It really isn’t as bad as everyone says - I promise!
It feels good to be bad…Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realise they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the SUICIDE SQUAD resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?
This movie had the potential to be the saving grace of the DC cinematic universe, instead its another critical blow to their already horrible track record. While it wasn’t nearly as good as everyone hoped, it certainly isn’t as bad as some critics are saying - that said there are problems.
Firstly - editing. The opening 15 minutes of the film move too fast, its a mishmash of villains being captured, the program being set up and our antiheroes in jail. This is also all set to a soundtrack (as opposed to score), meaning this all feels like a very bad music video. The rest of the film also has some awkward cuts where scenes feel out of place and really interrupt the pacing of the story. Also, this film had lots of re-shoots and when the newer scenes have been edited in the actors look (or even sound different), something that really should’ve been picked up in post-production. The whole edit of the film seems very hasty and there are a lot of scenes missing from trailers - so I think we can expect to see a directors cut.
Secondly - music. I noted above the inappropriateness of music in the opening sequence, but it extends beyond that. Not only is the soundtrack a wild mess of music thrown around attempting to copy the more successful musical styling of another underdog story, Guardians of the Galaxy - but the score itself is even misused. There are moments that could’ve done with silence that have a blaring orchestra behind them and moments that needed some music that are utterly silent. Clearly someone wasn’t paying much attention to the sound design of the film.
Thirdly - story/characters. Too much happens in too little time and there are far too many characters to tell the story. Will Smith is outstanding in the film, his dedication to his character and story is easy to see and his performance is easily the best. Jared Leto’s Joker features for maybe 15 minutes and is atrocious - I know his scenes were predominantly cut, but I’m not keen to see more of what he had to offer. Honestly, if they’d cut him completely it wouldn’t have been that much of a loss to the film.
Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is good, not great. Her accent changes throughout the film - different reshoots have different accents. Her portrayal is fun, even though her rapport with the Joker is non-existent.
Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis are great, as is Jai Courtney and Jay Hernandez. Courtney could easily have a solo film (as could Smith for that matter). Think this is a lot of characters, we’re barely even halfway through the main cast!
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje simply doesn’t get enough screen time as Killer Croc, his sarcasm is certainly a welcome relief at points during the film. Adam Beach (Slipknot) and Karen Fukuhara (Katana) are two of the most useless superhero characters in the film. With our main cast already at 8 when these characters are introduced there’s no time to let them develop at all - they feel superfluous.
The villain in this piece is horrible - not only does Cara Delevingne offer the worst performance of her career her whole plan (which I won’t spoil) is clichéd. Scott Eastwood and Ike Barinholtz are also wasted.
My final, major complaint is the CGI. Better animation has been used in video games, it looked atrocious. For a multi-million dollar film you’ve got to wonder where the money went.
Overall there are certainly redeeming aspects (Will Smith’s Deadshot comes to mind), but there is a lot wrong with it and DC certainly need a revitalised energy to springboard their films into the same league as Marvel.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas and Roadshow Entertainment