I really wanted to like Suicide Squad.Really. But with some directorial fumbles and plot contrivance, I find myself asking the same question that I’ve asked myself plenty times when watching superhero movies – What’s the point? Superhero films badly need a change. But suicide squad wasn’t it. It still has the trademark crowd-pleasing aspects that make it look like it came out of the same cookie-cutter that made other superhero movies. The hopes of an unconventional (that was certainly how they marketed it!),artistic and original film fell flat. Even the movie’s best, Margot Robbie and Will Smith who portrayed Harley Quinn and Deadshot respectively, couldn’t make the experience a lasting one.
Suicide Squad suffers from devoting so much time to action sequences that it neglects the good moments it merely brushes on the surface. There’s alot to be explored in Dr.Harleen Quinzel and Joker’s doctor-to-patient relationship that becomes an intriguing toxic romance. Instead of utilizing Jared Leto and Margot Robbie’s talents to create what could have been tense dialogue exchange and conversational back-and-forths, their psychology and relationship is trivialized to short scenes of steamy kisses and sweet-nothings. Less than 5 seconds into their introduction, both were already smooching away. At this moment, I just threw out whatever hopes I had of a Hannibal Lecter/ Clarice Starling depiction. Overall, it was really disappointing to say the least because the film persistently left character development for dead.
With so many characters already vying for screen-time, the inclusion of an ineffectual Joker and haphazard cameos from Batsy seem bizarre. I didn’t enjoy Jared Leto’s Joker because it was uneccesarily over-the-top. It goes from character design to dialogue to Leto’s portrayal which evoked neither fear, disgust, humour nor sympathy. But let’s be honest, the scenes constrained him. Lying in the middle of an assortment of knives…was he doing a ritual? Well at least show it and don’t just leave it where he lies down and laughs for three seconds?! The part where he unexpectedly shoots a gangster who refuses to enjoy the company of Harley out of respect is so overshadowed by loud music and distracting camera movements. One perfect scene to show how we’re dealing with a serious screwloose here and the film literally manages to screw it up. Cue the neon and purple screen transition to a crazy car chase. And the previous scene seems non-existent.
To give some credit, I enjoyed myself the most when Harley Quinn and Deadshot appeared on screen. Viola Davis was pretty decent. But the rest were kind of forgettable.There’s this issue with how the movie’s going to fit in with the rest of DC’s plans because I have an ominous feeling it’s just an attempt to rebrand themselves as the cooler cousin to Marvel. Are we going to see more of Harley Quinn and Deadshot? Shouldn’t this have been the film we ACTUALLY got to see more of them? The backstory? Why even make a movie about villains doing something good if you don’t focus on the moral dilemmas and belief systems that make villains so compelling?
In the final part of the movie, we get to see some attempts to humanize the suicide squad but it isn’t nearly enough. Suicide Squad has too many scenes devoted to action and banter that aren’t supplemented by scenes devoted to character depth. I will say though that casting Will Smith here is a fantastic choice because he’s able to wring out blood from stone. There was a sense of warmth that shone through and humanized Smith’s Deadshot. Most impressive of all was Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Just everything about her depiction was everything I imagined in a Harley Quinn and more- The unsettlingly wide smile, the frivolous behaviour and comic relief were exceptional. Margot Robbie seriously nails the pixie-like character with her own sexiness and charm 😍 In a movie where I have nothing much to cheer about, it’s such a relief knowing I can truly say I LOVE everything about Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.
I think the fact that superhero films have to please it’s audience is something we have to accept. Big-budget films like Suicide Squad will embrace the action-driven crowd-pleasing tropes to the less marketable character studies. As proven, Suicide Squad is a mega box office hit already and DC’s hopes to contest Marvel is well under way. It’s just a pity that with the way things are going, there’s absolutely no way we see a 6 minute conversation between Dr.Harleen and Joker that deals with Dr.Harleen’s conflict of interest; Her professional duty and her desire are blurred by the intimacy of their medical arrangement. And truth be told, she lets go of Dr.Harleen Quinzel and becomes Harley Quinn, her newly formed full-on psychotic persona.
Or does she? By the looks of how superhero movies are turning out, we will never find out.
Rating: 4/10 The batman cameos just plain sucked. Margot Robbie and Will Smith were on top of their game though.