the action scenes were poorly filmed and again, poorly edited so that it is quite difficult to tell who is doing what at all times. The fighting choreography was not as impressive as I had expected it to be either.
Because of the movie being all over the place it is very difficult for me to form an opinion on the casting decisions and the acting but I will try my best. Will Smith’s Deadshot was about as close to a main character as we got and it was quite fun to see him in the role of a villain for once. I feel like his character was supposed to be the leader of the squad, with an emotional backstory that could have made the villains more relatable to the audience, but again due to the chaotic storyline of the movie that did not come across at all, no matter how well it was acted out.
For me personally, the absolute highlight of this movie was Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Before I had seen any of the trailers I kind of had my doubts about this casting decision (I only knew her from The Wolf Of Wall Street) but I could not have been more pleasantly surprised. Again, the character was not worked out well at all but she did such an amazing job with what she was given and I truly hope that we will get to see her in this role again, preferably with a strong, well worked out storyline this time.
And of course there is the big one, Jared Leto as The Joker. I. LOVED. Him! Before seeing the movie, I had read a few reviews that said that Leto blatantly copied Heath Ledger’s Joker but I did not see it like that at all. Whereas Ledger’s Joker seemed more of an ‘in the shadows’ type of villain, Leto’s Joker is as extravagant as they come. He wants to be seen at all times. I also think that a character as legendary as this one cannot be portrayed in a milion different ways. The Joker’s personality is so distinctive, it would be a crime to play him as anything different than he is. I really wish we could have seen more of this Joker though, because the few times he was on screen I was positively entranced.
Finally, there is the small matter of the post-credits scene. I feel like it is common knowledge that when a Marvel movie is done, you stay a bit longer because you get to see a glimpse of what is to come in the cinematic universe after the first part of the credits has rolled. Now DC has decided to blatantly copy that idea by adding a little scene for the first time as well. But here is the thing though: Marvel gets away with that because their cinematic universe is very complex and has loads of intricately woven story arcs. With this movie however, it did not make a lot of sense and it felt as if they were just trying to get the crowd excited for Justice League. After the amount of negative reactions Suicide Squad and previous DC movies have gotten however, I feel like a lot of people are going to try not to get their hopes up for that one because you never know if DC is going to deliver or not, no matter how much of a hype they manage to cause before their movies are released.
So, long story short, I had a good time watching Suicide Squad but I expected a LOT more of it. The ‘batshit-crazy’ level was way too low and I feel like they disrespected the characters with how little work was put into them. I am still keeping my hopes up for a Harley Quinn/Joker spin-off but please, please, please let it be infinitely better than this one.