It’s depressing when you look at a film and think how it could have been done better. In short, Suicide Squad is hyper-styled, over-produced, and yet very underwhelming. But one must realize that what we see on screen doesn’t just happen. These productions have a lot more hands in the pot than you might comprehend, especially considering a studio with clout like Warner Bros. Pictures. Even a competent director like David Ayer probably had his hand forced in a number of situations which recalls that saying that goes, “what is a camel? It’s a horse designed by a committee.”.
Looking past the colorfully gritty versions of some of DC’s darkest villains, Ayer’s film subjects viewers to an overlong trailer for further adventures in the DC shared/expanded universe. Thankfully, the studio has learned from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and injected a little more flavor here. The problem, however, is that when you make a film about side characters, you chance losing the audience. Essentially, you’ve wasted everyone’s time for 123 minutes because we’re being asked to suffer through something in the hope that the sequel will be better.
It’s not saying Suicide Squad is bad (as there is 25% of a quality story in there), but this could have been more engaging. With distractions including, but not limited to, a staggering number foot-tapping songs to take your mind off the undercooked and one-dimensional story, you can’t help but think that this movie tried too hard. Putting these brooding characters together and feigning fun amidst the dire, albeit ridiculous stakes is equivalent to some one pissing in your pocket, then telling you it’s raining.
These characters are admittedly cool, but have trouble being more than one-note (anyone remember Predators?). Further, putting seven of them together does not give you a melody. They are equally disposable, so when the novelty of “bad guys going after badder guys” wears off, it’s difficult to care about anyone. Worse, we’ve been forced into watching the Will Smith and Margot Robbie show while everyone else becomes scenery. The film is loud, which is a necessity here, and in that respect the soundtrack and the score did some pretty heavy lifting. But they didn’t exactly play nice.
Steven Price, the award-winning composer of Gravity, and Ayer’s last film, Fury, brings a pulsing and hard-hitting score to make these characters appear larger than life. Sadly, his great atmospheric work gets a little lost among the dizzying number of soundtrack choices. Many of which seem shoehorned in between the music, or inserted in place of score. The more times pop songs or crowd-pleasing anthems were used (from different eras no less), the more this became a popcorn fkick that is more like a music video than a narrative.
Being as fair and open-minded as possible, there are lots of things to like…but you got so little of each. First and foremost, The Joker. But this is nit about him. Suicide Squad is like what happens when the Joker isn’t looking – all of DC’s minions and understudies running around all too happy to have their own story. Suicide Squad (aside from being overstuffed) suffers from an identity crisis; you look at this and you see a patchwork of elements lifted from films like Ghostbusters, The Avengers, Pacific Rim, and Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla.
There’s a good chance that this could be a little more fun the second time around as the chemistry and some jokes do really work. The energy is there (and thanks to David Ayer you can tell there was a lot of intent), but the wheels mostly spin without any displacement.
Now don’t let this review sound like this is a terrible time at the cinema. There is fun to be had. While Joker is not a major player, there is enough which Jared Leto (who plays a complete lunatic) brings to the table to make you want to see more of him. The only trouble is that while his bored king gangster persona – one that grounds him quite well in our world – is attention-grabbing, there’s not many directions we can see his character going that he hasn’t been before. His contribution to this tiny adventure is minimal, but it’s kind of nice to see his devotion to Harley Quinn. While Margot Robbie has the most fun with the role, and Smith oozes charm per usual, these actors make for good cosplay yet the characters remain underdeveloped.