Casp and Dead saw Suicide Squad and instead of creating just one review about one of our thoughts, we decided to write a joint article discussing all of our thoughts. Movies are always subjective, and providing only a single person's view on them isn't always the smartest idea. How one person sees a movie is not how you're going to see a movie. With Casp's deep hatred of big-budget Hollywood fare and Dead's more open-minded approach to movies, it's pretty obvious neither of us are going to have the same thing to say about it. As a result, this review will be split up into two sections for each of our thoughts, and will also be given a more easily digestible way of comparing our thoughts. We are going to each discuss our thoughts on the plot, direction, writing, characters, and any other things we feel the need to bring up, as well as our thoughts on the movie as a whole. So, without further ado, let's dive into our thoughts on this heavily-anticipated movie!
I wasn't really looking forward to this one at all. This has always felt like DC's answer to Deadpool to me, and considering that Suicide Squad decided to put star power and special effects over grit and an R rating, I knew it had already lost. This is not a movie I feel needed to be made, and it needed to be really, really good in order to prove that it should exist. Unfortunately, Suicide Squad failed to deliver, and it fell on its face so hard that I visibly winced several times throughout the movie. People are going to go into this wanting a silly, fun, and dumb movie about people going crazy, but I'm sorry to say that there really isn't much of that. Suicide Squad plays it way too safe and can't find anything interesting to do except have Margot Robbie bend over a lot.
Plot: Suicide Squad is a movie about a lot of attractive people going to stop an evil spirit from... uh... kidnapping Viola Davis? This movie isn't particularly about much. The plot is really thin and I'm afraid I'm not able to describe it to you for very long without spoiling it (there isn't particularly much to spoil) but I can assure you there isn't much here. Writer/Director David Ayer doesn't spend much time developing anything or giving the plethora of characters arcs or something to do. He just finds excuse after excuse to take characters to the expensive set pieces and from one awful soundtrack song to the next. It's not layered or interesting; it's just kind of there.
Direction: Ah, jeez, this movie is not well directed at all. David Ayer isn't really the most talented director out there, but for anyone who saw Fury you know that he is perfectly capable of directing a riveting, tense action scene. I have no idea where any of that went here, because all of the action scenes are incoherent CGI-infused messes. Making an expensive PG-13 movie is almost an excuse to cut back on real action and just replacing good camerawork with bad stunt doubles and a lot of CGI and green screen. You see, with something like Deadpool, there is a lot of action and some CGI, but it isn't excessive. Sure, Ryan Reynolds is definitely not the one in that suit during action scenes, but everything is coherent and satisfying. The action is interesting and fun to watch. You know what's going on. In Suicide Squad, you don't. All of the forgettable characters just kind of run around and yell, but you don't know who is who, why this is happening, or any motivations for anything.
Ayer doesn't seem to remember the "Squad" part of Suicide Squad, because there isn't any tangible unity for any of these characters or any real feeling that they are a team. In addition, a lot of people are going into this hoping that it will deliver something; attitude, edginess, and violence. You get none of it. Ayer plays it way too safe, giving us nothing special and nothing that you will remember. He just doesn't seem to care. He goes back and forth from flashbacks to real-time way too often and seems to forget what he's trying to do here. At one point, it feels like he spent too much time trying to develop the characters (we'll get to his failure to do so later) and after he got that far into the script he was too lazy to redo everything since he didn't have any room to write anything exciting, so he just said "screw it" and kept going. Shame someone handed $175 million to that kind of lazy person and said "Make a movie out of this." There's no imagination or creativity here. Ayer offers nothing new to the table, and that's what a lot of people were hoping for with this one.
Writing: Ayer goes for strike two here with his muddled and confusing script. It feels like he just threw everything into the script that he could without any semblance of cohesion or anything that remotely feels like a movie or entertainment. Ayer writes purely to move everyone to the next garish and incoherent action scene, which I suppose is passable if the action scenes were any good. He doesn't write any arcs, make any of his characters interesting or even two-dimensional, or really even bother to make a story. For the first hour or so of this movie, there isn't really even a story. A villain becomes a villain and they go to stop her for no apparent reason. She's a villain, so they have to stop here. That's the density of this script for almost the entire movie, until the villain kidnaps someone, and that's the peak of layers that this script has. As I said before, Ayer probably just sat down and wrote a bunch of things that sounded interesting to him while trying to develop the characters and just ran out of time and rushed the rest of the script in. It's pretty abominable.
As for dialogue, there's nothing here. It's primarily expository dialogue, with characters telling the audience what they're about to do, and then they promptly do what they just said they were going to do. Ayer wildly insults the intelligence of his audience and assumes that they can't see what's happening on screen and has to have it explained to them in detail by his characters. When the characters are speaking normally, it's stilted and jarring. None of them say things even remotely close to anything real people would say, and it's like they're all aware they're being filmed and in a movie. It's not compelling, interesting, or even really worth listening to. You could watch this movie on mute and it would have the same effect.
