Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Suicide Squad

Beset with a troubled production and legendarily troubled reshoots, Suicide Squad had the unfortunate timing to be in production when the disastrous Batman Vs Superman was released to a critical drubbing and underwhelmed audiences. Suicide Squad as released is an incoherent mess that while not as blatant in its reshoots as the most recent Fantastic Four, still stinks of studio interference. Scenes introducing characters are repeated within minutes of each other and the film has a staccato pace that lurches from moment to moment of empty action.
The framework of the film gives glimpses of a larger work that delved deeper into the backstories of the characters, but in the final piece, the character moments are bite-sized chunks that allude poorly to whatever conflict may exist.  Punctuated with gratuitous and brief bits of tired licensed music such as “Born on the Bayou” and “Sympathy for the Devil” Suicide Squad feels like an attempt to capture the experience of Guardians of the Galaxy with no understanding why those decisions were made appropriately in that film.  
Make no mistake this is Margot Robbie and Will Smith’s movie, with each of their respective characters stealing the show whenever they are on screen. Robbie’s Harley Quinn is a sparkling gem of madness and spousal abuse where Smith’s Deadshot is a sociopath trying to do right by his daughter (which is an oxymoron). Each brings their full charm and intensity to the films, giving it far more life than it deserves. Viola Davis (Amanda Waller) and Jay Hernandez (Diablo) also standout as Waller proves to be as sociopathic as the Suicide Squad, and Diablo reveals a truly tragic backstory that makes him a reluctant hero. Jared Leto is an insignificant and impotent Joker, attempting to make hay of the role defined by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger and failing to do so. Leto’s Joker is occasional comic relief that exists only to further muddy an already inexplicable plot.
Suicide Squad is a mildly entertaining mess made from the threads of a likely more interesting movie and an embarrassing step down in quality for director David Ayers.