Suicide Squad (2016): Chaotic, frustrating… and very watchable Suicide Squad (2016): Chaotic, frustrating… and very watchable
Dee shares his opinion on the third movie entry into the DCEU. Suicide Squad (2016): Chaotic, frustrating… and very watchable

When Superman’s death leaves a power vacuum, the ruthless government employee Amanda Waller takes advantage of the new born fear of aliens and “meta-humans” to assemble a task force of extremely skilled, partly supernaturally gifted villains who are forced into participating with all kinds of physical and psychological means. Unfortunately, one of the members, the thousands of years old witch “Enchantress” goes rogue and occupies Midway City. Now Waller has to activate the “Suicide Squad” prematurely to cover up her blunder. The squad members have their own plans though…

Suicide_Squad

Suicide Squad is, following Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the third movie of the so-called DCEU and the second one that is setting up the “shared universe”, unless you count the Wayne Corp.- satellite in Man of Steel.

The third movie could be seen as the one that has to prove the viability of the concept, the trial period being over for good. Does it succeed or fail at that? Well, one could say both in equal measure. And that’s a bummer.

harley

Chaotic…

A lot has been written and said about the behind-the-scenes turmoil of Suicide Squad. Even assuming that we would not know about all this, it would still be obvious that this is a movie that has been meddled with heavily though.

One signifier for the prolonged tinkering is the disrupted flow. Some scenes seem to be cobbled together, with parts in between missing and while the plot wondrously still makes sense overall (mostly), it doesn’t exactly feel like seamless storytelling. The rumours about Warner Bros. adding “levity” in re-shoots in a misguided reaction to the fan backlash to Batman v. Superman‘s dark tone seem to be all too true, sadly. Especially the first half of the movie is cluttered with Pop- and Rock- songs on the soundtrack, apparently in an attempt to generate associations to the successful Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studio’s probably most overrated output. And what a trite selection of songs it is at points – I was ready to leave my seat during a dress-up scene accompanied by Eminem’s “Without Me”. Also, “Seven Nation Army” has now officially reached the level of “We Will Rock You”, i.e. a once great song that became unlistenable due to its overuse as stadium anthem. It’s a baffling decision, as the music seems to be tacked on as an afterthought and doesn’t always correspond with the visuals, turning a good stretch of the movie into a slightly dissonant (if still entertaining) patchwork. Another questionable (re-)editing decision resulted into the blunder of every team member getting an origin story in the shape of a sweet short vignette… except one! What the hell?

Then there are the villains…
The Enchantress is a great character and Cara Delenvigne plays her with gusto, but the longer the movie is going on, the more her role is getting blown out of proportions. Considering that this movie is a neon-coloured riff on Dirty Dozen, filled with low down and dirty characters, I naturally expected a low down and dirty adventure. Which it is at the beginning, but at the end it’s all about giant laser beams to the sky, total destruction and world dominance again. I was under the impression that this kind of “epic” stuff was reserved for the “god-like” heroes like Supes and by using it inflationary it loses a good chunk of its impact, rendering the last act of Suicide Squad as superhero business as usual. It reeks of yet another tacked on element that was added in a panic reaction to ensure maximum audience compatibleness. Hopefully, Disney doesn’t make the same mistake with its Star Wars spinoffs, even though some details that emerged, disturbingly point into that direction.

pandass

…but very watchable

So is there anything good to say about this movie? A lot actually, which also makes it kind of frustrating as it makes you ponder about the wasted potential.

Again the DCEU delivers when it comes to creating a unique, engrossing atmosphere. A wicked sense of anarchy is permeating the candy-coloured scenario, a very calculated one admittedly, but undoubtedly effective. David Ayer is a solid, yet not great craftsman in my eyes, but his unremarkable directing style is compensated by the outstanding production and costume designs, giving us trashier, grittier versions of Gotham’s cities Worst that are comic-booky yet cinematic at the same time.

The major strength of Suicide Squad, the one quality that single-handedly saves the movie, can be witnessed in the depiction of its characters and the performances of the actors/actresses who fill them with life.

