Suicide Squad

Directed By: David Ayer

Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, and Cara Delevingne

The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is really having a hard time getting off the ground.  I recently checked out the extended edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  While you all know my feelings on the abysmal theatrical version, I must admit that the extended edition is a much-needed improvement.  I'm not saying that it's a good movie by any measure, but it's certainly not a half-assed disgrace of a blockbuster like its theatrical counterpart.  This brings me to this weekend's Suicide Squad, the next attempt by Warner Bros. to mint comic book gold.  I'm well aware of the fact that it's not faring so well on Rotten Tomatoes.  I'm also well aware of the fact that the 15,000+ fanboys who have signed a petition damning the review aggregator and proclaiming that it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Having seen the film for myself, I've landed somewhere in the middle.

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), a government employee at a covert agency known as ARGUS, has a dream of preventing the next nightmarish tragedy from becoming reality.  With Superman having taken flight and subsequently having been put to rest, Waller believes mankind needs to be ready for the next cataclysmic event threatening our home.  That's why she's assembling a team with permission from the powers that be in the Department of Defense.  It's a team of super criminals who once plagued our society but can now somehow do some semblance of good.  She includes the likes of assassin Floyd Lawton (Will Smith), who is better known on the streets as Deadshot.  She also recruits the Joker's (Jared Leto) main squeeze, crazed former Arkham Asylum psychiatrist Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).  Other members include Digger Harkness (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez).  Waller just so happens to have dropped all of them in a hole that just happens to be her back pocket.  When a witch known as the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) threatens Midway City, Waller orders Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) to lead this motley crew to save the city and possibly the world.

We've had some disappointing superhero adaptations this year such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and X-Men: Apocalypse.  We've had some soaring triumphs such as Captain America: Civil War and Deadpool.  Bringing notorious supervillains to life on the big screen, David Ayer's Suicide Squad doesn't fit in either category.  Unmistakably flawed yet undoubtedly entertaining, Suicide Squad is the movie for which you just can't help but root, even if they're getting the jump on Justice League (which could be another disappointment from Zack Snyder).  The film features some deliciously entertaining performances from the stellar ensemble Ayer has gathered together.  At the same time, the narrative of this supervillain team-up is anything but structurally sound.  Borrowing the quirkiness of Guardians of the Galaxy and serving up edginess not too dissimilar to Deadpool, Suicide Squad is not quite the comic book movie we deserve after all the hype.

With the exception of Cara Delevingne in her turn as the Enchantress, the actors in Suicide Squad have been perfectly cast in their roles.  You need look no further than the likes of Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis.  For his part as the infamous marksman Deadshot, Smith gets to unleash his trademark charisma.  Talking trash and backing it up on the big screen, Smith reminds us why he's one of the last true movie stars in the first place.  For her part as former psychiatrist Harley Quinn, the beautiful Margot Robbie is pitch perfect.  Deliciously evil and positively unhinged, Robbie delivers one sumptuous performance that makes villainy look like utter fun.  Finally, we have Viola Davis as Amanda Waller.  It's safe to say that she's one mean lady on camera and gives us a hardened version of the government operative like we've never seen before on the big or small screen.  I could go on and on about the cast, including Jared Leto's modern take on the Joker, but then this would be a substantially longer review.

As endearing as the performances are from our star-studded ensemble, they're not enough to keep the film afloat.  The reason for this is simple.  The story is garbage, utter garbage.  Earning both writer and director credits for Suicide Squad, David Ayer is fully responsible for the hot mess called a story that unfolds on screen.  He haphazardly introduces the team, structures the story in such a way that it unfolds in the most uninspiring and sporadic manner, and delivers crucial plot details at the most inopportune and ineffective moments.  This couldn't possibly be the same creative force behind Fury, End of Watch, and Training Day.  Keep in mind that this is just the writing.  This doesn't even address the fact that Ayer has a unique opportunity afforded to him to get the jump on Marvel in a way that no other director has had in the DCEU.  The Sinister Six hasn't made its way to theaters, and Suicide Squad is the first comic book movie to feature traditional villains as a team of protagonists.  Given the shortcomings of the film, it's safe to say that this was a wasted opportunity.

Suicide Squad
is not the movie for which we hoped, but it's not the movie we feared either.  Thanks to the cast mostly firing away, this supervillain movie is undeniably entertaining.  Suicide Squad gets a 0.06% rating.  Have a few rounds of beer with this one.