Movie Review - Suicide Squad

This movie follows the story in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but somehow writer-director David Ayer has done a far worse job than director Zack Snyder. Will Smith, presumably, turned down Independence Day: Resurgence to do this film, and he clearly made a mistake. Even though that Roland Emmerich film, released a month or so ago, was terrible, it was still a better diversion that this cobbled-together, derivative mess.

Will Smith stars as Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot, a hired assassin in Gotham who makes money killing people until he's captured by Batman. We're supposed to like him because he's a father to an adorable, little girl whom he loves. Yet, if he weren't played by Smith, he could and should be easily dismissed. He's basically a good marksman, very handy with a gun, but Smith infuses the role with his usual wit, charm and humor.

Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street and Focus) co-stars as Harley Quinn, the girlfriend of the Joker, Batman's main nemesis. She started as a psychiatrist assigned to Joker when he was sent to Arkham Asylum. She literally and figuratively fell for him. She's the only other person of the six, titular characters who actually is a character and with a bit of a personality. All the rest are just background or utilized only for their specific power.

Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard and Terminator Genisys) plays Boomerang, the most pointless one here. Jay Hernandez (Crazy/Beautiful and Hostel) plays Diablo, a guy who can shoot fire out his hands. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Oz and Lost) plays Killer Croc, a half-man and half-crocodile who is big, strong and can breathe under water. Finally, there's Karen Fukuhara who plays Katana, basically a female samurai. She wields the very sword after which she's named.

We get brief flashbacks that's supposed to establish their characters. Their flashbacks do about as much work as Guardians of the Galaxy, but, unlike that film by James Gunn, this movie doesn't then provide a narrative and action-beats that flesh out their characters. All four, aforementioned characters remain vague or one-note sketches.

This movie has to juggle two more characters than Gunn's movie, but even a film like Bryan Singer's X-Men did a better job of fleshing out all his characters than this does. All this movie does is concoct generic and boring action scenes that are just bland shoot-outs with simply guns put in everyone's hands. There's not much more to this.

Ayer has failed on the same level as Josh Trank with Fantastic Four (2015), the ultimate bomb of last summer. Ayer even cribs the same ending with very similar CGI vomiting on screen. What it comes down to being is simply a poorly written film that feels more like a cog in the machine, a bridge or setup to the next movie.

Given the revelations in Batman V Superman and what will clearly be the revelations in what this movie is setting up, Ayer has rendered the whole thing useless. At best, it's a C-level or B-level knockoff of The Avengers (2012), which arguably Guardians of the Galaxy was, but again Gunn takes better care to develop his core characters than Ayer does. It's not even as good as CW's Legends of Tomorrow, a TV series that also teams up B-level characters from DC Comics.

In the end, you just don't care about these people, and it's not just because they're bad guys, villains pulled from various comics involving Batman and Superman. Ayer's film just never digs deep into any of them. For example, Joel Kinnaman plays Rick Flag, the military colonel who is supposed to be the leader or wrangler of the six villains when they're out on their special missions. Rick has a love affair with June Moone, aka the Enchantress, played by Cara Delevigne. Ayers gives us one shot of them kissing and no lines of dialogue, which isn't enough to make us feel this love affair between them.

The only exception is the so-called love affair between Harley Quinn and the Joker, played by Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream and Dallas Buyers Club). Yet, aside from helping to explain her origin, her romance with Joker felt superfluous. We see more of her bonding with Joker than we do the members of the team, so when Deadshot does something heroic for her, the emotion of it rang false or hollow. I didn't buy why the six bad guys were bonded or bonding.

Viola Davis (Doubt and The Help) also co-stars as Amanda Waller. She's the Nick Fury of this team of bad guys. When we hear her reasons for wanting to assemble this team, she sounds like Lex Luthor. It then becomes obvious as the movie unfurls that she would have been a far better choice in Batman V Superman than Jesse Eisenberg. Her character here is a far bigger presence than Lex Luthor or even Nick Fury was. This is both a good thing and bad thing.

The good thing is that Davis is such an incredible actress, better than all the actors here combined. She's the most interesting thing to watch in every scene. The bad thing is that she sucks all the oxygen out the room. She draws away from what are supposed to be our protagonists. As such, Boomerang, Diablo and Killer Croc get the short-end of the stick.

Yet, as smart as she is, Ayer doesn't write Amanda in a way that makes sense. Her working premise is to put together a team of people who could defend us from Superman if he ever went rogue. Her solution is to get these six bad guys, most of whom couldn't withstand two seconds against Superman. It's ridiculous, and the final scene she has with Bruce Wayne, played by Ben Affleck, makes her entire endeavor moot.

One Star out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing behavior and language.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 3 mins.


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