Suicide Squad feels like a combination of underdeveloped ideas and terrible editing that ultimately results in a movie that does not know what it wants to be, nor how to bring the audience into the world.
First, I’ll discuss the good in this movie. Granted, there was more bad than good, but I’d like to start begin the full review on a more positive note. I will be assuming that you’ve already seen the movie, but if you haven’t go check out Suicide Squad, which is in theaters now.
There seems to be remnants of a great movie in this film. The comedy bits within the prison near the beginning of the film are great. A lot of what Ike Barinholtz does in this movie is hilarious. He is a great comic relief during the first part of the movie. Along with him, there’s a lot of comedy that could work within a better context, and feels as if it was taken out of place because of the biggest issue I had with this movie, which I’ll talk about in “The Bad” section, editing. The prison setting looked great, and I felt as if that was underutilized. If we got to see more of the prison, maybe a few cool references to some other villains that may or may not be in the prison, then I would have been pleasantly surprised.
Batman’s role in this movie felt great to start with. The scene in which he is capturing Deadshot was fantastic. Gliding down behind Deadshot and his daughter in an alleyway felt very reminiscent of Michael Keaton’s Batman films. It was great seeing The Dark Knight be stealthy. Keeping with this same idea, I had a great time watching and feeling the free reign that Joker had in Gotham. I could tell some of the scenes with Joke and Harley in the car was cut out, and maybe even a good bit of context for that, but it was still great to see. It felt very comic-booky (if that’s a term) when we saw these moments in the movie. By far, the Batman and Joker moments were my favorite because of the implied world that we got. We did not seem to get this from the other stories, although that may be attributed to the fact that I knew little about the characters other than the big names in the movie.
Enchantress’ first few moments in the movie were mesmerizing, and had me thinking that she was going to be the standout. Although it may not have turned out to be the best character, I did have a great time learning about her. She felt like one of the characters that was allowed to have an interesting backstory. Her transformation, and fear of that transformation, allows Cara Delevingne to give a fantastic performance.
Will Smith was solid, for the most part, as Deadshot. It wasn’t a mailed in performance, and he seemed to take on the character really well when the editing and writing allowed it. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn felt like the main character of the movie, but maybe that was because she gave the most memorable performance within the squad. On the other side Jared Leto‘s Joker performance suffered when not on screen with Harley, but mostly this can attributed to what I’ll mention later on and what I’ve already mentioned before – editing. The supporting cast around the main group within the squad felt like they could mesh well given the opportunity, unfortunately that was denied.
15 minutes into the film it becomes apparent that the editing of this movie is going to be erratic. The beginning of the film, and the most of the character introductions, don’t fit where they’re at. It’s such a rushed part of the movie that it feels like a stone skipping on water. Even some of the Joker/Harley moments, which were some of my favorite parts, could have been enhanced if they were allowed to actually develop. Instead, we’re left with what felt like halfway done scenes that had much more punch to them.
Most of this movie feels like a presentation of first ideas and climaxes with a fight that wasn’t earned. The early rumors this week indicated that the editing was a major issue, and it’s understandable why that was being spread around. It feels rushed from the moment the film starts, and it feels directionless. There doesn’t seem to be a cohesive story, and the editing almost proves that. There were several moments in the movie that felt out of order, or felt like they just suddenly started and ended with almost no context. When the context of these few scenes does get explained it feels like it’s 30 minutes later, and discussed in passing.
The consequences of the film are not there. We’re introduced to Midway City, and from the moment we’re introduced to it, it’s being destroyed. There doesn’t seem to be any real stakes in the city, and the squad doesn’t seem to be in any real danger. Nothing felt threatening, and very little felt like a life or death moment. Even when they’re in battle it doesn’t feel like there’s anything of consequence. The biggest threat is the explosive that’s in their necks. This movie fails to provide a through line for the audience to follow other than the characters.
The movie worked when it was allowed to. Throughout the movie it feels as if scenes are not allowed to grow, which is what makes it tough to come up with a ton of good. There are a TON of great things that were ruined by the way the movie flows and moves with the plot. The looming threat does not feel like it’s taken seriously by the squad, which could have been played off as funny, but was not. With Enchantress doing something to take over the world, which had to do with taking over the world’s armies (?), the squad had no choice but to go full force in the final fight. The final fight sequence is perhaps the longest continuous moment of the film (not saying it was a continuous shot, just the action was dealing with the same foe). The sequence didn’t feel like it was blocked well, and it felt like there were moments where the characters had to explain things to each other in order for the audience to understand what was happening. Example: Rick Flag telling Deadshot the significance of the heart. Maybe I missed this part, and if I did please tell me on twitter @cinemashelf, but it also bothered me that there was little mention of the guys that set the bomb off in order to kill Enchantress’ brother. Did they just die? I feel like we should have gotten maybe another few moments to understand why they were doing that/why they did that. The fight just felt like a weak moment in the movie.
This movie is, by no means, the worst movie I’ve ever seen. After seeing this movie, I contend that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice‘s Ultimate Edition is much more of a cohesive story, and an overall better film than this. I have a lot of hope for this universe moving forward, but that hope truly rests on the studio learning from BVS’ initial theatrical cut fan reactions and fan reactions to this. I hope that the directors get to present their film the way they intend to. I know David Ayer has been reported to have said that this is his cut, but I am not buying that at all.
Catch mine and Kameona’s thoughts this coming Monday on the CinemaShelf Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and GooglePlay
Suicide Squad is in theaters now!