Review: Suicide Squad

squad headeradam reviewSuicide Squad.

I’ll get straight to it. This movie is divisive and some people absolutely loved it. I’m not quite sure why though.

The gist.

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) recruits a team of villains to go on covert ops that can’t be traced back to the US government. It’s led by a normal dude (Joel Kinnaman) who tries to keep these personalities in check. On our villain roster, we’ve got the marksman Deadshot (Will Smith), the psychotic Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the human reptile Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), the Australian madman Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), the man who can create fire El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and the mystical Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). We also have Katana (Karen Fukuhara) who shows up but isn’t really part of the Squad. We also have Joker (Jared Leto), whose fascination with Harley means he crosses paths with the Suicide Squad a few times.

What works?

If anything, these characters are interesting and a few of them get decent backstory, most notably Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. We get extended flashbacks, we get motivation, and the two of them really carry this movie. Their performances are great and they’re used properly in the story. Jai Courtney and Jared Leto are both good as well, though both of them criminally underused.

I also appreciated some aesthetic choices and style decisions made, including how they handled the Enchantress some of the time, like when she was creepy and smokey like the girl from The Ring. I thought those effects were interesting but it soon evolved into something else entirely.

squad 1What doesn’t work?

Unfortunately a lot. I don’t know what movie some of these fans saw, that are signing a petition to (somehow) get rid of Rotten Tomatoes. I wanted this movie to be awesome and fun and exciting and it’s literally none of those things.

This movie was supposed to be different but it ended up becoming extremely cliche, with a finale that looks just like the rebooted Fantastic Four (or Ghostbusters or Avengers or any movie that revolves around a giant death beam from the sky). I sometimes forgive cliches, if the characters are interesting. Aside from 2 or 3 people, the rest are forgettable or just downright done poorly. Killer Croc? His prosthetics don’t work, his voice is garbled, and his “witty” one-liners are cringe-worthy. Joel Kinnaman here is incredibly painful, delivering a horrible performance and his character shows zero common sense (and has a romance that felt really unnecessary and convoluted). Katana? She shows up (why?) and does very little. They should have aimed for quality over quantity. And Slipknot? Who’s that? Don’t worry about it, he doesn’t matter.

squad 2But let’s pretend that you don’t mind that. Let’s pretend the characters are decent and the writing is good (which it’s not).

The movie fails again on some very technical levels. The editing? Horrible. It cuts from scene to scene in a jarring way that feels like entire scenes were removed. Sometimes I had no idea where they were and what they were doing. Visually, most of the effects here don’t work. Enchantress looks fine early on but she eventually adopts a very different persona, one that the trailers don’t show you (for good reason). She literally looks like they photoshopped her face onto someone else. The main foot soldiers that the Squad must defeat are just faceless blobs, lacking any sort of creativity and executed poorly. There is a character that looks like a badly done version of Gods of Egypt. The effects are just really subpar and it’s inexcusable for a movie with this sort of budget.

Then there’s the music. There are (not lying) probably 30 licensed songs that play, meaning they’re recognizable songs you’ve likely heard. That is absurd. A song will play for 20-30 seconds and then a new song will start. Maybe that’s where their budget went, buying all this music. It’s distracting and only works a few times, usually it’s really out of place and a normal score would’ve been a better choice. It worked for the trailers (kind of) but for a full movie… Not so much.

Like I mentioned the movie is fairly cliche, but this big climax happens incredibly early (like 30 minutes in or something ridiculous) so the 2nd and 3rd act of the movie run together and all look the same. We’re in the same setting (dark nighttime alleyways) for a majority of the movie, losing any visual flair that the movie might’ve initially had. For such a colorful marketing scheme, the movie is drab and boring to look at. And even the action scenes lacked excitement, which is a bummer considering David Ayer directed Training Day and End of Watch.

Overall…

This is a bummer. I didn’t want it to be this way. The movie has a few standout performances, notably Smith and Robbie, but it’s also bloated with forgettable characters and cringeworthy performances. The movie’s plot is extremely cliche and it’s not even done well. The villain makes no sense, the final climax is ridiculous, and the visual effects across the board are really subpar. Some people are raving about this movie but I think they must’ve seen something else, because I find very little to enjoy here. Moments, yes. Cool moments and some interesting characters. But the movie they’re in? Bad.

Rating 2 starAnd below… enjoy a spoiler-filled discussion I shot right after seeing the movie.

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About adamryen

Entertainment. Gaming. Dreaming.
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