Review: ‘Suicide Squad’ (2016) (The Worst of the Worst?)

 

 

 

suicide squad

“Let’s have some fun”

I’m always suspicious if a film receives exaggerated critical acclaim or an exaggerated critical mauling. In either case, it seems to be a case of critics jumping on the bandwagon in a hurry to praise or bury a film. Of course, the only way to be sure of anything is to see it for yourself. ‘Batman v Superman,’ for example, was not the car crash of a film that it was made out to be. Maybe Rotten Tomatoes is broken and in need of fixing. When the negative reviews of ‘Suicide Squad’ were released, I hoped that Rotten Tomatoes would be wrong. Unfortunately, a broken clock is right twice a day. And ‘Suicide Squad’ was a poor film with very few redeeming features.

The plot is simple, yet not efficient in the slightest. A group of “bad guys,” including Deadshot, Harley Quinn and El Diablo (and others who aren’t important in the grand scheme of things) are brought together by Amanda Weller as an elite task force to deal with a post-Superman world. Spoilers for ‘BvS’, but Superman is dead. Weller believes a group of bad guys are necessary to fight against the evils of the world of ‘metahumans.’ What if Superman was evil? Who could stop him from ripping off the roof of the White House and killing the President? Conveniently, a threat reveals itself moments after the so-called Suicide Squad are assembled. So Weller sends these bad guys to save a very important person caught in the middle of the threat in Midway City. As an incentive, the bad guys have explosives injected in their necks, Snake Plissen-style.

When I say that other members of the Suicide Squad aren’t important, I am not over-exaggerating. In the first half an hour of the film, we see in-depth flashbacks for Deadshot and Harley Quinn. They are painted as sympathetic characters: Quinn was given electro-shock therapy by The Joker when she was a psychotherapist, and Deadshot assassinated people to provide for his estranged daughter. The others are given only the briefest of flashbacks, if any at all. Each flashback is accompanied by thirty seconds of a pop/rock song, just enough to tease us and leave us disappointed that we didn’t hear more of the song. In fact, that’s a perfect metaphor for most of the film.

The film should have been called 'Deadshot and Harley Quinn and Friends'
The film should have been called ‘Deadshot and Harley Quinn and Friends’

“Where’s your heart?”

The deluge of information at the beginning of the film robs the characters of much of their character, ironically. Other, minor members of the Squad such as Killer Croc and Katana are given the thinnest of backstories, dialogue and moments. Captain Boomerang is merely a caricature of Australian stereotypes. The same could be said of Katana. It’s hard to form any opinion about Killer Croc. Katana and Killer Croc could have been dropped from the script without harming the film. Too many characters spoil the broth. Deadshot and Quinn are given the most screen time, but even they are drowned out by the extended cast of characters. Oh yeah, I almost forgot about The Joker, as did the editors of the film, apparently. It’s difficult to say anything about The Joker, given his glorified cameo in the film. Suffice to say, he made little impression. But neither did anyone else.

There are ways to introduce a wide cast of characters without overloading the viewer with information and/or minimalizing less important characters. See the original ‘X-Men’ film, for example. We get a feel for each character with the greatest of ease. But, strangely enough, the introductory act of ‘Suicide Squad’ is the most entertaining part, partly because of the visual intensity and partly because it distracts us from the plot. When the plot does get going, things trudge into all-too familiar super-hero territory. Our gang quip, sometimes reminisce about their normal lives, fight literally faceless enemies (well, they have faces made of blackberries), and end up in a CGI-filled final battle with a vague threat of planet earth’s destruction at stake. The quips, more often than not, come off as desperate and unfunny. We see our Squad in action for the first time at night, in smoke. You can barely see what’s happening! Surely the point of an action scene is to see what’s going on? And if you’ve seen any film pitting a team of characters against a final threat, you’ve seen the final battle of ‘Suicide Squad.’ Every member’s special ability is shoehorned into a battle that could have easily been resolved by one member.

