The DCEU’s movies thus far, (2013’s Man of Steel and this year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) have been equally divisive among fans and critics. Both directed by Zack Snyder, who has his fair share of admirers and maligners, fans were expecting something completely fresh and new with the release of David Ayer’s (Training Day, Fury) much-anticipated Suicide Squad – a film that tells the story of a group of DC’s most-loved supervillains, brought together on a mission to save the world. Personally, Suicide Squad was one of my most anticipated movies of the year, I’ve loved every trailer that’s been released, and the marketing grabbed my attention far more than Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, though I enjoyed both of those movies (the BvS ultimate cut, that is). But the truth is, Suicide Squad, for me, was the worst of the DCEU movies so far. A movie with so much potential started pretty strongly, but ended up being a predictable, CGI fest with a lack of structure and character development that I found myself bored with after the assembling of the team.
One can’t help but feel that Warner Bros is desperate to catch up to the mega-machine that is Marvel Studios, but let’s not forget, Marvel’s first MCU movie, The Incredible Hulk¸ or Iron Man depending on how you look at it, were both released in 2008. The team-up movie The Avengers wasn’t released until 2012. Marvel gave themselves 4 years of universe building, establishing the key characters in their cinematic universe long before they all starred in one movie. Not only did this build anticipation, but it allowed audiences to understand the characters individually before they were in an ensemble piece, giving the film more emotional resonance and also meaning Joss Whedon didn’t need to spend half of his movie establishing characters. The DCEU has had one single-character movie, Man of Steel, which is the reason why BvS felt so packed and rushed with characters. The same goes for Suicide Squad. The only characters given any decent backstory in this film are Deadshot and Harley Quinn. Even these scenes are in awkwardly-placed flashback moments and don’t flow throughout the rest of the movie.
The first apparent issue I had with Suicide Squad was the music. Reports have suggested that Warner Bros executives, after seeing the negative response to the dour tone of BvS, asked David Ayer to add in ‘fun’ music to make the movie seem more upbeat. Although the film has a brilliant soundtrack, it is used in such a jarring way, that the movie feels more like a music video at times than a film. There are some scenes where the music is so over-powering that you can’t hear or understand what the characters are saying – it feels forced. The movie also has a major issue with structure – not only are flashbacks used excessively, but many scenes feel like they were cut or as if some scenes are missing, there is not a structure to the film, it is essentially a first and painfully dragged out third act. This made the film feel longer than what it was, and if there was more time spent on the back story of the characters (who were 100% the BEST thing about this movie) I think this would have made an overwhelming improvement to the way I came out feeling when Suicide Squad was finished.
As mentioned, there are some fantastic characters in this film that I hope to see more of in future. Highlights for myself were Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and the AMAZING Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. The excellent make-up on Killer Croc is also worth praise. The way the Suicide Squad interacted with each other made for the best moments in the film, with a great blend of humour. By the end of the film, I believed in these characters and wanted to see more of them. I just wish they’d been in a better movie.
My biggest issue with the film overall is its villain, Enchantress, played by Cara Delevingne. This is truly one of the worst villians I have ever seen – the ending is reminiscent of last year’s disastrous Fantastic Four, in fact, I actually laughed in the cinema. Not only is Delevingne incessantly belly-dancing/moving like Gollum/hula-hooping, the ‘deep scary voice’ they put over the top of her sounded so ridiculous it was hard to believe this was a serious movie. The entire side-plot with her brother was not only stupid, but no one gave a shit about the character, so it had absolutely no meaning whatsoever when he ‘wreaks havoc’ on the city. The climax of this movie is so disappointing, that the more I thought about it when I got home, the more annoyed I was. I don’t want to hate Suicide Squad – it certainly has fun moments, it looks super cool in places, the performances (for the most part) are really, really good (not Jared Leto’s Joker, though. Ugh) but overall, this movie is a mess.
I’d give it 2/5.