Suicide Squad is the third installment of DC’s cinematic universe and it is the first film that is not led by Batman, Superman or any other member of the Justice League. Written and directed by David Ayer (Training Day, End of Watch), this is the first DC film to be released since Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. After the critical response to Batman V. Superman Warner Bros. started to better structure the DCEU and put Geoff Johns at the helm as President. There have been reports that have surfaced this week suggesting that Warner Bros. panicked at the fan and critic reception of BvS and started to intervene with Suicide Squad and demanded tonal re-shoots. These reports also claim that there are two different edits of Suicide Squad and Warner Bros. has released an amalgamation of the two edits into theaters. This ensemble film is weighed down by the studio’s influence but is elevated by its incredibly great cast and their portrayals of fan favorite villains.
The Pace and Plot
This film starts as soon as we see DC’s shiny brand new logo and the film does not waste any time to introduce our heroes… or villains. We spend the most time seeing Deadshot’s and Harley Quinn’s backstories and we are briefed on the rest of the squad’s background. We hardly spend any time with these characters before we are thrusted into the plot of the story, which happens very fast. Before you know it we are looking at a fully assembled Task Force X and they’re already off to their first mission. For a film that gets started right away we hardly ever get to breathe in-between scenes until later in the film. The pacing and editing of this movie is a bit choppy and it can take you out of the film for a moment. The plot and main antagonists of this film are unfortunately mediocre, generic and predictable.
The Cast and Characters
The cast and characters of Suicide Squad are some of this films greatest attributes and strengths. This is the first time that we get to see Harley Quinn in a live-action film and Margot Robbie does an incredible job portraying everyone’s favorite mallet swinging jester. Will Smith delivered a great performance as Deadshot, which is also one of his best performances in recent years. While this film mostly follows Deadshot and Harley Quinn there are also standout characters like Diablo and Captain Boomerang. Viola Davis’ take on Amanda Waller was, without a doubt, more menacing than the films antagonist and she has an incredibly strong presence. While there were a lot of characters to service in this film there were unfortunately some characters that were not given as much screen time. Leading up to this film everyone has wondered about Jared Leto’s new take on The Clown Prince of Crime himself, The Joker. Most of Joker’s scenes in this film were left on the cutting room floor, making him the most forgettable character in the entire film. There is so little Joker in this film but there is enough to form an opinion on Jared Leto’s take on the character, which I’ll let you do for yourself. Harley Quinn and The Joker share a very brief scene that displays imagery that every comic book fan will be proud of. There are also major cameos in this film that remind you that this movie is a single piece of an even bigger universe. While there is friction amongst some of the characters, you can tell the cast had a great time bringing these characters to life on the big screen.
At moments the tone of this film seems dis-joined and inconsistent with the rest of the film. We are given fancy introductions to the characters that are consistent with the tone of the trailers but we are given a slightly heavier in tone, more serious film. The background music in this film also stands out but in that of a trailer and not a motion picture. This is consistent with the reports that the very studio that edited the Suicide Squad trailers also edited an entire version of the film as a whole. There are moments in the film where there are seemingly entire popular commercial songs forcing the tone of the scene rather than the scene itself. There comes a moment when the film takes on a different tone and it better represents a film directed by David Ayer, which conflicts with the previously set tone of the film. While the tones of this film rub against each other and cause a bit of friction at times, there are some really great and fun moments that these character share on screen.
The tale of the tape for Suicide Squad isn’t poor acting or directing, it is studio intervention. While there have been many outside distractions surrounding Suicide Squad leading up to its release, there is a good movie in this film but, unfortunately, the studio influence is very present and visible. I was excited for this film but I was a bit disappointed. The disappointment doesn’t fall on David Ayer, the cast or even DC. Suicide Squad suffers from Warner Bros. knee-jerk reaction to Batman V. Superman’s critic and fan reception by changing the already appropriate tone of this film into something seemingly more commercially acceptable. This is where the film fell flat and felt inconsistent with itself. But with all of that being said: I do recommend Suicide Squad because at the end of the day, it is ultimately up to you, the viewer, to see for yourself and form your own opinion.