SUICIDE SQUAD: [usr=2]
The latest entry in the DCEU, Suicide Squad, only represents moderate improvement. However, it’s clear the panic at DC has set in.
We are now three films into the DC Extended Universe and once again we’re looking at another one that doesn’t work. Sure, Suicide Squad, at least in my opinion, delivers more than the two previous Zack Snyder snooze fests Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but this choppily written and directed entry by David Ayer is far from franchise saving. While it may be an improvement over the disastrous Snyder films, DC really needs to take another look at what they are doing with this DCEU.
In terms of the performances, only a few of the actors have ample screen time to sink in much of an impression. Smith has a melancholy earnestness as Deadshot, and looks content to leave the antics to others. Picking up the comedy slack is Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, the unhitched admirer of The Joker (Jared Leto). Robbie surely gives exuberance to the role, however she’s sold out, in more ways than one, due to the film’s structure. We get two contradictory flashbacks illustrating Quinn’s inception (one in which she’s tortured by The Joker and in another she voluntarily teams up with him), meaning we never find a cognitive hold on the character.
Subsequently, one of Robbie’s major scenes is inexplicably debilitated by the editing. Even though Quinn is rendering a funny discourse regarding the voices she hears in her head, the scene is broken up by cuts that seem less concerned with her character than in suiting the timing demands of the White Stripes song roaring on the soundtrack.
Even Robbie’s effectiveness cannot really circumvent the shatteringly plodding beginning; which is a constant rush of commonplace action scenes and a serpentine story that would need to enhance significantly to become even satisfactory.
The biggest disappointment of the film is Jared Leto’s interpretation of The Joker. For as much effort as he gave to this role it’s shockingly nothing you haven’t seen before. Not only that but Joker isn’t even a big part of this overstuffed film. There’s almost zero menace involved in the role just a bunch of huh and what? Picture every previous Joker incarnation on film put into a blender. Leto also can’t help the fact that we’re not even a decade removed from Heath Ledger not only redefining the Joker role but redefining villains in movies.
There’s nobody to cheer for in this film, and nobody whose outcome we appreciate (other than maybe Deadshot). Numerous plot points are deficient in comprehensibility, and infused flashbacks enhance a feeling of the film having been blended into form in the editing room. It appears that Suicide Squad was butchered by its own hand.
The Hollywood Reporter recently posted a very revealing article detailing how DC panicked after the failure of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It just goes to show you the complete contrast between DC and Marvel films right now. Marvel and Disney hire talented people and trust them with the process. They aren’t second guessing themselves. Marvel also does a tremendous job of balance in tone and characters which DC can’t even make basic in their universe.
A film like Captain America: Civil War, released earlier this year, successfully balanced entertainment with weightier political and moral topics. In Suicide Squad, it’s merely about who hits harder. Suicide Squad isn’t the only big budget superhero film to experience behind the scenes tension, but the lack of cohesion is clearly evident on screen.
Of course, mention this to the biggest baby fan base in the world and you get accusations of a grand Marvel conspiracy. There’s no conspiracy here, DC can’t seem to get a grip and trust itself. Now it’s up to Wonder Woman in 2017. You know what they say, 4th film is the charm?