Characters: Egad! What characters? None of these guys have any development or reason to stand out. The only reason I could tell any of these characters apart is because they look different. If I read the script to this and was asked to differentiate any of these characters, I wouldn't be able to. I thought the point of this wild bunch of people was that each individual one had their own unique features and quirks, and they all stood out because of their own abilities and ticks. They aren't supposed to all blend together like this, but they do. I couldn't differentiate any of these guys, except I know that Deadshot looks like Will Smith and Harley Quinn likes to be filmed in sexually compromising positions. These characters are supposed to carry the movie, but instead they just wander around with a thin objective to defeat an enemy. The villain, Enchantress, by the way, is one of the worst villains ever put to celluloid. She has no motivations and I don't even think she does anything. She destroys a helicopter and kills one person, I think. She feels like a storyboard villain. A placeholder. When you're sketching out a story initially, this is how much depth she should have. Not in the final product. It's so disappointing that none of these characters are crafted with any care and are all expendable and forgettable, especially considering how unique and individual they are supposed to be.
Oh, as for The Joker, you know how little he's in the trailer? Yeah, that's because he's barely in this movie. He's here for maybe four scenes, and that's it. He also does nothing. Jared Leto doesn't add any sort of flair or uniqueness to the character, either. The Joker falls incredibly flat here, mainly because of the writing but also because Jared Leto is terribly miscast here.
Miscellaneous: A few things that really stand out in this movie is the editing and, of course, the soundtrack. The editing in this movie is so incoherent and awful, but you already could have guessed from the direction. The action is quick-cut and pretty shaky, and the editing doesn't properly guide viewers through an action scene. Things just sort of happen. In addition, this movie has no sense of pacing. The characters are developed for a really long time (really says something if Ayer spends this much time developing his characters and they are this unmemorable) and then gives his characters a couple quick conflicts and then the movie is over. There is no finale here, folks. David Ayer and his editors don't know how to pace a movie, apparently, because this one is insultingly edited from the first few frames. The soundtrack is going to be incredibly divisive here, mainly because of how "edgy" it's trying to be. Personally, I find it grating. I hate every single song on this soundtrack. With such abominable "artists" as Skrillex, Twenty One Pilots and The Black Keys on this album, I can safely say that I plugged my ears more than once during this movie. The original soundtrack is actually pretty good and disappointingly neglected. Steven Price, who composed the masterful soundtrack to Gravity, is given nothing to do here, as his talents take a backseat to the garbage songs that Ayer shoehorns into this movie. In a movie full of garish, ugly spectacle, the soundtrack is by far the worst thing about this movie.
Final thoughts: I implore none of you to see this movie. I said a few months back that Warcraft is the worst movie of the year, but make no mistake, Suicide Squad jumps miles ahead of how awful that movie is. With nothing here to redeem it, Suicide Squad amounts to a colorful, ugly, incredibly processed and artificial mess that manages to do absolutely nothing. No matter what reason you have to see this movie, you will be disappointed by it. I absolutely do not recommend this to anyone, because even serial killers deserve better movies than this.
When I first heard news of Suicide Squad going into production, I was excited, I'll admit that. It's a concept that holds a lot of potential if executed properly, potential that can easily be wasted. Throughout the films marketing and trailers, I slowly lost interest in it due to the obnoxious direction they were taking it and the completely wrong tone they gave it. They've successfully taken all that potential, bunched it up into a ball, and have thrown it out the window. What aims to be DC's attempt at something akin to a love child betweenGuardians of The Galaxy and Deadpool, ended up falling short on too many accounts. I'm legitimately upset (but not surprised) because itcould've been so, so good, but ultimately, it just wasn't.
Plot: Cliche and incredibly redundant. It's your typical "someone is going to take over the world and we have to stop them" plot. I for the life of me cannot see why the majority of comic book movies have to have some catastrophic endgame. It hinders character development and plot depth so much, but I digress. It was the director and studio playing it safe, as they did with the majority of this movie. Not a shred of originality or ambition is present in this plot and that bored me to an uncomfortable extent. The first half of this movie felt like a trendy montage, with terrible editing and little to no substance whatsoever. The second half generally consisted of a whole lot of redundant action. At the end of the day, nothing worthwhile actually happened. Its plot was just a majordisappointment in my eyes. One thing that is particularly bothering me that I can't help but mention is the lack of interaction between Batman and Joker. There is literally none.Batman v. Superman gave us an upset Bruce Wayne staring at Robin's costume after he was murdered by The Joker, and here they are after the fact with no interaction whatsoever. I don't know why they would set something like that up and just throw it away. There should have been an emotional Batman beating Joker senseless as he laughs away, it's more potential, wasted.
