Highly anticipated “Suicide Squad” disappoints fans. (Photo Courtesy of Youtube.com)
Suicide Squad is a comic book film from DC comics/Warner Brothers, and the studio’s direct follow-up to the critically panned Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film—based on the mildly popular comic book—follows a team of lesser-known DC villains, whom the government conscripts for black-ops missions too dangerous to risk the lives of ordinary soldiers. That premise may sound like the formula for a fun action movie in the vein of Ocean’s Eleven. In reality, however, great performances and a handful of clever lines can’t save the film from its messy script and meandering plot.
Following the events of Batman v. Superman, tough-as nails government operative Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) makes it her mission to find high-security criminals, whom she can force to fight for her against extraordinary threats which have a habit of showing up in the DC universe. The team members—who are not used to following orders—must learn to work together to stop a monstrous enemy.
Once that plot is established, writer/director David Ayer (End of Watch, Fury) introduces the audience to the heroes of the piece: Colonel Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) commands a team which includes: the assassin Deadshot (Will Smith), Flash villain Captain Boomerang (Jai Cortney), vengeful sword-wielder Katanna (Karen Fukuhara), The Joker’s henchwoman Harley Quinn (Margot Robbi), and other captured DC villains. The plot is mainly straightforward, with a dangerous enemy being introduced, and the team being tasked with neutralizing the threat. The problem lies in the fact that the story skips around a lot; the team members aren’t introduced all at once, and the subplot with The Joker (Jared Leto) is haphazardly shoehorned into various sections of the narrative. The climax is also muddled and occasionally hard to follow.
Suicide Squad’s saving grace is its memorable performances and fun atmosphere. There are plenty of moments throughout the movie where the mood is lightened by a fun quip or an old pop song. The actors all play off each other nicely, and the character arcs are engaging and believable, if a little rushed it times. The visuals (barring some moments near the end) are impressive, and the kinetic nature of the action scenes matches the quirkiness of the characters. The members of the squad are so likeable that you really root for them, and wish they had a better film to showcase them.
The characters in the film are teeming with personality, but hampered by the ramshackle narrative. The squad members’ various introductions are fun and engaging, but very short. The rushed script—rumored to be completed in four weeks—gives little room for character development beyond a few exposition scenes, and the actors’ excellent portrayals of their characters. Most members of the team have a moment to shine—such as the pyro-kinetic Diablo (Jay Hernandez)—and have fun, unique personalities. However, only Deadshot and Harley Quinn are fully fleshed out characters. Kinnaman’s Rick Flagg, Courtney’s Captain Boomerang, and Davis’s Amanda Waller are played well, but sometimes revert to archetypes with the sole purpose of moving the plot forward.
Suicide Squad features a great cast of characters, and a fun atmosphere which doesn’t compromise the seriousness of the narrative. There’s a good movie in here, somewhere, struggling to get out. Unfortunately, the messy script and disappointing climax ultimately proves be too much to handle for this ragtag team.