“Do your worst, bitch”

And I haven’t even mentioned the scrappy, almost careless editing. If you’ve been following the production of ‘Suicide Squad,’ you’ll have heard that reshoots and re-editing took place after the critical lambasting of ‘BvS.’ Throughout the film, it’s apparent that scenes have been edited or cut beyond comprehension. Some parts are incredibly difficult to follow. While some films are edited intentionally to look like a mess, ‘Suicide Squad’ reeks of studio hands interfering in the film and fiddling with director David Ayer’s vision for the film.

Our anti-heroes...
Our anti-heroes…

‘Suicide Squad’ is meant to be about bad guys, but none of the squaddies (can I call them that?) feel like bad guys. They are misunderstood, haunted by past demons or upset about their estranged daughter. The worst crime I saw in the film from the squaddies was Harley Quinn stealing a purse. Weller is more of a villain that the squad combined, as she shoots five employees without a second thought. Maybe that’s the point. But as Tony Soprano taught us, we can sympathise with a bad person when they do really, really bad things. Why not try that with the Suicide Squad? Allow our characters to commit heinous crimes while giving them a hint of sympathy.

My real problem with ‘Suicide Squad’ is that it never delivered what it promised: something different to the usual superhero film. Just like ‘Deadpool,’ (click here for my review!) we were promised something that would shake off the reigns of the generic superhero story and give us an unpredictable riot of a film. At least ‘Deadpool’ had plenty of humour to cover its flaws. ‘Suicide Squad’ is not an unpredictable riot of a film. It’s boring. It’s poorly editied. It’s over-stuffed with characters to the point that about half the ‘Suicide Squad’ are pointless. Its few action scenes are uninspired and indecipherable at times. It’s humourless for most of its running time. The Joker feels like a half-baked addition to the film to give non-comic readers a known comic book personality to see. It’s not the worst summer blockbuster of the year. That title surely goes to ‘Independence Day: Resurgence.’ But it is a terrible waste of a comic book franchise that had plenty of potential.

VERDICT: 3/10. Suicide Sqaud is a two hour trailer for a film that’s buried under studio interference. There are hints of a decent film, but we are left with a poorly edited mess that follows the template for the generic comic book film.

What did you think? Leave your comments below!

Click here to read my review of ‘Man of Steel’ (2013)

Click here to read my review of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

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56 thoughts on “Review: ‘Suicide Squad’ (2016) (The Worst of the Worst?)

  1. shreyasshivam August 9, 2016 / 1:11 pm

    Although I agree with the points that you’ve made here for the movie being poor, I think I’ll go slightly light on them and say that it was quite entertaining from the fans point of view. However, it could have been wayy better without the choppy editing and weak plot. I mean, who sends a “bitch with a bat”, somebody who can climb anything, a stellar marksman, and a boomerang-yielder after a supernatural villain conjuring a weapon of mass destruction. Suicide Squad, in the comics, were initially tasked with much technical yet important core tasks such as infiltrating top secret facilities or base of operations of several master plots capable of blasting up a whole city or something.

    The film also majorly focused on Deadshot, Harley and her crazy maniacal relationship with the Joker as a side plot, and a little in depth to El Diablo’s story. El Diablo was the one crazy powerful character and he didn’t use his powers until more than half the movie was almost over. Read somewhere that they cut out a hell lot of scenes of the Joker to cut down the run time, which I feel would have done good to the film had it not been edited out. Looking forward to the BluRay Ultimate Edition for those scenes! Jared Leto’s talent as the Joker was so not used to the full potential!

    Besides all these semantics and technicalities, the film as an entertainer was not as bad as BvS. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews August 9, 2016 / 1:19 pm

      I enjoyed BvS more! BvS had a hell of a lot to do, and did a few things successfully. I thought Suicide Squad did nothing successfully!

      Liked by 1 person

      • shreyasshivam August 9, 2016 / 1:25 pm

        When BvS had too much plot jammed into one film, people said that it was too dark and DCEU was no fun. Then when DC decides to make a fun movie in Suicide Squad, and loosen themselves on the plot, people say it had no plot and so no depth. Lol, people. *sigh* 😛

        Like

    • allendemir August 10, 2016 / 1:39 am

      Maybe the director’s cut on Blu ray will be better with all that deleted content making more sense. You’d just have to pay to watch it again.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. shreyasshivam August 9, 2016 / 1:27 pm

    And yes, I agree BvS as a film was better. SS is just a mélange of passive jokes and clichéd plots.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rob August 9, 2016 / 4:59 pm

    Spot on review!
    We were told this would be the film to subvert the superhero genre and it should have been that film. Instead we just got a generic, boring film.

