Suicide Squad Review

14 Aug


This crap is what results when you vomit a sludge of ideas onto the screen in lieu of trying to figure out what fits where. This is what happens when your set sounds like a worse place to work at than a sweatshop. This is what you get when the society you live in demands a new superhero movie every week, quality be damned. This is incompetent filmmaking, plain and simple, and it’s clear that the man who helmed the terrific End of Watch has plunged off a cliff to his fiery directing demise.

Where to start? The flashbacks. Yes, David Ayer, flashbacks are commonly used narrative devices in movies that can help advance character and plot; that doesn’t mean you have to shove a bunch of them into nonsensical places in order to further some of the most uninteresting character arcs I’ve ever had to sit through. This is what I call “impatient cinema”: a movie so determined to hit a checklist of narrative beats that it forgets to give coherence any weight. The ~2 hours are chock full of stops and starts, of scenes thrown in there seemingly like afterthoughts. “Wait, are we seriously near the end and haven’t had a bonding scene between these lovable criminals? I need something, stat!” “Mr. Ayer, sir, we only have ideas one might classify as ‘shitty’.” “You think I give a fuck?”

There are a ton of intrusive scenes, but there is perhaps nothing more intrusive here than the soundtrack. God, this soundtrack is awful. No, I don’t mean the songs are awful. I mean the soundtrack as it is used in the movie is awful. Every time something starts blaring in the background, it’s usually during a random, unnecessary time and is clearly a plea for attention meant to distract us from the actual crap. What a waste of good music. Continuing along the technical side of things, the cinematography is also poor. Everything is dark and bland–for a good current example of shooting in dark spaces, check out Robert Elswit’s work in The Night Of–and the final battle visuals do a good job of obscuring the parts that matter. Overall, the movie looks terrible, and also, fuck that demented jellyfish of a villain.

So, if characters, soundtrack, cinematography, and story are all failures, there has to be some type of saving grace, right? Wrong. I wish I shared the same enthusiasm for some of these performances that others do, but the only compliments I can give to Margot Robbie and Will Smith are that they seem to at least be having some fun. Everyone else is forgettable, most notably Jared Leto’s Joker. I’d like to take this opportunity to express a hearty “fuck Jared Leto”. That talentless hack cowers behind the term “method acting” to give himself an excuse to act like an asshole, and he undoubtedly deserves to have a lot of his scenes cut from the movie (reminder never to wander onto a Terrence Malick set, Jared). You’re an actor, you conceited prick. Your job is to read your lines. His performance is nothing but surface level preening, and it’s laughable how good he thinks it is.

It’s also laughable how much this movie thinks it’s being subversive (kudos to the marketing campaign for pushing that, though). Its attitude isn’t as annoying as Deadpool‘s–still the worst superhero movie of the year–but there are very few things I hate more in film than self-congratulation. In the end, this is just another Avengers-type movie, and the characters have to constantly remind us that we’re watching villains and not good guys. Why? Because it’s all just more of the same. “We’re the bad guys!” Harley Quinn reminds us for the millionth time. My response: “I know. Now shut the hell up.”


Edited to add: I disagree with the premise that superhero movies are supposed to be “fun”. Dark and gritty–what Ayer is known for and what the comics are known for–is what would work for this, whereas “fun” works for The Avengers. Just because bad movies have been made that have the completely opposite tone of The Avengers doesn’t make that tone automatically bad. Here, the desire to force “fun” clearly weakened the movie and its creative process.

Photo credit: Suicide Squad, DC Comics

13 Responses to “Suicide Squad Review”

  1. JustMeMike August 14, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    Nice review of a film, that I won’t see.

    May I add that this film seems to have garnered your most severe negative review. Not used to seeing this kind of vitriol from you.

    For the record, I did watch, review, and like Ayer’s film End of the Watch.

    • polarbears16 August 14, 2016 at 6:04 pm #

      Thanks. Only the third worst film I’ve seen this year, but what I’ve heard about the set antics–particularly by Leto–really annoys me, I guess.

  2. mlbradford August 15, 2016 at 5:21 am #

    An amazing review – u’r a bear who doesn’t care and I salute u for it!
    Again, I am justified in giving this mess a miss.
    When I said I wanted to watch another comic book so bad, I meant I was eager to watch, not get this kind of dross shoved at me!
    Keep up th good work!

  3. Mark V. August 17, 2016 at 7:35 am #

    Sounds like you too nearly had an aneurysm writing this like I did.

  4. boxofficebuzzab August 17, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

    It’s such a shame, because I felt the cast and concept had such great potential. It felt like this movie was trying to be the dark and gritty version of Guardians of the Galaxy, but it didn’t quite work.

    • polarbears16 August 17, 2016 at 11:19 pm #

      Yeah, the success of GotG definitely influenced this movie. I just wish DC would do its own thing rather than try to compare itself. I think Marvel has its fair share of failures, but at least they know what works. DC is floundering.

  5. Hepburn3 August 18, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

    Aw, ya didn’t like it Puddin’? 😉
    I enjoyed it because I love Harley Quinn and I thought Robbie brought her to life, and I enjoyed DeadShot and I thought Viola captured the ruthlessness of Amanda Waller and that made me enjoy it. I know and love these characters so for me it was summer movie fun I know what I expect going in.
    I am not a Marvel movie fan and do not read their books, but I do read DC.
    I accept your point of view review.
    Laters PB! 🙂

    • polarbears16 August 19, 2016 at 8:01 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it!

      • Hepburn3 August 19, 2016 at 8:41 am #

        By the way, I do not think that DC is trying to be like Marvel, it is just that many want them to be. DC is and always has been different in tone to Marvel , in print, animation, tv, and now film.
        I have seen Guardians of the Galaxy and it for me was just ok, I did not hate it but I do know I will never watch it again. GoG did not cross my mind while watching this film.
        I am just tired of Marvel being the fanboy ideal, because fir me they are boring and jingoistic.Their movies are very male centric, female characters are rather superfluous and have little power, they do not even make action figures of them and their tshirts are sexist. The only place that they are not is in Marvel Netflix which I do enjoy and is very dark and gritty, something which DC gets slagged and dragged for, but Marvel gets praised. Netflix Marvel I enjoy, because ironically they are rather DCish in tone.
        The only Marvel film that I will now go see is Black Panther, because of the cast, and because it will be the first film in a long time that is not about vile American slavery, Civil Rights, or Black gangs. I look forward to that and how the fanboys and critics handle all that.
        Finally in saying all this I do not read reviews for DC comic films by critics, because I do not respect them what Siobhan ever, but I read yours PB because I do respect you.
        But in the end I know what I like and why.
        Thanks for reading.

      • polarbears16 August 19, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

        I’m so very tired of Marvel as well, and I am definitely a fan of more dark and gritty superhero stories. Marvel’s tone annoys the hell out of me a lot. I also agree that people want DC to be like Marvel; I just feel like DC strayed too close to Marvel with this movie, as I actually didn’t feel very much of a dark and gritty tone. That’s just me, though.

        As flawed a movie as it was, BvS was still better than a lot of what Marvel produces. I’m most definitely not a fan of this or Man of Steel, though. Nolan’s trilogy is solid.

        And thank you! That means a lot to me. People like you are why this blog is worth it.

  6. Hepburn3 August 19, 2016 at 8:44 am #

    I do not know why what so ever turned into Siobhan, a lovely Irish name but alas has no context in what I was trying to say! 😄

  7. thoughtsallsorts August 21, 2016 at 3:41 am #

    Great review! Your opening paragraph is super!

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