Suicide Squad

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Star 2

You’ve seen the trailers over and over for months. Worst. Heroes. Ever. A band of misfits is asked to go and save the world from certain danger in exchange for clemency. Harley Quinn! Deadshot! Killer Croc! The Joker! Looks like a lot of fun, right? Although Suicide Squad owes quite a bit of debt to films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Natural Born Killers, etc. it is definitely a departure from the paint-by-numbers superhero flick. So the excitement from potential audiences is definitely understandable. And after the disappointing trudge that was Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, surely the folks over at Warner Bros. learned from their mistakes in trying to get the DC shared universe up and off the ground to give Marvel Studios a run for their money. Nope. All of the overstuffed trappings that weighted down BvS is present again, and believe it or not, the latter is a better movie.

It could’ve been easily titled SUBPLOT SQUAD. An apparently patch-worked, crowded story bloated with big character setups that fall flat over and over Suicide Squad one of the summer’s biggest disappointments. There are some commendable performances as Will Smith’s turn as Deadshot is surprisingly the bright spot, Viola Davis as the cold-blooded Amanda Waller and Margot Robbie looks like she is giving everything she’s got as the demented Harley Quinn. But that’s the peculiar thing, even with Harley Quinn as the obvious anchor for this “franchise” vehicle, there aren’t any great breakout moments like you might expect. There’s nothing truly memorable. Robbie exudes such energy with her performance, but I found that almost every big moment of her arc fizzled before any fireworks go off.

There were 3 BIG things that stuck out like a sore thumb to me:

1) Jai Courtney was in a movie and he wasn’t the worst part about it.
2) How did David Ayer write this script? He wrote Training Day, End of Watch and Fury – All GOOD scripts!
3) Batman (Ben Affleck) and The Joker (Jared Leto) have close to the same amount of screen time.

Which brings me to the biggest WTF of all. You made a movie about The Suicide Squad and you put The Joker in it, but you didn’t make him the villain in your story? I could get past all the frills associated with the “interpretation” that seem lame at first glance like the face tats and grill, but put The Joker in it for just 20 minutes? What were they thinking? It’s hard for me to decide whether or not I completely disliked Leto as the Clown Prince of Crime though. He barely gets a chance to participate and when he does the sloppy editing coupled with the obtrusive soundtrack mix makes The Joker’s dialogue indecipherable and at times even inaudible. What’s he saying? I don’t know, but he sure looks cool when he’s wearing alternate costume #3 doesn’t he!?

The DC extended universe doesn’t necessarily have a hero problem, they have a clear problem with their villains. In the last two films they’ve managed to take arguably the two biggest baddies in DC history and give them zero to work with. What a shame. I would’ve really liked to see Jesse Eisenberg and Jared Leto have some fun with a decent script. If I have any advice to the folks over at Warner Bros moving forward with the DCEU, It’s go small or go home. The stories are already there, you don’t have to force it.

-JB