    Hopefully now with Geoff Johns at the helm, we’ll get some coherent film making in the future of DC films.

    Like

    • Hammy Reviews August 9, 2016 / 5:16 pm

      Cheers! Let’s hope so, Suicide Squad was the most disappointing film I’ve seen all summer!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Benjamin Andrew August 9, 2016 / 6:18 pm

    Your verdict sums it up perfectly. Kept seeing glimpses of something good then a heavy hand just crushes everything. I’ve never been more frustrated by a film.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews August 9, 2016 / 6:33 pm

      Yeah, my mind wandered between frustration and boredom throughout. Let’s hope an alternative cut is released

      Liked by 1 person

  5. allendemir August 10, 2016 / 1:40 am

    Hard to believe they could mess this movie after all the hype I’ve been hearing for this movie all year. DC fans must be pretty disappointed. I got lucky growing up with Marvel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews August 10, 2016 / 4:33 am

      It is hard to believe! I thought it would be a really fun time at the cinema.

      Like

  6. dreager1 August 10, 2016 / 1:29 pm

    I agree that a lot of times critics seem to jump on the bandwagon. As a result, it’s hard for anyone to enter a film with a completely open mind as you may overcompensate and give the film a very positive score to fight against the critics or you may feel like you’re just submitting to their opinions if you give it an honest low score. It’s definitely tough writing reviews because of all these variables, but trying to write objectively is all we can do in the end. I definitely agree with you that this film was just not that good. Reviews or not, it just didn’t work all that well and in particular, I had major problems with the writing and I didn’t care for the soundtrack. I actually consider it to be the worst CBM of all time, but that’s possibly due in part to recency bias. We’ll see if it sticks.

    Like

    • Hammy Reviews August 10, 2016 / 2:46 pm

      I try to stay away from reviews for films I am looking forward tobut it is difficult to avoid them!
      Worst CBM of all time? Worse than Spider-Man 3?!?

      Liked by 1 person

      • dreager1 August 10, 2016 / 3:16 pm

        I actually liked Spider-Man 3 a lot. It’s currently in my top 10 CBMS. My nostalgia goggles are in full force though as it was one of the first CBMs that I ever watched and I’ve seen it over a dozen times. It was a yearly tradition with my parents and siblings for a long time. The music and the fights were just so exciting!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Matt&April August 12, 2016 / 1:09 am

        Spider-Man 3 has that awful emo dance thing he does that brings the movie to a halt and is one of the worst parts of any superhero movie in a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hammy Reviews August 12, 2016 / 3:12 am

          Unintentionally one of the funniest scenes in a comic book movie. Me and my friends could not stp laughing throughout the film

          Like

  7. charlietheweaver August 11, 2016 / 8:39 am

    Good review. I think you’re spot on with it. It was a real shame they made the plot so generic and wasted some great potential, but like you say, it’s mostly down to the studio execs trying to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. As such, the film ends up being a kind of Frankenstein’s monster of tacked on parts that don’t naturally fit together.

    I really think they’d have been better going for a Harley meets Joker style action rom com for the tween audience, and creating a darker, more intelligent film for the rest of us.

    I don’t know how the younger crowd are taking to it though. Maybe I’m getting old, but it seems the YouTube generation are used to this kind of vapid, humourless generic crap, so long as they don’t have to think too hard (or at all).

    Anyway, thanks for the follow. Followed back and look forward to reading more of your stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews August 11, 2016 / 8:48 am

      Cheers!
      Yeah, it seemed like a sprinkling of scenes squashed together without any real thought or care. However, my two friends and fiancee enjoyed it, and they are around my age!

