Death of the Critic

Suicide Squad - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich


It is no secret that
Suicide Squad's production was plagued with problems from the beginning. From stories of reshoots, reedits, and test audiences changing the tone of the film, we don't know what the movie was originally going to look like. What we do know is that the movie that we did get is ultimately disappointing. Bogged down by an oversized cast, poor writing, plot holes, and unkept promises, what started out as an exciting trailer ended poorly and leaves a rotten taste in your mouth.

The movie opens strongly, introducing a portion of our cast in short vignettes that are supposed to give us an idea of their abilities. We are shown Deadshot and Harley Quinn first, which is fitting, as the movie quickly devolves into "The Deadshot Show featuring Harley Quinn". They have this big rogues gallery of villains, of whom most viewers have probably only heard of two or three, and they utterly fail to capitalize on any of it. They only give backstory to 3 of the villains, and barely any at that.

They don't tell us why Deadshot shoots people. Or why he is so good at it. Only that he likes money and loves his daughters. They tell us the most about Harley Quinn, but morph her abusive relationship between herself and the Joker into something much more creepily romantic. They ignore the torture and abuse that he subjected her to, writing it off in a single scene, before turning them into these star crossed lovers fighting for each other. The most intriguing character of the villainous squad is El Diablo, a former gangbanger who says "ese" way too many times, but has vowed to stop using his powers after misusing them one too many times.

There is promise here, but they are more willing to cast aside interesting character development and story in favor of spectacle. It's indicative of a larger problem that the film has where it fully prioritizes style over substance to the point where it feels like there is no substance left. Cool shots of amazing effects are more important to the film than a convincing plot or reasonable characters. The villain that the squad must fight is an overpowered apocalyptic threat, able to dispatch entire military bases and aircraft carriers hundreds of miles away with the wave of an arm. So they send a guy with boomerangs, someone who is really good at shooting guns, an actual crazy person, a woman with a sword, a guy who bites people, and a guy who can shoot fire out of his hands to fight her. And somehow that is enough.

It's a movie where hand grenades can blow away centuries old magic. The threat was just too big and it seemed like an excuse for more flashy special effects and an empty city for our villains to play in without any tangible threat to civilians outside of a single scene. The stakes feel simultaneously too high and not even present. The world might end. But only empty buildings are being destroyed and only a few special forces guys and some irredeemable villains are still here. You can see the cavalier attitude towards story with the Joker and Harley Quinn as well. He is barely in the movie, and he looks more like Riff Raff than an actual villain, and she... well she was just bad. She felt like a plastic sex doll that spouted "lol, so random" phrases and who's survival in the situation was unbelievable. And her hackneyed attempts at motivational speeches and emotional moments fell completely flat. It was really disappointing, especially with an actress as talented as Margot Robbie playing her. From the moment she is first shown she is reduced to her ass and innuendo and it sucked.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 10.23.24 AM_vice_670
The Joker's alter ego

Suicide Squad fell into way too many of the pitfalls that can befall a superhero action flick. Clichéd and empty it failed to live up to the premise of the source materials or the characters t was supposed to portray. As a basic action flick, it was mediocre. Aggressively so. But as a DC Comics movie trying to kick off this new universe, it was, quite simply, bad.

This title was reviewed before the inception of our current review system and as such is not scored. We still stand by the content of our old reviews.

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Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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