As the trailers already indicated, Margot Robbie reveals to be pitch-perfect as Harley Quinn, making the role her own with a very faceted performance, convincingly turning from girlish to manic to melancholic and back. Viola Davis is adequately chilling as the sociopathic Amanda Waller, while Jai Courtney, hitherto known as nondescript stand-in when more talented actors proved to be unaffordable, is unexpectedly funny in a self-deprecating turn as the living caricature of an Australian that goes by the glorious name “Captain Boomerang”. Because I am not a fan of the “Big Willie” style at all, I was most surprised by the dark charisma Will Smith shows as “Deadshot” and no, he doesn’t turn Suicide Squad into his ego show as some rumours suggested.

While I am conflicted about the use of the “Enchantress” as the villain (see above), I totally dig the character and the actress who plays her -Cara Delevingne, on the way to become the new Christina Ricci- who is still confusingly sexy in her feral, coal-smeared incarnation. Speaking of, it’s worth a mention how consequently the DCEU is handling super-natural and “magic” parts, avoiding detours into the regions of corny pseudo-quantum mechanics and alien tech, thereby solidifying the mythological approach that was initiated with Man of Steel.

enchantress2

Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje unrecognisable behind a great make-up job), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Katana (Karen Fukuhara, not enough screen time) are all great, even Joel Kinnaman is pretty good in the comparatively boring part of the “regular human” Rick Flag.

Time to talk about the fair-skinned elephant in the room, namely Jared Leto as the Joker. He is probably the second biggest surprise in the character and acting department. Forget about Leto’s on-set antics, his diva behaviour and his latest claims – he does a great job as Batman’s arch enemy, who is now depicted as a less philosophical, more self-aware and straightforward, yet nonetheless pretty crazy “Scarface”-inspired gangstah. His silly tattoos and wardrobe, which sparked a heated debate in the net months prior to the movie’s release and also left myself with many doubts about the new approach, make much more sense in context, as the new Joker is a warped caricature of a modern gangster stereotype. It’s almost as if the Joker wanted to insult his competition by adapting and parodying their style, which totally fits the original character.

SuicideSquadKatana-1

Final thoughts

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of the DCEU, whose first two entries represented a darker, more energetic and daring alternative to the MCU. Some of that spark is still tangible in Suicide Squad, but the rushed reshoots turned it into a messy experience that lands on the top of this year’s giant pile of “What could have been”- movies. This is doubly disappointing as this gutless attitude was, apart from the idiotic edits to ensure a shorter running time, still absent during the production of BvS, which was, despite the lukewarm to negative fan reaction towards MoS, a consequent continuation of its predecessor’s tone and themes. Here is hope that the prevailing negative view on BvS will continue to change slowly towards a more positive perception (the extended cut might be helpful) and bestow the WB executives with more confidence in their creatives again. A man can dream.

Still, on top of all the questionable song choices, confusing edits and rushed CGI, there is a movie with enough energy, weird atmosphere and gaudy style to entertain. Let’s hope we can see Ayer’s original version(s) one day on DVD/Blu. Maybe in a 6-7 disc box set?

Enchantress-Suicide-Squad

Not convinced? Bop offers a less favorable opinion Suicide Squad in his review.

Author Image

DetectiveDee

Detective Dee reviews movies and sometimes TV-series. He likes to indulge in the Asian cinema, exploitation flicks and the horror genre but is no stranger to Blockbuster culture either. He writes whatever he wants, but always aims to entertain.

  • Slate_Fistcrunch

    I think I pretty much agree with you for the most part.

  • Slate_Fistcrunch

    Except the Joker.

  • Dee-abolik

    hey at least the makeup wasn’t racist this time…

  • Toruk_Makto

    The is the first movie ever where I’ve decided to wait to see the Director’s cut before I render my verdict.