      Liked by 1 person

      • charlietheweaver August 11, 2016 / 9:07 am

        Well, maybe they’re right and we’re wrong. To be fair, I didn’t think it was terrible. It was just a waste of potential. It was mildly entertaining, just nothing more. Harley Quinn definitely carried the film though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a spin-off with her in.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Matt&April August 12, 2016 / 1:08 am

    I quite enjoyed the film, albeit with some complaints. I see a lot of curmudgeons talking about how movies aren’t how they were when they were kids. It’s just a bloody movie. Eat your popcorn and lose yourself for a couple of hours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews August 12, 2016 / 3:13 am

      I find it hard to lose myself when things are so boring and contrived!

      Like

  9. Adrian Vs The World August 15, 2016 / 11:04 pm

    The editing was just plain atrocious. So much cutting around and between these characters. And just when the scene’s starting to get good, here’s another flashback! It struggled to tell its own story given how simple the setup was. Films like X-Men and Civil War were juggling dozens more plotlines, yet Suicide Squad couldn’t nail one character introduction. I wanted to love this movie, or at the very least like it. It achieved the exact opposite.

    Apologies, I still have a bone to pick with this movie. Anyways, wonderful review! Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews August 16, 2016 / 1:10 am

      My sentiments exactly! Too many flashbacks, too much sloppy editing and a simple story poorly told

      Like

  10. remote tragic August 17, 2016 / 9:12 am

    Ouch! I quite enjoyed the film, but agree the editing was choppy in part which meant it was hard to follow at times. Plus, I felt the villain was actually quite weak, I mean – why exactly were these group of misfits banding together to save everyone for?

    I also reviewed the film (only if you are interested of course!)- https://remotetragic.wordpress.com/2016/08/05/movie-review-suicide-squad/

    Oh, and as an Aussie, I loved Captain Boomerang. It was hilarious to watch one of us amped up to the max with the exaggerated features that everyone thinks we possess anyway! Hah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews August 17, 2016 / 9:54 am

      Out of four people, I was the only one who didn’t like it! So maybe it was just me…

      Liked by 1 person

      • remote tragic August 18, 2016 / 3:48 am

        I can definitely see why it wasn’t a winner for some fans, and that’s the beautiful thing about comics and films isn’t it? We like what we like, and love what we love – and don’t like what we don’t like. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Amulya Chintaluri August 17, 2016 / 5:13 pm

    PERFECT! Your “Verdict” about sums it all up! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      • Amulya Chintaluri August 17, 2016 / 6:48 pm

        I sure hope you are right! The sad part is that the movie could have been SO MUCH BETTER. But oh well xD Hopefully Harley Quinn Spin-off will make up for it.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Rob Jon Andrews August 18, 2016 / 10:27 am

    Great review. You have a gift with words. Very readable. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Rob Jon Andrews August 18, 2016 / 10:28 am

    Would love to see the original cut before the studio twisted it up into what it has become. Maybe on Bluray…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews August 18, 2016 / 10:45 am

      I am sure they will release a Director’s Cut or something on Blu Ray, like they did with BvS

      Like

  14. ajcomicsblog August 19, 2016 / 6:14 pm

    That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think? Then again, I can’t completely disagree. Studios want to make money. Executives are retarded and don’t know how to make money, but they touch the film with their greasy little fingers, so in the end we’re left with a slimy mess. God, is it so hard to just emulate the animations? They’re superb!

    Liked by 1 person

      • ajcomicsblog August 21, 2016 / 7:56 pm

        Assault on Arkham is the Suicide Squad bread and butter. It’s excellent, showcases the idea, shows the Squad’s relationship to Batman, and the dynamic between the characters. Also shows some superb character development and delves a little bit deeper into the Harley/Joker relationship without being too much in your face about it. The Squad can also be seen in some episodes of Justice League: Unlimited, but Assault on Arkham is definitely worth starting with. Also if you’re into comic books, now is a great time to pick it up as DC are cancelling their reboot. Though I would start with The New 52 if I were you. I hope this helps. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • Hammy Reviews August 21, 2016 / 8:08 pm

          Thank you! Will check out Assault on Arkham and a few comic books!

          Like

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