Direction: David Ayer did an excellent job, at absolutely blowing it. How you can take a concept and group of characters that are tonally dark and grim by default, chew it up and spit out something so neon and colorful whilst ruining multiple characters, is simply beyond me. This is something that disappoints me so much, I just can't recall a time where a predefined tone is so completely disregarded. It's inherently wrong on countless levels and a total disservice to fans of the characters. It's the tonal equivalent of when Peter Parker was "emo" in Spiderman 3. I really cannot see the logic to it. The direction really had no flow to it, and that really shows in the first half. The character introductions definitely should've been chronological and handled with more substance. The flashbacks were beyond annoying and distracting.
This movie almost exclusively revolves around Harley and Deadshot, which is somewhat acceptable but not too easily dismissable. They're the main members of the group, like Batman and Superman in Justice League, or Captain America and Iron Man in Avengers. A lot of characters did not have enough spotlight and just seemed like fillers in the end. I can go on and on with how the directing was a fail, but all I do is end up upset and with ideas of how it could've been better.
Writing: Nothing memorable in these regards. It's distractingly synthetic, especially from Waller and Joker. A scene with Waller having dinner and Joker throughout the whole movie, essentially, were painstakingly bad. It's in no way, shape, or form, good writing. However, the writing/script isn't what bothers me the most about this movie, I feel it can be overlooked a bit more when compared to the more blatant or prevalent flaws.
Characters: A few were completely ruined in my eyes and a total disgrace to the source material. Take Joker, for example, a dark, grim, murderous psychopath who has cut the skin off his face and later worn it as a mask in the comics. Why they decided to make him look like Marilyn Manson with neon green hair and prison tattoos on his face is a question that I will never come up with an answer to. They stripped him of all finesse and intimidation and made him a thug with flashy colors, I can't stand it. Sure Ledger set the bar high in 2008, but this is just awful. Truthfully, I can't even tell if Leto's acting is the problem, it's just the worst depiction of Joker we've ever seen, and with half his scenes cut. Then you have Harley, someone who's consistently kept a dark tone and color scheme, so of course, they decide to make her an over-sexualized, cotton candy looking, Barbie doll. Harley is a sexual character by default and always has been but when you constantly have slowed down shots focusing on her legs and butt while the remaining characters on screen stop what they're doing to gawk at her, something is wrong. I'm gonna blame the directing because I feel Margot Robbie and Jared Leto could not have acted with any quality high enough to not draw attention to how poorly depicted their characters are. It's a tragedy. Don't get me started on why Killer Croc acts like a thug who regularly sits on his porch drinking forty ounces of malt liquor and smoking cigarillos, presumably with other monsters. Come on, he's the brute force of the bunch, he's found in a swamp and lives in a sewer, why in god's name does he act like a gangster?
Deadshot had some emotional depth and was rather likable, I just really wish they went with a classier Deadshot, or really anyone besides Will Smith for that matter. It's distracting how similar all of his action characters are. Diablo had far more depth and personality than I was expecting and that was pleasantly surprising. Viola Davis nailed the character of Amanda Waller and how cold and conniving she is. However, there was little to no depth to a lot of other characters besides these. Slipknot was gone within minutes, Boomerang was pretty useless and had no resolve, same with Katana, Croc aided in a crucial point but that's about it. Rick Flag proved to be enjoyable but there really wasn't anything unique to him. Overall, I genuinely feel that the majority of main characters were poorly executed.
Miscellaneous: The soundtrack was incredibly bothersome throughout the movie in its entirety but it really manages to show how bad it truly is during the character introductions and how it just shifts from one song to the next with no real patience or intermission of sorts. It's just obnoxious. I like to think the soundtrack itself isn't inherently bad, but the way it was applied and executed was beyond terrible. I'm all for some classic 70's or 80's tunes in a movie when it can legitimately pull it off, Guardians of The Galaxy and Hardcore Henry come to mind to me. Some of these songs fit the tone that the movie has, but it's just simply not the right tone in my eyes. This movie, even with everything wrong with it, could have been better if they editing and cutting was done more naturally and with some actual thought put into it. It's just a mess.
Final thoughts: This movie had so much potential and it completely blew it, through its innumerable flaws. Do you want to know how to make a good Suicide Squad movie? Give Joker and Harley their appropriate tones and personalities. Ditch the cliche, meaningless villain we'll never see again and the plot that has been used so many times I could get to the center of a Tootsie Pop if each time counted as a lick. Use Batman as the villain, bonus points if it's rated R. Play it out like a thriller with horror elements, have Batman lurking in the shadows trying to take out or capture each member one by one, perhaps as they attempt to break out of Arkham Asylum. But alas, that is not what this movie is, for that would take intuition and ambition. This is a movie that plays it safe and ruins the characters you and I grew up loving, all at the same time, whilst being chock-full of technical errors. I wish so much that this wasn't the Suicide Squad we were given, but it is, and I simply can't recommend something that bothers me this much and leaves me thinking of what could've been, and what should have been.