Suicide Squad got a lot of hype early on since it was going to be a “superhero” film about super villains. If the concept behind this wasn’t terrible enough then the actual product makes sure to finish the job. I would actually go as far as to say that this is the worst superhero film of all time. This is only counting titles that I have seen of course as Batman The Killing Joke and other extreme titles like Deadpool could possibly still lose to this one. As it stands, Suicide Squad did an admirable job of lowering the bar considering that titles like Catwoman, Flashpoint Paradox, (While not on the same level of terrible, Flashpoint destroyed an entire dvd line so there’s that) and Justice League Gods and Monsters. There’s really not much to like about this film, but a whole lot to despise. In all fairness, I had a hunch that I was not going to like this film from the start and my hunches are rarely wrong. The tagline of them being the worst heroes was already a sign of things to come. It had some of the worst posters that I have ever seen for an action film and the trailer was pretty bad. I really didn’t think that the film could turn things around.
Like Batman V Superman, this film may also be getting an R rated extended cut as some point. As with the former, I’m sure that it’ll be even worse. It hasn’t been confirmed, but good ole Reddit scooped up a rumor of the scenes that were cut and if even half of those are true, this film really could have gotten a 0. Whoever did the editing for this film definitely deserves some props. That being said, he should have cut out another good chunk of the film to really make it watchable.
The plot involves a corrupt business woman named Amanda Waller. As she is a murderer who is protected by the government, she decides that it would be a good idea to get more murderers into the streets. They can go on suicide missions and possibly get some other people along the way. She manages to capture Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, and some other guys with a little help from Batman. After putting a bomb in their necks, she sends them off on their first mission to stop a supernatural threat which has been murdering people for 3 days. (A little late eh?) Can these humans hope to win?
Let’s back up one more time. The Suicide Squad idea was presented after someone asked a hypothetical question about what the government could have done if Superman had burst into the White House and attacked. Amanda brings up the Suicide Squad, but there should have been a lot of laughter in the room with several members running out the door. These guys would have trouble with Batman…they wouldn’t last a second against Superman. This has to be the worst idea ever presented when you think about the fact that there is 0% chance of success. Ah well, I guess it’s good that the government is humoring Waller before she stabs them all in the back.
The main problem with the film is the general gritty vibe that it goes for. This translates into every other aspect of the film. First and foremost is the terrible writing. The characters use the s word more than some abridged episode on Youtube and those titles don’t shy away from language. There’s a curse word in just about every sentence and it just never, ever ends. Every single joke has to use a curse word as well and you’ll wish that there was a censor. The amount of beeps would drive everyone crazy, but it would be worth it to save the writing. Harley Quinn’s very first scene is her pulling a “New 52 Starfire” as she lets the guards know that she is a free woman, but on her terms to put it nicely. Harley Quinn’s a terrible character like the others, but more on that later. Unlike Batman V Superman, which had some of the greatest dialogue in a CBM, this one had no good lines and all of the moments that could have been cool were destroyed by the language.
Next up is the terrible soundtrack. It is easily the worst soundtrack of all time. The songs naturally have a lot of cursing in them as well with the quick f-word drop to remind us that every PG-13 film has to use it at least once now. Hopefully the Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps it out of their movies. Even if the beats were occasionally cool, the lyrics threw you out of every moment and the film would have been better off without any songs. Silent films did work fairly well back in the day after all. If a film’s got nothing nice to say, then it should keep everything to itself.
For a film with this intense name, there isn’t actually a lot of cool action in Suicide Squad. There’s only one real fight scene at the very end of the film as the team takes on a mystical god. The problem is the fact that the writers should have never put a team of humans to take on such a powerful fighter. The villain could have destroyed all of them in an instant, but plot hax took control at this point and steered the villains to safety. The way that the Squad deals with the threat by the end is terrible and makes no actual sense. The writers had put themselves in a hole and couldn’t get out. For the rest of the film, you only get to see the Squad beating up police guards, army men, of CGI rock creatures that can’t fight back. Not the most thrilling fight scene if you ask me.
Also, once again….I just can’t root for these villains as the main characters. They don’t care for justice and they work for a mass murderer who always takes out innocent civilians. You really want the CGI rock creatures to defeat them and put an end to the whole debacle. It’s quite telling that the film jumps into the climax very quickly, but then spends an extremely long time getting out. This is complete with beer breaks and the like. The pacing was admirable, but the film clearly didn’t know what it wanted to do from there. It also couldn’t handle the suspense as well as a film like Resident Evil because the characters in the Evil series were much more likable even if they were throwaways. At the very least, you could root for Alice. Here…even the GI Joe character was fairly bad the whole time. It’s also a comic book film where the Squad have equipment/actual powers so it’s hard to get up to the same intensity. Maybe if the rock creatures had actually been Xenomorphs or if there was a good soundtrack, but there wasn’t. The film tried to play itself out as a zombie outbreak kind of title, but never went all the way because of its identity crisis.
