Suicide Squad should’ve been a home run. A film starring a who’s who of DC Comics villains, including The Joker, Harley Quinn and Deadshot? Sounds like a blast. It should’ve wiped away the bad taste of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Instead, it only exacerbated the problems surrounding the DC Extended Universe.
Even without all the published reports of re-shoots, Suicide Squad reeks of studio interference. The tone is all over the place, thanks to an attempt at lightening things up after the dour BvS, there are plot holes galore, characters are introduced more than once. In one of the introduction sequences, each character gets a stylish, graphics-heavy bio … except for Slipknot, played by Adam Beach. Guess which member of the squad dies first?
The “fun” doesn’t end there. Whenever the squad starts fighting, especially when just showing off their skills, popular music from a few years ago kicks in, be it Eminem, Kanye West or Panic! at the disco. It’s like the film screams, “Look at these villains! They’re so cool! They’re not bad, just misunderstood!”
The worst/bad/evil character in the film is most likely Amanda Waller, head of Task Force X, aka the Suicide Squad. She’s ruthless, cold-blooded and doesn’t care who has to die to get the job done. Not even Enchantress, the film’s big bad, compares to Waller. Enchantress is supposed to look spooky when she moves, but instead seems like she’s dancing to disco music that only she can hear.
The other members of the squad don’t fare much better. With so many characters stuffed into a two hour run time, its impossible to give each of them a moment, despite the film’s best efforts. What we’re left with is a woefully unused and neutered Joker, a Harley Quinn who doesn’t have anything going on beyond being beautiful and crazy, a Deadshot who acts a lot like actor Will Smith, a Rick Flag who cares little about anything beyond his girlfriend, who in turn only wants to destroy the world because … that’s what villains do. There’s actually no real reason given for why Enchantress and her brother, who looks like some Egyptian soldier straight out of The Mummy Returns, want to destroy the world. It’s just assumed they want to so the good guys – or in this case, the not as bad guys – can save the day.
It’s clear writer/director David Ayer, who last made the World War II tank film Fury, is aiming for a modern day Dirty Dozen with Suicide Squad. Ayer’s films have a feel all their own, and more often than not explore group dynamics and masculinity, making him seem like a perfect choice to helm Suicide Squad. Maybe it was studio interference, lack of experience on a massive blockbuster or something else, but more often than not Ayer’s vision is subverted by an attempt to go mainstream.
Maybe there’s a three hour cut of Suicide Squad in the works that will flesh out all of the plot holes, much like the Ultimate Edition of BvS. Not that the world needs another DC Extended Universe film that runs 180 minutes, but it’d at least help Suicide Sqaud make some sense.