Before you read on, know this: Suicide Squad is not as bad as the critics have said. But it’s certainly not much better.
Like Ghostbusters, which was also about a ragtag group of eccentric misfits who try to save New York City from ghosts, Suicide Squad was profoundly disappointing. Like Ghostbusters, it was supposed to be different, the one film that was going to save the pathetic money-waster that has been this summer at the cinema. Maybe the stakes were too high, or maybe Zack Snyder was given too much power.
The concept is that Amanda Waller (the always brilliant Viola Davis) wants to assemble the worst villains in custody to form a task force. The first Superman was decent, but the next one might not be. Enter the following: Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang, and Slipknot. If that sounds like too many, it is.
This is the type of film Marvel is making now, 13 films into their cinematic universe. Each of the Avengers has had one or more films to themselves so we could get to know them. David Ayer, who can be a great director (End of Watch), was in over his head from the very beginning. There was no possible way to get more than ankle-deep impressions of so many characters in one film, and I feel bad that he had to try.
Robbie’s Quinn is magnificent, and Smith’s Deadshot is great as well. I’d pay to see them in another film together (one slightly better than Focus). Even El Diablo was fascinating, if not my favorite character in the film. Why couldn’t we have started with these three, instead of tossing everyone in the mix at once?
There are true moments of greatness here, but there’s not enough room for more. The first act is full of flair and fan-service, and for a five-minute span near the end of the second act—the pause-and-reflect scene—I was totally sold. All the flaws had been forgiven, and this film was going to get green stars. It’s just that my interest faded once again, since I was never given reason to invest in most of the characters.
The main villain of this film is Enchantress, played with corny mysticism by Cara Delevingne, and her spiritual brother. They transform people into bubbly-faced aliens, which makes no sense, and they want to take over the world for no good reason. And then there’s the Joker, who acts more weird than psychotic. Seriously, even the craziest psychopath still acts like a human being. I don’t think I care how he got those scars. Jared Leto just growls at everyone like he’s auditioning for The Lion King.
I’ve been rambling. I apologize. It’s just that Suicide Squad was supposed to be the one. It was supposed to be great. Instead, it’s the proof that the DC Universe will never succeed. I almost wish it were terrible, or at least worse than it is. Maybe then I could pity it. Right now, it’s just a dreadful nothing of a movie.
Suicide Squad is in theaters now.