A rag tag group of criminals in jail are called upon by the government (local council perhaps?) to form a ‘suicide squad’ - a crack team designed to fight special supervillains.
The first half hour or so of Suicide Squad features some of the laziest, most cack handed character introductions you’ll ever see. Someone from some committee sits at a table and runs through the list of criminals, one by one. “This is Deadshot, he’s the deadest shot in all Deadwood. He’s got a heart though and a kid.” “This is Harley Quinn. She’s a lean mean hot psycho machine.” It’s hard to imagine a more tedious way to get things started.
Boring the audience to death seems to be the main aim of the film, so in that sense it could be deemed a success. The phrase ‘nothing happens’ is not strictly true but nothing happens of any interest, ever, or in any order that makes sense. The worst crime is that we have to sit through all that shitty character build-up only to never really see them in action. Deadshot in particular gets to do nothing more than a regular guy with a gun would.
It’s not surprising to hear that there were last minute edits and re-writes following the shitfest that was Batman v Superman. The musical cues betray this the worst; nothing seems to fit. Ayer tries too many times to carve out ‘memorable moments’ by just playing a popular record over the top of what’s happening. You can see he’s gunning for something like Be my Baby in Mean Streets but it’s all misfires and afterthoughts.
Margot Robbie puts in a decent performance as Harley Quinn but she also falls victim to the last minute re-writes, being forced to deliver some spectacularly shit punchlines. At one point, when shown an app that can kill people (don’t ask) she comes out with the zinger “that’s a killer app”. In a packed cinema, not one person laughed at any point in the film, yet the jokes were coming in thick and fast.
Jared Leto plays the Joker like the Wicked Witch of the West. No bad thing, The Wizard of Oz is a classic. It’s hard to be too judgemental since his role was basically a cameo, but what we do see of him is ‘edgy’ in the way a 13-year old girl would use the term ‘edgy’ to describe a pencil case with the word ‘fuck’ on it. I think they literally tattooed the word ‘deranged’ on his head.
Surprisingly, some of the biggest problems with the film are more technical ones. The picture is so dark it’s hard to make out what’s going on, even in daylight. The editing is so poor it drew some comments from the crowd in the coffee shop after the film. The fight scenes were particularly wanky, with the CGI villains never really posing any threat.
Suicide Squad is sadly one to add to the bargain bucket along with Catwoman and Green Lantern.