Suicide Squad Plot Summary:
Special Ops shark Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) convinces the government to assemble a task force of super villains in preparation for a meta war. Their first test is given when a super natural being wreaks havoc on Midway City. Waller and task commander Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) find it hard to control these unpredictable bad guys, who all come to grips with their inner demons while working together.
If you were to tell me a movie with The Joker would be in contention for “Worst Film of the Year,” I would have told you something traumatic happened in my life for me to even comprehend that thought. Something traumatic did happen. I saw Suicide Squad.
I’ve watched movies all my life, but can’t imagine a film more disappointing than this one. Whoever cut the trailers for Suicide Squad would get my vote for President of the United States in this election. There’s a lot to kvetch about with this movie. The plot. The editing. The dialogue. The visual effects. Killer Croc. Enchantress (oy vey). At the end of the day, it all boils down to one man. Even with all the hype surrounding the trailers and cast, I always had one underlying concern. David Ayer. I’ve never been a fan. His movies always have a stink of mediocrity. Ayer takes it one step further with this one. Not only does he make a bad movie in every sense of the word, but he was given the keys to a kingdom. We have a movie with Batman and the Joker, and this guy completely fumbles it.
Aside from Darth Vader, The Joker is the greatest villain of all time. You have to try really hard to screw it up. David Ayer made The Joker just another common criminal. That alone deserves every criticism that’s been levied at him. I want to be clear about this – I like Jared Leto in the role. He did a good job. You can tell there’s something there. I have no doubt in future films under a competent director that Leto will deliver greatness. Ayer completely lets him down. The editing around The Joker is complete hog wash. It’s frantic. Unfocused. Rushed. THIS IS THE JOKER! Slow it down. Let him be The Joker. In his first scene, he just pops up. Are you kidding me? This is the first live action Joker to follow Heath Ledger, and that’s how you introduce him? In a voice-over expository flashback? Thanks for nothing, David.
Speaking of The Joker, let’s discuss the other hyped character. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn suffers the same fate as Jared Leto. There’s no doubt Robbie will be a phenomenal Harley Quinn. We see it here. She’s got the character down cold. The voice. The nutty mannerisms. The problem is Ayer’s writing. She had okay lines. Robbie definitely elevated the material here, as all great actors do. The writing was so haphazard, even Robbie’s performance felt forced at times. There was so much more to be done with this character, but it’s criminally underdeveloped, in particular her relationship with The Joker. The idea of this is chockfull of rich material, but Ayer blows his generic breath all over it.
The best performance was Will Smith as Deadshot. He was no doubt the emotional core of the story. His contentious relationship with Squad Leader Rick Flag was also a nice back and forth, but even that’s underserved. The first scene of the movie is Deadshot in his cell, and it’s probably the best scene of the entire film. It’s all downhill from there.
The rest of the squad members all sucked. I appreciated Jai Courtney as the goofy Captain Boomerang, but he didn’t do much for me. Jay Hernandez as Diablo was a big ball of stereotype. Pathetic. They try and give him this big emotional back story, but I cared more about Wilson from Castaway. Supposedly Killer Croc was in this movie, but I don’t remember it. Oh wait, yes I do. He provided some of the worst comic relief I’ve ever seen in a superhero movie. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was atrocious. Croc’s voice makes Bane sound like a motivational speaker. Awful. Then we have Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) who was flat out dumb. The villain was also tied to her, and I can honestly say it’s the worst villain ever in a superhero movie. This was like something out of The Phantom with Billy Zane back in 1996. Are you kidding me with this? We also get Katana (Karen Fukuhara) who just shows up as part of the team. Why not? I love how in the same movie universe you get Man of Steel, which thoughtfully introduces the world to the idea of supernatural beings. In Suicide Squad, we get a throwaway line about how Katana’s sword traps souls. Okay.
We’ve gone over the characters who are sadly the best part of the film. The plot is so utterly horrendous that I found myself yearning for Thor: The Dark World. I went there. By the second half, I just didn’t care anymore At one point I think Amanda Waller had tubes in her nose or something, I don’t know. I hate this movie. I just wanted it to end. The editing is about as coherent as a numbed up dental patient going in for a cavity. The score is worse than a Marvel movie. We go from Hans Zimmer to let’s just fart out the music. Speaking of music, the soundtrack was cool, but it was also trying way too hard to be Guardians of the Galaxy. The special effects are JV, and there is so much unnecessary destruction that you can literally feel the production budget getting flushed down the toilet.
I can’t believe this is part of the DCEU, even though Batman was the best part of the entire film. He gets maybe three minutes of screen time. For all of you who hate Zack Snyder, I hope you’re happy. You got the boring director you’ve always wanted to deliver a safe and completely forgettable film. I’ve already read about how there were apparent production debacles and competing cuts of the film, but it’s still David Ayer’s fault. He’s the director Part of making a great film is going through these hurdles. Every Hollywood film on this scale goes through the same thing.
I can’t believe I hate a movie that has The Joker in it. I’m on the verge of tears right now. I want to forget I ever saw this movie. I never want to discuss it again. I want it to go away forever. As Amanda Waller says in the film: “Put it in the hole and throw away the hole.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 10 (Atrocious)
Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.