  • Dee-abolik

    good decision

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    I agree. The movie is a mess and certainly has its share of problems, but it’s by no means as poor as the majority of critics have claimed (same could also be said about BvS). No one should trust those biased assholes ever again. Even in butchered form, SS isn’t any worse than about half of Marvel’s efforts.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    That last screenshot reminds me that the Enchantress CGI is Scorpion King in the Mummy Returns-level awful, though.

  • Dee-abolik

    Yes, some of the CGI was incredibly dodgy. The one sequence that irked me the most was a rather unspectacular one though. When (slight spoiler ahead!) Joker’s chopper crashed. Not the fact that it happened offscreen, but the reflection of the burning wreck on the walls of the skyscraper was incredibly poorly realized.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    This movie must have set a record for the greatest amount of chopper crashes outside the war genre. Well, it seemed like a lot anyway.

  • Dee-abolik

    All with survivors, that’s what made it stick out.

  • Sagamanus

    I liked SS, but they need to have another A-Team as a villain, not a god.

  • Dee-abolik

    I would have chosen a DC villain + henchman as villain in the 1st one and another team with special abilities in the 2nd one.

  • Bop

    Cool review, Dee. I definitely saw a different movie than you did. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Dee-abolik

    can’t wait for your perspective

  • Bop

    I just submitted it for review. Got myself a second-hand laptop after my laptop died. Had to rush to get it up and running

  • Dee-abolik

    hey! Should I publish it immediately?

  • Bop

    Hell,yeah.

  • Bop

    If you have time and want to go ahead. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Dee-abolik

    sure. two opposing reviews a day is a fun concept

  • Dee-abolik

    you have to leave the editor so I can publish it though

  • Bop

    I left it.

  • Bop

    Cool. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Dee-abolik

    it’s up

  • Sagamanus

    The casting of this film is very good though. But then again I like Will Smith. He was great in I Am Legend, for the first part. As it’s the only part of that film worth salvaging along with the side-stuff no one saw.

  • Sagamanus

    Honestly. What in the hell were they even thinking? It’s got to be an excuse to use CGI as extravaganza, because they don’t know how to finish things.

  • Jen ๐Ÿ’•

    This is an amazing review – u really hit every angle – both reviews have left me wanting to see it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Seven Nation Army worked best in…
    https://youtu.be/V2YMu52MfqA?t=1m10s

  • Bop

    I hope the release a director’s cut. I wouldn’t want you to suffer through the official release.

  • I’m turned off by the Various soundtrack option that was ripped off from GOTG. (Biters!!) Also, these Cucks toning it down due to BvS’ negative reception. What a bunch of Pussies!
    I’ll hold out for a proper “darkweb” release. These “cookie-cutter mutter fukers” aint getting my money so easily! Great write up BTW.

  • If BvS is of any indication, yes!!

  • You two fuckers need to do a debate podcast….
    oh, wait…!

  • If DCFU wants my respect, they better step up their game and experiment with other characters without going overly nihilistic. That being said, I seriously doubt if they’ll do a movie based on SHAZAM any justice.

  • Dee-abolik

    Thanks! But don’t be so harsh on DC. I mean Marvel never has the problem that they have to tone it down. Actually, that would not be possible…. ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Nor should they despite a few flops here and there, for the most part the MCU are on top of their A-game. I would’ve had more respect for DCFU had they chose their own creative path as opposed to playing “Monkey see-monkey do”.
    So sad.

  • Dee-abolik

    What I meant is that Marvel cannot tone it down as you cannot make vanilla even more vanilla….. ;P

  • And its working for them so far. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    That being said, MCU is now adding some “Chocolate” as in The Black Panther!๐Ÿ˜†
    For the record, I have seen SS and the jury is out on that movie.

  • good article. covers all the points well and I pretty much agree with everything.

    I dont know if there’s a heavier joker-centrism in Ayer’s original cut, but I think the smartest thing they could do (if there is) is to release that on blu and call it “Suicide Squad: The Joker Cut” hopefully either R or “UNRATED!” and compound the “go bad guys” thing even further by taking that additional step toward heroizing the evil characters, a strategy that obviously worked.

