Movie Review: Suicide Squad                                                ZERO STARS


PG-13  |  123 min

Director: David Ayer

Writer: David Ayer

Stars: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie

by Jason Koenigsberg

Another of the most anticipated films of the lackluster summer of 2016 has finally arrived and it is as lackluster as they get. In fact calling this movie lackluster is a compliment and an insult to actual lackluster movies. Suicide Squad is abysmal, a new low for comic book movies. Nothing new here, just more of the same and if this underperforms as March’s Batman vs. Superman did, the DC Universe films are in for a world of hurt. 

The opening shot is of a building at a distance located in a marsh as “The House of the Rising Sun” plays over it. Each shot is annoyingly and obnoxiously short, most likely one second or less before the camera cuts to the next shot.The editing is headache inducing, which made Suicide Squad feel more like a frustratingly bad music video and less like an actual movie. The funky neon color scheme seen in every preview and poster for the film is prevalent throughout along with a pop soundtrack so obvious for each character it basically tells the audience exactly how they should feel at every moment. The music cues are as heavy handed as the editing. This movie contains zero subtlety. 

The plot makes zero sense and is asinine once you realize that the people that created this group of super villains called the “Suicide Squad” are the same ones responsible for unleashing the evil witch creature and her brother that wreak havoc on the city. So they get this band of misfits, trying very hard to be the DC answer to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, to come to the evacuated city to stop the diabolical siblings that are too evil for even the Suicide Squad

Australian actress Margot Robbie is the only performance that has any redeeming qualities. She seemed like she was having a lot of fun throughout and personified Harley Quinn from the comics and animated series more than adequately. Will Smith is the first character we actually meet and it was kind of humble of him to take a role in what is basically on the surface an ensemble piece. However, that charade soon changed and one third of the film is dedicated to his character. The worst part about it, is that Smith is horrendously miscast. He is supposed to be Deadshot, a psychotic hitman who has little to no morals, yet all we see on the screen is the same charismatic Will Smith trying desperately to be something that he is not. The only other character that has any sort of bravado in this is Jared Leto as the worst cinematic incarnation of The Joker that we have seen. He is basically trying to play Heath Ledger’s Joker only more over the top and given more of a romantic subplot between him and Harley Quinn. If Jared Leto gives another performance this bad they should take away his Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club. Hard to believe this is his first role since that film almost three years ago, maybe he should have taken another few years off. 

Other than those three, there really is very little character development in Suicide Squad and even those three main leads are very weakly developed and rely on audiences having previous knowledge of who they are. This movie has other characters in the Suicide Squad but they honestly do not matter and are not developed at all. Only Viola Davis as the unscrupulous government agent who has the idea to form this team of criminals (and inadvertently sets in course the main conflict of the film) has any moments of substance. Some DC heroes make cameo appearances inserted at points only to get the “oohs”, “aaahs” and applause expecting audiences to be simple minded and easy to please. 

I mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy which showed that with the right amount of TLC a group of C or D list superheroes could make an outstanding and undeniably fun motion picture. Suicide Squad tries desperately to recapture that magic and fails miserably. There was no sense of style to it other than a distinctive color design. There was nothing fun about this movie and even the action in it was so generic I wish that it went all out for an R-rating with some stylish blood and violence like the Blade movies or Deadpool

This movie was made hoping or assuming that its audience will be idiots with no standards for taste, good storytelling, character development, sense of fun or imagination. Which makes the most disheartening fact about Suicide Squad that the audience I saw it with seemed to love it. They laughed on cue as if it were a sitcom with a laugh track and the directors played them like a piano all the way to the bank no doubt. This movie was made for an audience with extreme ADD and a very low IQ and that lack of respect for viewers intellect is downright offensive. We deserve better, even from the bad guys. 

Do yourselves a favor and skip Suicide Squad and watch any of the Blade films, Deadpool or Guardians of the Galaxy. Shame on me for wanting my comic book movies to be fun and have good character development.


1 Comment »

  1. Thank you, Jason, for this clear-eyed, honest review. Your observations about the film style’s aim and its apparent obliging audience are insightful and sad. Hopefully, small films will emerge with more lasting performances and stories.

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