All right, let’s take a quick break from bashing the film. The special effects were fairly good even if they were out of place. The two supernatural villains had fairly good designs. One of them went for the classic “Gods of Egypt” look which was cool. He actually looked like a cooler version of Apocalypse than what we got in the new X-Men film. His abilities were great as well and he was a great antagonist. It’s a shame that he had to be put in a film consisting of D listers. The other villain looked like something out of the Grudge and she tried to throw the horror aspect into the story. Once again though, this element disappears as swiftly as it arrives and she turned out to be too powerful. She could have eliminated the Squad many times and her plan really should have succeeded, but we do need those sequels….
The visuals look like what I’m expecting from the Ghost Busters film or even Dr. Strange to an extent. The film really goes all out trying to make the villain very eccentric and ritual-esque. She does a lot of odd dances even has basic hypnosis. It felt like something from the 90’s. It worked fairly well, but again..you should never pair a god against random humans. So, at least the visuals were a positive and the villains worked pretty well. Too bad we couldn’t save them for the Justice League film as that title is desperately looking for a villain. Even the Wonder Woman film would have been glad to have them.
Back to the negatives. Lets look at it from a character by character basis. Captain Boomerang is terrible as he’s just another drunk murderer who tricks other people into dying and has a nice laugh about it. There’s nothing to like with this guy. Deadshot is the most “heroic” of the bunch, but he’s not a hero by any definition and only helps people according to his own sense of twisted morals. It is quite telling that his number one wish for happiness is to murder Batman. He may try to be sympathetic, but he’s as ruthless as they come and no amount of jokes can help gloss over the fact that he is a mass murderer.
Harley Quinn may be the character who is supposed to stand out in the film, but she is portrayed in a very negative light. For starters, she is mainly used as fanservice with her costume basically just being a pair of undergarments for the entire film. A great deal of her lines are suggestive and her relationship with the Joker is very twisted. He tortures her when they first meet and there’s nothing shown to suggest that things have changed in the slightest. She’s basically his possession and that’s certainly not a proper relationship. As long as she stays with him, her life certainly isn’t going to get any better and I’ll be rooting against them since this is not the kind of relationship that should be portrayed in a positive light for any span of time. Her actual character needs a lot of work too though as made obvious during the really random CPR scene as part of her flashback. That scene was just brutal.
This is the worst portrayal of the Joker as well. He’s portrayed as your average mobster who isn’t very confident and is very obsessed with Harley Quinn. There is no moment where you feel like he is an evil genius and he doesn’t seem to care about Batman at all. There is no hero/villain dynamic there as the Joker is just a nobody who runs away from Batman and keep crashing his car. It’s also a huge plot hole to have the Joker around at all. Let’s face it, since Batman is a mass murderer in this series, there is no way that the Joker would still be alive. If Batman couldn’t find him, then it just further proves that the Batman of this film universe isn’t very smart. Even once Joker resurfaces and starts attacking installations all around, Batman never shows up. I’m still banking on the theory that the Joker is Robin, but it doesn’t really help this plot hole as Batman would likely still finish him off anyway. This Joker tries to be over the top crazy and slightly effeminate, but it just ends up leaving a broken character who makes the Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman look good.
Killer Croc was all right. He didn’t really have any character and was just around to bite people. He barely even qualifies as a character, but automatically that does mean that he beats most of the cast. Katana is around as well and she’s another character who really enjoys murdering others. She basically lives off hype though as she doesn’t really get a chance to do anything on screen. When she finally does fight, Katana looks incredibly weak and anticlimactic. She lost in a sword fight to add insult to injury. It’s going to be very hard to take her seriously after this.
Rick Flag is the “good guy” of the group. He was in the army and knows how to end a fight. He has crossed the line in the service, but still has a moral compass. Unfortunately, he is a complete yes man and starts to get black mailed very quickly. He has to resort to asking the people that he taunted for help and the whole thing is a very sad experience for him. After opening up to the other villains the film tried to make him a likable character, but it didn’t really work. The fact that Waller predicted that he would fall in love for a hostage that she sent him to find shows what a shallow/superficial guy he was from the start. I think I’ll probably prefer Steve Trevor from the Wonder Woman film.
Almost forgot about Diablo. He’s portrayed as the nice character who doesn’t want to be a villain anymore. The film gives us a very dark, gritty, and tragic past to forcefully push this message at us. Of course, he finally embraces his powers at the end along with a quick curse word as he runs at the villain. Another possibly good moment wrecked. At least the team has someone who can fight thanks to his true form, but the past was too tragic for me and I’ll find it very hard for this character to be even remotely likable.
Waller is another fan favorite character, but I don’t really care for her. I like the tough sounding government guys and I don’t even mind when they’re evil sometimes like in the latest Bourne film. Perhaps I wouldn’t mind her if she had been portrayed as totally evil because she is. Waller is a mass murderer who should be locked up like the others. My problem is that nobody seems to care as even Batman gives her a pass. I mean…are you kidding me? Batman giving her a pass is ludicrous and makes him look terrible as a hero. I know he crosses a lot of lines and probably doesn’t mind villains as much in this version, but locking her up has to be a top priority. The problem is that she can black mail him as well so there probably won’t be anything happening on that corner. Waller was great in the Justice League show because she actually cared a little more about her country. She still used underhanded methods to succeed and committed many villainous acts, but killing a group of men just because they knew too much? I believe that would be out of character for her and it was just too much when that happened here. The film went too far trying to make her appear as a hype character.
