August 12, 2016 Suicide Squad (Movie Review)
On August 5th, 1966, Cesar Romero made his debut on the Batman TV series as the Joker. The success of the show inspired many projects to come, including the cartoon as well as live Action movies, introducing new intriguing characters throughout the years. On the 50th anniversary of Romero’s appearance, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) released its third installment, Suicide Squad. The film grossed approximately 133 million opening weekend, but unfortunately sales have plummeted since. This was a huge blow to everyone involved, as it was expected to impress after the lukewarm response of 2013’s Man of Steel and 2016’s Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. The negativity from fans may be the worst Warner Brothers executives have ever seen, going as far as a petition against Rotten Tomatoes, as well as a British man planning a lawsuit claiming ‘false advertising.’ As the saying goes, the third time is a charm, but this was not the case for DC’s latest theatrical release.
Bleeding from the recent film Batman vs Superman, US Intelligence Officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis: How To Get Away With Murder TV series, The Help 2011) introduces an idea to assemble a team of the worst criminals housed at Belle Reve to take on any future dangers the world may face. With nothing to lose, they become the perfect group of expendables, controlled with bombs implanted in their necks. When the city is threatened by an ancient entity known as Enchantress (Cara Delevingne: Pan 2015, Anna Karenina 2012) and her brother Incubus (Alain Chanoine: Trauma TV series, Fallen TV series), the newly formed squad consisting of Deadshot (Will Smith: Seven Pounds 2008, Men In Black 3 2012), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie: Pan Am TV series, Legend of Tarzan 2016), Boomerang (Jai Courtney: Divergent 2014, Insurgent 2015), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez: Nashville TV series, Quarantine 2008), and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: Major Lazer TV series, Game of Throne TV series) are assembled and sent out to save the world. Accompanied by Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman: House of Cards TV series, The Killing TV series) and Katana (Karen Fukuhara: debut film), they set out on the suicide mission, Waller watching their every move.
Within the first twenty minutes, all the recruited criminals are introduced as Waller pitches her idea for the team of anti-heroes, known as Task Force X. The scenes unfortunately did not have a continuous flow, instead feeling botched and rushed. Because of this, some of the characters did not get utilized properly, the lack of development leaving little to memory. The Joker’s (Jared Leto: Panic Room 2002, Chapter 27 2007) involvement became an unnecessary sideline story, building up his own plot to rescue Harley Quinn, which ultimately fails in a matter of minutes. Leto has since mentioned many of his scenes were cut, and is left to participate in approximately fifteen minutes of the film. As Batman’s arch nemesis, this was a huge disappointment to fans, and this was only one example. It is heavily rumored that there was a revolving door of editors, as the pressure was on to make or break DCEU’s reputation. Moves like this can often funnel the vision of the whole picture, which seems to be the case here.
As a Comic Book fan himself, David Ayer jumped into this project with both feet as the director. He tested the actors intensely to create chemistry as well as the proper mood while filming certain scenes. As a result, the cast did become excited to play their roles, and most did their research to authenticate their characters. Leto took inspiration from the Comic Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on a Serious Earth, which portrayed The Joker as a transcendent, unsettling, and seductive person. Akinnuoye-Agbaje researched all variations of Killer Croc, and even went as far as studying human cannibalism. Margot Robbie became so enthralled playing Harley Quinn, there is already talks of a movie mainly focused on her and other female villains. Due to lack of character development, much of the attention to detail got lost in the shuffle, but the knowledge alone is promising for future projects.
The overall look of the film is not terrible, the sets holding a good balance between bright colors and dark tones. The physical representation of the characters was also pretty spot on, although some Comic readers may nitpick at some details. Ayer has mentioned he considered an alternate character from the series, known as King Shark, but figured he would be strictly CGI. Instead, he opted for makeup and prosthetics that dressed Killer Croc, put together by the talented Greg Nicotero and his team. Other aspects of the graphic work did raise questions, El Diablo manipulating fire into words and puppets, and Enchantress’ lame glob army to name a few.
With all the work that went into this highly anticipated Suicide Squad, its a true wonder of what went wrong. There was a dedicated cast, a talented director, and plenty of storylines to work with. The end result seemed to branch out in its own direction, which can be ok as long as there is consistency. There is a saying that too many hands in the pot spoil the soup, and it appears Suicide Squad fell victim to that. With the knowledge of many scenes that were removed from the theatrical release, perhaps the executives at Warner Brothers should redeem themselves and present the world with an awesome Director’s Cut DVD. CrypticRock gives Suicide Squad 2 out of 5 stars.