Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad ★★½

So, what is this; some sort of suicide squad?

At the climax of David Ayer's Suicide Squad Enchantress balances a ring of trash in the sky by belly-dancing and reigns lightning down on remote targets...Yes, this is that kind of a film. Oh WB, what have you done?

If it were all a mess, it wouldn't be so terrible. However, what makes this film particularly egregious is that there is some good stuff buried here. The dynamic between Harley and the Joker (or Mr. J, as she refers to him) is absolutely fascinating. It's a brilliantly performed abusive relationship that provides some wonderful depth to these characters. And, though Deadshot's father-daughter subplot is so cliché it made me want to puke, leave it to Will Smith to make me genuinely care about his character. Also, as a side note, welcome back Will Smith. After this and Concussion (even if I wasn't so high on that film either), it's nice to see him pushing himself again.

But, none of this really counts for much when the pacing is horrendous, the rest of the cast is either shortchanged or woefully underdeveloped, and the visuals are absolutely repulsive. First off, I don't know if this was a result of studio meddling or if the script was just this inept to begin with, but there are no troughs in the rising action. It's just fight sequence after fight sequence. The only brief moment of respite comes about halfway through the runtime, before we get to the disastrously protracted final act. Yes, the third act runs about an hour of the full length of the picture. And, of course, all of the character introductions are jammed into the first fifteen minutes of the film. Really, who plotted this thing and thought, "Yeah, this is cohesive and well-paced."?

Next, where the hell did Kitana come from. She just kinda shows up about half way in and meanders in and out of the spotlight from time to time. She seems like a really awesome character, but Ayer and co. use her like a bit of scene dressing; to be tossed in whenever it's expedient. Captain Boomerang is just kinda there. He cracks a joke every once in a while, but he's very clearly the C or D list of this team. And Killer Croc, a genuinely interesting character, who could have the same Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing that The Hulk has going on, is basically just muscle. Oh, yeah, and The Joker is essentially just here to set up further films. I get that a lot of his scenes were cut, but he feels totally superfluous.

Lastly, this movie is just disgustingly grey. Even the Joker and Harley are muted. I mean, that flamboyance and absurdity is kind of half of their charm. The fight scenes are occasionally interesting, but visually, there's no inventiveness. The cinematography is bland and uninspired. I don't need The Raid here, just some fight scenes that don't involve repeating the same actions ad nauseam and then rinsing only to repeat in another five minutes.

I was sincerely hoping that this would right some of the wrongs of BvS, a movie I wasn't even as down on as the vast majority of the moviegoing public was. But, this turned out to be, somehow, worse. You better step up with Wonder Woman and Justice League, Warner Bros., because the DCEU is flailing. I give Suicide Squad a 2.5/5.

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