Scum and villainy
Director: David Ayer
Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a skunk blast to the face for most of us trying to have a good time with a superhero movie earlier this year. This has been established repeatedly—perhaps ad nauseam—in this here column.
Suicide Squad looked like a chance to get DC movies back on the good foot. With David Ayer (Fury, End of Watch) at the helm, and a cast including Will Smith, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie, it looked like summer was due to get a fun blast of movie mischief.
Suicide Squad does nothing to improve the summer blockbuster season. It actually sends a big, stinking torpedo of shit into its side, and sends the thing barreling toward the bottom of the bowl. Yes, I’m equating this film to that of a large, destructive, malicious turd. That’s being kind.
After a first half build up/tease that does a decent job of introducing bad guy characters like Deadshot (Smith), Harley Quinn (Robbie) and the Joker (Leto), the movie becomes what can only be described as a spastic colon, resulting in that big turd referred to above.
The script—if one could call it that—involves some nonsense with a government sort named Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) wanting to assemble a squad of villains to help battle the future possibility of a superhero going bad. An alliance of bad guys is formed that includes Deadshot, Quinn, Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and others. When a kooky villain called Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) starts some sort of apocalyptic tornado in the middle of Gotham, the Suicide Squad goes into action.
Or what pathetically tries to pass as action. First off, I have no real idea just what the shit the Enchantress is up to with her blue tornado dance show extravaganza, but man, is it weird and confusing. She’s busting moves on some sort of stage, carrying on strange conversations with those questioning her motives. The Squad has to fight mushy humanoid monsters on their way to the Enchantress, and it’s unspeakably odd in a bad way.
At the core of this mess are two potentially fun performances from Smith and especially Robbie. Actually, a movie that just had these two doing good or bad things would’ve been more than enough. Other villains like Diablo, Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Fantastic Mustache Man Pizza Pants (I made that one up) don’t register and steal quality time from the characters that are interesting.
As for the much-hyped Joker, Leto is reduced to a few, preening moments that have his part equate to nothing more than a glorified walk-on. So, that marketing ploy that had you thinking the Joker was the leader of the Suicide Squad was a ruse. Much of his role consists of texts to Harley Quinn letting her know he’s on the way. Then he shows up, shows off his metal teeth and tattoos for few moments, and then runs away laughing like an idiot.
Considering the power of some of Ayer’s past work, it’s surprising to witness such a mess from such a potentially competent director. Perhaps this disaster is the result of studio meddling after the critical car crash that was Batman v Superman? Perhaps it’s because he never had a script worth shooting?
On the red carpet for this film’s premiere, Robbie and Smith both boasted that they signed on for the movie with no script. They just wanted to work with Ayer, and his name attached was enough for them.
I’m thinking Robbie and Smith should’ve gone against their instincts on this one. Demand a script the next time, and if that script involves a climax with somebody named the Enchantress delivering ponderous monologues while disco dancing in front of a bright blue dust devil flanked by large humanoids with severe acne, run away, and run away fast.
Maybe there’s a three-hour cut of this thing somewhere that makes a little more sense. Or, maybe Warner Brothers knows by now that people will always shell out money for this crap, and quality is of no concern.