'Suicide Squad', DC’s Flimsy Attempt At Course Correction

‘Suicide Squad’, DC’s latest polarizing feature film.

After the massive critical flop that was Batman V Superman, many people have been nervously anticipating the next DC movie. Is it going to drop the ball yet again and destroy the very little hope we still have, or have they learned their lesson after that last big misfire? The answer though, sits firmly in the gray area.

Where was all this color and flamboyance during the most of the film?

It’s not the best movie in the world (which accounts for all of the critical hate), but it also still pretty entertaining. Forgettably entertaining, but entertaining nonetheless. (Spoilers now follow! You’ve been warned!)

It starts off strong enough, with the introduction of the colorful personalities and their unique quirks, done in a neon-laced, light-hearted fashion. You see all the super-ex-con Squad members fitting nicely into character types making for a diverse group with potentially enjoyable interactions. Whenever the bond between the squad members and their de facto military leader, Rick Flag, is showcased, the movie usually excels. The cast clearly has strong chemistry (even though the development of the onscreen bond felt inorganic and the inevitable "team unity moment", unearned. But this was more a writing and editing issue. More on that below.)

firm up
Would have been cool...if it were earned and wasn't so uninspired.

After that though was a run-of-the-mill and bluntly uneventful hour and a half “plot”. This, essentially, is where the movie falters. It's one of those all style, no substance moments. After initial introductions, you realize the story and some character components were disappointingly lackluster. Its main conflict was painfully generic, boring, ultimately predictable and unnecessarily drawn out, their vague mission was only outdone by a totally cliche villain with a hollow "threat", there was very little sense of payoff, jarringly fluctuating character motivations, moments that either make no sense for the character but was put there because the plot needed to go a certain place, or shoehorned scenes that don’t further the plot but was gratuitously tacked on for character glorification.

squad 2
Never feels like there was any point in assembling the team, really. 
Since the bad guys were all pretty much just cannon fodder.
'Cept for Deadshot and El Diablo, who WOULD be pretty useful at a fight like this.

And what this film tried to pass off as its soul and substance were the squad’s individual character arcs. Save Deadshot’s father-daughter thread, the rest only felt like manufactured drama. El Diablo and Katana’s stories, for example, were pretty dark, but they never really reach the emotional heights that they could have been. Not because of the actors themselves, but really because in trying to give each character the obligatory moment in the spotlight, it does so at the expense of properly fleshing them all out and giving the audience a chance to invest on their stories. Not even Harley and Joker’s mad love tale felt very relevant, the movie could still just as easily worked without it altogether.

joker and harley
Even though I loved seeing Joker and Harley’s romance on screen, 
I couldn’t help but feel it was unnecessary and underserved. 
Sorry Mistah J.

But like I said, it was decent enough to entertain, and definitely NOT the repeat disappointment many were afraid of. The battle sequences were flashy and fun to look at and there were some really gorgeous visuals (especially involving the Joker). Will Smith’s well-rounded and root-able Deadshot, Margot Robbie’s zany, often-too-excited nut job Harley, and Jai Courtney’s loveable goofball (and honestly the most consistent with his motivations) Captain Boomerang amused despite the lackluster writing. The comic book nods, cameos, and setups to future properties were mercifully done with more restraint. And finally…humor! The healthy dose of levity was a nice change of pace in the DC universe and really helped salvage the otherwise bland story.

Robbie's Harley Quinn was almost spot on. Some jokes fell flat 
but her aura perfectly dances the line between genuinely excitable and psychotic.

Jai Courtney brings most of the humor as Captain Boomerang. 
It's almost like he's aware that HE'S A GUY WHO FIGHTS WITH BOOMERANGS.

I’m not saying the past movies’ lack of humor was their inherent problem. I mean, Batman can be dark and gritty, sure, but when you have a crocodile man, a sexy clown badass and an evil witch in the mix, I’m sure you can afford acknowledge and play with the silly a bit.

I am neither infuriated nor ecstatic about Suicide Squad. It’s a solid meh – a movie that’s entertaining enough but lacked the nuances to make it lasting. Its story was straight-forward, but the execution a bit messy. It could have been could have been tighter; could have lost some of the drama padding and instead focused on the fun character dynamics. But it does put DC on the right track though, adapting a tone that’s more in line with its over-the-top content. So kudos DC, keep at it, almost there.

Good or Bad? Or. A very solid OR. 


* First seen on taste.company
* Photos from Suicide Squad’s Official Facebook Page. 

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