  • “BET”.

  • Millkowski Supertramp

    I must say I agree. I found the villain to be amazing but not well utilized.

  • Millkowski Supertramp

    Sagamanus look we agree on
    some things. I’m not as bad as you think

  • Kruger

    In early stages of development they had Squad fight a terrorist group with super powers. Opening scene was exactly as John Ostrander’s first issue on SS.

    Boomerang was much more of an asshole as he is in newer comics. They’ve had Blockbuster as a muscle in the Squad. Deadshot and Flag were at odds just like in any version an all.

    But finale was very overwhelming, so I would take what we have in a movie rather than what they had years ago (BUT what we saw wasn’t perfect with reshoot footage very noticeable).

  • Kruger

    Maybe he was a bit more interesting and they took it out? Because it looks like they have cut a LOTs of character development and retooled Harley, Joker relationship to be more romantic and lighter.

    I would love to see Batman capturing Killer Croc. And Croc puking out a goat and eating it once again in front f Navy Seal members.

    I liked movie quite much but it is unforgivable that WB keeps cutting out important things on demand of whiny pricks.

  • Sagamanus

    I believe it.

  • Sagamanus

    So they dump all that and decide screw that, we’re adding some gods? Or did they add the god-like powers to a couple of low-key superheroes instead as they wanted to boost the stakes?

  • Kruger

    They didn’t announce extended cut.

    And right now I doubt they will. I think they’ve spent money on finishing CGI on reshoot footage (which has blue palette to it) instead of original footage (brown, orange color dominant) and they never got around to finish that up.

    But there is a novelization for Suicide Squad that has all the deleted scenes in it.

  • Millkowski Supertramp

    agreed. the relationship was not abusive enough honestly. and joker should’ve been the main antagonist. I’d have loved to see a more fucked up film honestly. I enjoyed it but left disappointed.

  • Millkowski Supertramp

    how was dinner?

  • Sagamanus

    It was pretty good. Yours?

  • Kruger

    I think the moment Ayer was hired, they put the Gods in. Before him, WB tried to make SS movie for some time (before cinematic DC universe even) and I’ve read one of many versions they’ve been working on.

    Problem is WB announced release date way before Ayer came on board and pitched the story. So, when Ayer came, and pitched Escape from New-York type of movie, he had 6 weeks to write a script and then go with it.

    As for deleted scenes, WB again, overreacted to the reviews for BvS (which is a totally different type of movie with a different story and tone) and decided to fuck with Ayer’s darker version (which doesn’t mean that it didn’t have humor, I mean Harley Quinn is there). They even went on to hire guys that cut “FUN” trailer for Squad to make their own cut of the film that would make the movie closer to trailers.

    Problem is if you listen to original score and compare it to the music added by trailer company, totally different tones are mishmashed. Very first trailer for SS is perfect indication of what it supposed to be in original vision.

  • Kruger

    Plus they should’ve stick with original version rather than cut out very cool stuff.

    I liked the movie a bit more than others (because I am a comics fan and movie offers cool things for me to enjoy) BUT one of my major complains was lack of action.

    I specifically went through all the trailers, tv spots and featurettes tosee if action scenes were cut heavily. And….Yes, they fucking were. Heavily.

    Judging by the trailers, in the office fight, each character had stand out moments (Deadshot firing wrist guns to the sides, Boomerang slicing up Eye monsters (which are called Eyes of Adversary in original Ayer cut and Novelization) what is left in the movie is just end bits or starting bits of the things you saw in the trailers while it should have been quite opposite (you see bits in the trailer and see much more in the movie, but WB and trailer cutting companies thouight differently, shame).

  • Kruger

    Well, that happens when people that make trailers with cool music have an opportunity to cut entire film.

    Wb are pussies. Should’ve stick with original cut.

    Oh, original score and music added by trailer people don’t go well together at all.

  • Kruger

    Marvel doesn’t risk at all. Everything is standardised.

