Ok DC, things are getting a little out of hand now. Perhaps you didn’t quite listen to the criticism for Batman v Superman, but this thing you’ve been doing with cramming a dozen characters into a movie and expecting audiences to automatically take a liking to them without much backstory, screen-time, or even dialogue just has not been working. This is ever more so apparent with Suicide Squad a film so steeped in potential that the end result is probably the biggest disappointment to hit screens this year.
I guess the first problem lies within the script—or what’s left of it after it seems like everyone and their mother decided to cut a line out here, or an entire scene out there. As its becoming more noticeable—especially after the abysmal Fantastic Four debacle last summer—that studios are playing the power card more often in order to get a specific vision of the film that seems to defy critical and fan standards, we now must suffer what studios think fans want rather than listening to the fans themselves. Combine that with DC’s attempts to play a massive game of catchup to Marvel and we’re getting a dozen characters all at once when they all would benefit immensely from their own standalone films.
Take Will Smith’s Deadshot (one of the few members of the Squad to receive more than a few words of dialogue and backstory). His performance is exceptional, he has reasons to be “evil” and finds himself consistently conflicted with how his young daughter feels about him. Its a little tenderness in a movie that is really anything but, and a film for him would have been incredibly fun with his weapon skills and ultimately a little touching.
In terms of screen time and importance, Margot Robbie’s pitch-perfect Harley Quinn is comparable to Smith. Wickedly maniacal, she brings a lot of fun to a film that I was expecting to be more so. The trailers showed a high-octane action movie that was non-stop action from start to finish: the actual movie is drastically different. Long periods of time with no action, a non-sensical villain that features some of the most laughable acting I’ve seen this year, and a penchant to not really explain things in detail all highlight the numerous issues with the script. Perhaps a director’s cut could add new life to the film, but it would really have to be David Ayer’s original view…not the studio’s.
While some of the characters get their fair share of the limelight, Katana, Captain Boomerang, Diablo, Killer Croc, and—unfortunately—the Joker do not. Most don’t get hardly more than a line or two, and some appear late in the game and don’t even get a proper introduction. Tack on Viola Davis’ role as the handler of the Squad, who has her own nefarious motivations, a hundred different classic songs that play one after the other, and the sense that the film can’t stay put in one location for more than a few minutes, and you’re in for one of the messiest film experiences you’re likely to have all year.
I really wanted to love Suicide Squad. It seemed like DC’s answer to Guardians of the Galaxy, a film full of action and dark comedy: but DC once again has dropped the ball. Their only saving grace can be Wonder Woman, because if that fails, I do not think they’re ever going to find much to write home about.