A team of supervillains is enlisted to save the world from a powerful new threat.
David Ayer, 2016
With the threat of the next Superman looming on the horizon, ruthless CIA agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) makes the decision to put together a team who have special abilities that may be able to take on a Kryptonian. They’re all villains, so Waller manipulates them into working for her with the help of Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). Waller is also manipulating Flagg through his love for June Moone (Cara DeLevingne), who transforms into ancient witch Enchantress. When Enchantress escapes and becomes incredibly powerful, it’s up to Waller’s so-called Suicide Squad to stop her. Unfortunately, the crazy former psychologist Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) would rather reunite with her boyfriend The Joker (Jared Leto), and mercenary Deadshot (Will Smith) would rather be anywhere else. Waller always has a trick up her sleeve, though, and the Squad starts to bond despite themselves.
People have been saying this movie is bad but fun. Let me tell you, I’ve rarely had a less enjoyable experience in a cinema than I had watching Suicide Squad. Even without going into its (many, many) problematic elements (seriously, I played a drinking game with sips of water for every offensive thing that was said and I was out of water 10 minutes before the end, desperately needing to pee), it’s a very poorly constructed movie. It’s edited like they took 12 year olds, gave them a bunch of Red Bull and a stack of “best of” albums, and put them in charge. It has no second act, the pace drops off dramatically halfway through, most of the dialogue relies on shock value for laughs rather than anything resembling jokes. I think I laughed twice at things the movie wanted me to laugh at, and I have a feeling the “browser history” line might have been an Ike Barinholtz ad lib. The film is over two hours long, but it’s missing a second act. Just writing that synopsis was hard, because there’s so little plot here – it jumps straight from hyperactive introductions of each character to a classic pop tune into their one and only boss level. It feels like it’s been chopped to bits, and is still far too long. It’s hard to tell what’s going on at any point, but mostly that’s because they’re actually missing the pieces that explain why these one-note caricatures do the things that they do.
It’s not visually interesting – the flashbacks are kinda blurry and messy, and it still looks like a Hot Topic store threw up on everything. I hoped the cool neon thing might carry through but it’s mostly pretty DC grey. The film completely fails the “show don’t tell” test. It tells us that Harley fell in love with Jared Leto’s terrible, unintelligible Joker, but doesn’t show how or why that happened. Same for June Moone and Rick Flag – they seem to fall in love just because Waller put them in each other’s proximity. At one point they all decide they’re friends despite the fact that they’ve barely spoken. The only consistent character is Amanda Waller, whose decisions follow a certain logic throughout, as informed by her character. Viola Davis gives a killer performance that is so much better than anything else in this movie, and any stars this movie gets will be for her alone. It doesn’t help that the movie really hates women, viewing them as sex objects, punching bags, or fridgables most of the time. Katana is barely there, and not a character at all. Most of the characters have no character arc and don’t learn anything. Only Diablo really has a journey – any progress Harley has made is undone by the end of the film, and Deadshot’s entire journey seems to be “I won’t kill this one guy because then I’ll get to see my daughter”. That’s without going into the racism surrounding characters like the completely unintelligible Killer Croc, the expendable Slipknot, and the way Diablo is treated. This is the most diverse superhero movie from the big two so far, but it treats everyone like crap. Even Batman is so unlikeable here. I felt like some of the actors were really trying to get something out of their characters, but a lot of the performances fell flat. This movie was just…bad. And I can’t dictate to anyone what they find fun, but none of this was fun for me.
Suicide Squad on IMDb