    It amazes me how many people are praising Civil War. First of all, Winter Soldier was better. It was much more epic with Hellicarriers crushing down and scripts was much better.

    Civil War, pffft with no casualties (because fans hate when casualties are shown in their movies apparently). Even Rodey starts walking by the end of the movie. Cop Out at the highest level. But still gets praising reviews.

    SS and BvS, in the way released in theaters are not on par with Civil War but BvS full cut is a better film even with many falldowns. Imho, of course.

  • Dee-abolik

    Agree to all…

  • Dee-abolik

    I will write an article about Civil War and what it means in the great schemes of Marvel’s linup/superhero movies in the near future, but I have to wait till DVD-release for another sighting.

  • Millkowski Supertramp

    well said. it felt like it started strong and turned into a good guys vs turd monsters movie. the editing was atrocious just as bad if not worse than BvS. I enjoyed both as I too love these comic movies and don’t go in trying to pick them apart too much. but I was watching Nolans movies recently and was like…wow! SS had a stellar cast and great ideas. and the enchantress could have been amazing. she was a sight to behold but her brother was a cgi mess. as bad as the rock in the mummy 2. if they made joker the big bad and made harley Quinn torn between her group and him it would have been a much better film. overall I’d give it a solid 7

  • Millkowski Supertramp

    sorry for my sloppy writin . I’m on my phone and a total ADHD mess. I don’t take the time to separate my paragraphs and capitalize my words unless I’m on my computer

  • Millkowski Supertramp

    pretty good sir. I like the profile pic. The Crow was my favorite movie when I was younger. I’m fucked in the head for sure. and I enjoyed the second one as well. they had a great lead actor to follow up Brandon Lee’s iconic performance

  • Sagamanus

    How do you feel about Mamoa’s casting? That’s if they stick to the plan. I mean the new film has been juggled around for years now, and gone nowhere. He might have to drop a few pounds, and I recall when he was actually thin.

  • Millkowski Supertramp

    Aquaman was a blonde white man. So I hate the casting!

    I’m just kidding.

    I think he’s a really interesting pick for the role and I’m absolutely thrilled that he’s going to play
    Aquaman. I’m really excited for the Aquaman movie as I love anything James Wan touches (Fast 7 was my least favorite movie he made).

  • Sagamanus

    If only they had done the Killer Croc of the Arkham Asylum video game. Of course a CGI fit, but still infinitely more menacing.

  • Sagamanus

    Yeah he’s a good Aquaman. Of course we haven’t heard him talk yet. I liked him as Conan. But that film was…Hmm. Yeah.

  • Millkowski Supertramp

    I liked him as Conan too. How did they mess that movie up though? It had some awesome visuals. I think Momoa is a good actor and it’s cool to see a fresh take on Aquaman. But I’m admittedly a sucker for most superhero movies. I’m a Marvel and DC fanboy…so I’m terribly conflicted

  • Kruger

    I still would prefer human with a make up. And originally Killer Croc looked a lot like he does in the movie. Size matches with original appearance too.

    And if it was a big CGI monster it would feel like one of those Lake Placid movies and Enchantress’ Bro moving around.

    And I liked the way he crawled into the water and was swimming around.

    But that’s just preference.

  • Kruger

    Agree. I think Harley was torn between them. And she chose Squad in the deleted scene (it is actually in the trailer) when Joker appears half burned after Squad defeats Enchantress.

    But they fucked up again with that. How could they trust some whinny pricks and hire trailer makers to change a movie instead of trusting a guy they hired originally because they knew he would get the job done (as Ayer did many times before).

    Sabotage sucked BUT Ayer rewrote Skip Woods (Hitman movies, Die hard 5 write a true hack) script and made it at least passable and made Arnold cool and didn’t rely on “I am old now” thing many Arnold movies do now. Fury rocked, End of Watch and Harsh Times too. He is a very good writer, BUT yet WB went to a distance to retool his movie to be more like a trailer.

