Props to the trailer editors of “Suicide Squad” for getting me pumped enough to see it on opening weekend. Props to the producers for screwing up “Suicide Squad” with their interference.
“Suicide Squad” takes place in the DC universe and government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) assembles a group of criminal meta-humans together for Black Ops missions. She enlists expert hitman Deadshot (Will Smith), The Joker’s (Jared Leto) main squeeze Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), a hooligan-type thief Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), a crocodile/human hybrid named Killer Croc (Adwele Akinnuoye-Agbaje), master climber Slipknot (Adam Beach), and a fire-powered gangster named El Diablo (Jay Hernandez).
They’re led by a hot shot special forces operative named Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) and his swordswoman body guard, Katana (Karen Fukuhara). Meanwhile, The Joker has his own plan, and there’s a witch named Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) who wants world domination!
When writer/director David Ayer (“End of Watch,” “Fury”) announced he was directing “Suicide Squad,” I was excited because Ayer writes compelling anti-heroes and directs visceral action sequences. His writing flare is present in the first 20 minutes with some entertaining character introductions and solid development for Deadshot. Then it fades away once the characters are recruited.
There are moments throughout “Suicide Squad” where Ayer wants to make a hardcore violent dark comedy, but then there are overly serious and formulaic scenes that lack Ayer’s passion. I don’t blame Ayer, specifically. I blame the producers’ interference.
“Suicide Squad” underwent serious reshoots/re-edits six months before the film’s release to make it “more fun” after fans responded positively to the “Bohemian Rhapsody” trailer. The reshoots aren’t well-covered because certain scenes don’t flow well together.
In the first act, Waller and Flagg recruit their team and Flagg seems willing to go along with the plan. After recruiting Deadshot, the next scene shows Flagg arguing with Waller over recruiting the Suicide Squad. The argument scene should have either been before the recruitments or not in it at all.
In the bar scene from the trailer where the team drinks together, this scene is no longer the charmingly funny scene. It’s instead a dramatic self-reflection; none of the humorous moments are present in this scene. In fact, the movie is nearly humorless *after* the first act.
The film’s tone is wildly uneven, and presents itself at times as a dark comedy, and a mindless Michael Bay-style action movie at other times. The action is lackluster and features CGI on par with Sci-Fi channel movies, and last year’s “Fant4stic.” With the exception of the first battle, the action is underwhelming.
Ayer also seems too focused on Deadshot and didn’t bother developing his other characters. Killer Croc and Captain Boomerang are comic relief, Enchantress has no development to make her a compelling villain, and sadly, neither does The Joker.
The Joker is primarily in “Suicide Squad” as part of Harley’s arc. She has to choose between him and helping the Suicide Squad. That’s fine, but it would have been far more compelling if Joker was the main villain and not just a secondary antagonist.
Acting wise, everyone is fine. Will Smith is charismatic and fun as always, Margot Robbie is a blast to watch as Harley Quinn (even if her story is redundant), Viola Davis is a badass, Jai Courtney is surprisingly fun as Captain Boomerang, and Leto is fun as The Joker. The actors are the best part of “Suicide Squad.”
I was hating on “Batman v. Superman” hardcore last March, but “Suicide Squad” makes that look like a masterpiece. I may have not agreed with the dark tone, but I at least knew what it was trying to be. “Suicide Squad” was simply lost in translation due to an overstuffed script and a lack of vision.