I remember there being a lot of articles about how significant Batman’s role was going to be here and how he was going to be super scary and the main antagonist. That never happened so either the scenes were removed or it was more fake hype to build up the film. It’s too bad as that could have helped the film a lot since Batman’s scenes were the best in the film. “I don’t want to do this in front of your daughter” was a great fake line from Batman as he very clearly chose this time to attack since it would put Deadshot in a bad position. He knew that the villain couldn’t go out and risk hitting his daughter. Luckily, this Batman has very few scruples about using underhanded tactics and that’s how he was able to conclude the fight. The line just adds more salt to the wound since there’s nothing Deadshot can do about the situation. Batman is ruthless and since he is also eager to cross the line, he makes for a compelling villain. I wish that the films played Batman straight, but as it is, the other characters make him look like a perfect individual by comparison. I don’t know where the film would be without him.
It goes without saying that you should stick around past the credits. The scene is the best one in the film after all even if it makes someone not look too smart yet again since another individual has found out about his identity. I’m always up for some classic tough talk from both sides. It can be annoying when it’s one sided so the trade here is good. The film could have done a little more with this, but as it was, I was pretty satisfied. The tributes to the rest of the DCCU were fun and one character looked a lot better than how he was in Batman V Superman so that’s a good start. I think the cinematic universe from DC should go strongly from here. I am a little worried for Wonder Woman since there doesn’t seem to be much of a villain yet and her fighting ordinary soldiers is going to get old even quicker than this film’s fights, but I have hope that there will be big fight scenes. Surely DC wouldn’t let such an easy opportunity for more Man of Steel esque (Slower I suppose, but still hype) battles slip by would they? I have similar concerns for Justice League, but mainly because Superman isn’t there yet and the idea of having a Justice League film without its leader/main member would be an incredibly terrible idea.
Another negative is the fact that this film makes no real sense when placed into the DC expanded universe. This doesn’t affect the score, but it’s a problem that starts to appear a lot in expanded universes. If this supernatural monster has been destroying a city and its inhabitants for 3 days…where are Batman and Wonder Woman? They definitely should have been on the scene. Even Marvel’s gotten rather dicey with that as the President gets captured and nobody arrives to help. This is almost as bad since it’s an entire city and its been attacked for 3 whole days. At least you can make the argument that Batman and Wonder Woman are not heroes so maybe they didn’t care. It’s possible that they just saw it on the news and chuckled. Of course, that would go against Batman’s character development as he wants to help the world thanks to Superman. It’s feasible that Wonder Woman would not care though. She did stay out of the Man of Steel fight after all so maybe she would rather leave the humans to their own devices at this point. Hopefully the writers plan for this a little better in their upcoming films.
Now, how could this film have been saved? First of all, the excessive language has to go and the soundtrack’s got to disappear. Next, some of the grit has to go. Do we need to have shots of Harley Quinn being zapped and shocked by the Joker as well as the jail? No. We can also get rid of Diablo’s origin story which is gritty to be gritty. After we get rid of all this and give Harley Quinn an actual costume, we have to tone Waller down so she’s not completely insane and evil. Make her an antagonist, but a reasonable one. Batman needs to appear a lot more and there should be more DC cameos. Preferably with very loud and obvious rock music as we see the hero logos and the Squad learns about the Justice League. Throw in some more action scenes and give the main villain a better debut than to be cradled in a very awkward scene that was quite sad. Mix all of that together and we’ve got ourselves a decent film.
I could go on, but let’s start to wrap up with one last improvement. The film should have chosen a genre and stuck to it. It tried to throw in elements from Ghostbusters, (CGI supernatural threats) The Avengers, (All of the one liners and puns…just the terribly written versions) and Resident Evil. (A few lone survivors up against zombies) It just did not work at all though. You can’t be dark and gritty and expect to pull off something like the Avengers. Likewise, you can’t have a super down to Earth Resident Evil adventure when there are super powerful beings trying to destroy the whole world. The film needed to pick one angle and stick with it.
Overall, I’m glad that Rotten Tomatoes is taking so many shots at the film. I tend to disagree with the site quite often, but for once I’m on their side. This film was just hard to watch at times. If the film wanted all of the Suicide Squad members to be unlikable then they succeeded, but at a large price. It’s a shame since the Batman scenes were nice. I do like how the cinematography is so different from Marvel’s. The scenes look like they’re out of a TV show episode instead of a movie. It’d hard to describe, but the Batman vs Deadshot scene totally encapsulates this as opposed to the average Marvel fight scene. It’s less glamorous and stylized, but works quite well. Oddly enough, the hand to hand scenes are far better here than in the latest Bourne film, where you would expect it to be better. The fight scenes were the one part of this film that were not gritty. Unfortunately, the terrible soundtrack, characters, and writing keep this film way down on the totem pole. I don’t expect that I’ll ever see it again and I highly advise you to stay away. You’re better off watching Man of Steel again.