    Honestly only standout action moments in the film are Deadshot on the car (Will Smith delivered, I fell off of a Will Smith wagon long time ago, now I am back on it). And when Diablo shows his true form and kicks some ass (only good thing that came out of Enchantress’ CGI bro).

  • Kruger

    Yeah, he was very good choice for Conan. But studio that made it (Millennium) wasn’t. They are known to have big budgets and still have those cheap Bulgarian locations and worst CGI you will ever see in theatrical releases.

  • Kruger

    Considering the movie’s solid budget and the way it looks….Someone fucked a lot of Bulgarian hookers and payed well.

  • Sagamanus

    Yeah. They went a bit of Cthulhu with the giant octopus. At least that’s what it looked like to me they were doing. I don’t know how much of Howard absorbed that, but I guess it’s a bit more than what the other Conan’s had.

  • Kruger

    I hope they did change the script as Corin Hardy came to direct it because they one I’ve read was absolutely terrible.

    As for Mamoa, If they go with Rock Star approach it will work for The Crow but they are going closer to the books when Eric wasn’t a rockstar and wasn’t even Draven. So, I don’t know.

    We’ll see i guess if it doesn’t stop once again because they are trying to make it for 10 years now.

    Director of Blade 1 – Stephen Norrington was a great choice too and had a very cool idea for a remake but he doesn’t make movies anymore after terrible experience on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

  • Sagamanus

    Yeah the swimming part was good. It made me want to see more of that, but it’s probably better in small doses.

  • Kruger

    They did have more of that in the character introduction. And when Batman catches him. But it is once again a deleted scene now. Just like 60 percent of cool stuff from the movie.

    Can you imagine the situation when you invest hundreds of millions into the movie and then cut a lot of great scenes out and do a quick reshoot without original cinematographer and it looks bad and you put it in the film instead of cool action and character stuff you already have.

    Fucking stupid. WB failed themselves again.

  • Kruger

    Can’t wait for it. I discovered this place today. I am staying)

  • Kruger

    I would like if Stephen Lang became Giant Octopus and Conan would wrestle with a big rubber version of him in some shots.

    at least we could have fun if not quality)

  • Kruger

    Worst thing is so far, is the fact that no extended cut is coming.

    With BvS, however flawed it is, we at least get to see a very good director’s cut.

    I think that is because they wanted to make it like a trailer and went for cheap looking reshoots before they have finished the original scenes and they won’t invest in finishing them unless SS makes hundreds of millions on dvd sales and digital and earns 1 hundred million more. Which might not happen.

  • Sagamanus

    Sean Connery is mostly to blame for that, well at least that’s the story. He did quit acting after it. Not like that film was going anywhere as Steampunk, or the semblance of it, doesn’t ever seem to work on screen. Wild Wild West being the most glaring example.

    In any case they’re trying another attempt at LoEG, it might have Mina Harker as the central character as she is in the comic, or it might not. As Connery’s attachment to the original twisted it toward his instead. And god Van Helsing! That just leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth.

  • Millkowski Supertramp

    I loved the directors cut of BvS. It seems that we won’t be getting that with SS. They just seem like they teased a different movie to us than what we got. The turd monsters fights were just boring.

  • Millkowski Supertramp

    hahahahaha

  • Kruger

    Van Helsing at least knew what it was. A shlock fun.

    It also was Connery who didn’t get the situation that studio interfered with Norrington’s vision and he was frustrated and couldn’t make a decisions on what version to shoot, his or studio on the spot. Connery thought Norrington was just a hack that couldn’t direct and couldn’t decide on what to shoot. Which is not true if you watch the films he made.

  • Kruger

    Not just boring but choppy. Like two seconds of Deadshot being attacked from the glass wall, then Croc slams someone, then Boomerang gets stabbed. In the trailers you could see some cool choreography for all of them. But whatever. What is left is boring and in fact very short for an action scene. Will Smith on a car dispatching ninja turdles was the best and the line he says back to Flag to.

  • Dee-abolik

    ahhh, nice to hear!

  • Millkowski Supertramp

    “ninja turdles” HAHAHAHA!!!!