Suicide Squad ½

7/100

If Zack Snyder's Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice was a war for the soul of the comic book movie, a stirring, strange battle for idiosyncrasy in a committee chain, then Suicide Squad clearly showcases the winner, and it isn't the artists (or the audience for that matter). Strung together by the sparest, limp dick editing and full to the brink with cardboard cutout characters, obvious musical cues, idiotic holes in basic story construction, and a fucking joke of a villain; David Ayer's film is mortifying in almost every facet. Never have I seen such a superhero clusterfuck so proud to be its embarrassing, attenuated self.

Its introduction - around 20 to 30 minutes of exposition dumps laced with tired, misplaced bursts of pop, rock, and hip hop - is initially exhilarating for its sheer haphazardness, but the film soon falls into tedium; tossing in song choices and flashbacks in weird areas and only furthering the characters that are necessary. The others walk and stumble though the frame without any direction, shifting their alliances and motives scene to scene, seemingly lost and unaware of their own place in this incoherent universe. Even though the entire film revolves around a giant purple/blue laser portal destined to destroy the world, the stakes are never important and information is rarely given.

Ayer's usual filthiness behind the camera, exerting blood, machismo, and demoralized spaces towards the lens at a frenzied pace, isn't seen here. It's a toned down, fruitless exercise from a director who was obviously under a lot of pressure to deliver something "different" and "unique" despite being held tightly within safe boundaries. This is a PG-13 endeavor from an artist who, especially with Sabotage and Fury, is known for his violent epics of depravity. Its lifeblood should be acidic, rotten to the core, and oozing gallows humor. Not generic and motionless. Not bland and compromised.

But that's what Suicide Squad is: a generic, motionless, bland compromise. It scrambles and scrambles to its end point, but takes a five minute break to toss in some "humor" and "emotion" anyway. It introduces "villain" after "villain" only to only pay attention to those who matter. It smirks at the awful nature of its climatic showdown but diverges into sincerity and slow motion without shame. It plays 'Bohemian Rhapsody' over images of Harley Quinn only to abruptly stop it just when the song starts to flourish (this is fucking unacceptable). Very little in Suicide Squad works, if anything. Viola Davis is a badass, I guess, and at least Will Smith's Deadshot has an arc of some kind? Any life, any joy, any inspiration this film could've had is nowhere to be seen, probably replaced by atrocious cameos and the billionth usage of 'Fortunate Son'.

Artists and performers have lost to the machine. A committee who spurts out Ultimate Cuts to cover losses. A conglomerate of artless ideas and sequel driven "storytelling" (this movie doesn't have flow or pacing, stuff just happens in succession and then it's over). A chain of executives hiring artists and either letting them unleash to a fault or masking their greatest attributes. It isn't like this is new, but I've never seen the process so unobtrusive and zombie-like. My audience barely chuckled or reacted. They sat motionless - observing purple ray beams and shit-CGI helicopter crashes and giant witch gods splatter across the screen without any weight or heft - until the final shot (barely landing before the credits popped into view), eagerly waking up from their stupor to get another tease of a future film they'll gladly shell out money for. What a loathsome, contemptible piece of shit.

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