Suicide Squad is to DC Comics what Guardians of the Galaxy was to Marvel; a band of outlaws trying to do some good & save the world for once. Both feature characters that aren’t as well-known as the bigger names in their respective brands, and bringing them on the silver screen was always going be a risky endeavour. However, where Marvel Studios’ biggest gamble to date paid off tremendously well in their favour and remains one of their finest outputs, the problems continue to pile up for DC Comics as their cinematic universe simply refuses to take off and is instead heading towards its own grave.
Man of Steel launched the DC Extended Universe with another iteration of Superman, back in 2013. It was a rather underwhelming start but with promises of bigger & better things to come in the later instalments. Better can certainly be disputed but bigger thing did arrive in the form of Batman v Superman last year which pitted two of DC Comics’ greatest behemoths against each other. But several glaring issues such as its bloated premise, empty spectacle driven by excessive CGI & terrible characterisation turned it into an even more frustrating experience. Nevertheless, it still paved the groundwork for their crossover film, due for release this year.
But if you thought Batman v Superman was terrible, then Suicide Squad surely has a big surprise for you. By far the worst entry in DCEU or any cinematic universe for that matter, this so-called “Dirty Dozens with supervillains” is one mind-numbingly unimaginative action-adventure that’s as cringeworthy & lifeless as blockbusters can get. Repeating the multitudes of mistakes made in the previous entries and then adding some more on top of it, the film drains millions of dollars down the drain and is a lesson in how to neither write nor direct a big-budget extravaganza, not to mention that it is another major blow to DC’s hopes of getting their formula right.
Set after the events that transpired in Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad finds a secret government agency, led by US intelligence officer Amanda Waller, putting together a squad of world’s most dangerous, incarcerated criminals with gifted abilities, in order to use them as disposable assets in high-risk missions for the US government. Offered leaner sentences for their services, the assembled team of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc & Slipknot are headed to their first mission under the command of Colonel Rick Flag and are supposed to save the world from a powerful supernatural entity that wants to eradicate mankind.
Written & directed by David Ayer, the movie opens with a drawn-out sequence that shows Amanda Waller talking about the incarcerated supervillains she plans to recruit in her proposed team. It begins with a hint of excitement but becomes tedious real soon yet goes on for nearly 30 minutes, possibly more, for whatsoever reason. And still, this heap of lazy exposition isn’t the worst thing about it, for more awful moments surface later in the story. Ayer’s direction is just as detestable as his screenplay as his movie is all over the place and has no sense of direction at all. Even the characters are horribly written while the interplay between them is facepalm-inducing most of the time.
Production design team utilises dilapidated sets in order to signify the dark tone of its tale but the darkness lies only on the surface as those set pieces are hollow from the inside, in part due to excess CGI. Cinematography encapsulates the entire film with sunless ambience & earthy colour tones although a few scenes, especially the ones involving Joker, brim with both vibrancy & a little touch of madness. Editing is one hell of a mess here as Ayer unnecessarily stretches out moments that should be brief while quickly skimming through events that could’ve benefitted from additional screen time. Pacing remains dull throughout its runtime, narrative flow is uneven, and the whole ride is just frustrating.
Also lame is its desperate attempts at humour, for rarely any of them manage to hit the right spot. Visual effects team once again goes heavy on CGI with all the mayhem & destruction but it’s entirely empty from within, evoking no emotion at all. The key part of any story with despicable characters in the lead is that you have to make them strike a chord with the viewers, and Ayer fails in fulfilling that necessity here. It does offer plenty of action but even those scenes are lacking in elements that would make the audience care. Last but not the least, the soundtrack incorporates plenty of cool tracks and yet it neither compliments the narrative nor uplifts the experience, for it is either way off the mark or too obvious to have any effect.
Coming to the performances, Suicide Squad features a capable cast in Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney & others, with Robbie being the only standout. Totally into her character from the start, although she does go little overboard at times, Robbie really puts an effort to make Harley Quinn her own. Smith does pretty good as Deadshot but his star power is surprisingly missing here. So much was made out of the deep dive that Leto took for the role of Joker and while it is in the actor’s DNA to slip into any character and bring them to life from inside-out, Leto’s rendition of Joker is as laughable as it is downright embarrassing. The remainder of the cast isn’t even worthy of a mention, however, Davis surely has fun playing Amanda Waller.
On an overall scale, Suicide Squad is simply an array of one bad decision after another, and fails at even the basic aspects of storytelling. Convoluted, bloated & clueless of its own strengths, it is yet another bland & forgettable entry in the long line of soulless blockbusters that are all hype and no substance. There’s plenty to appreciate about the references that are present in the background but there seems to be zero effort in refining the characters that are at the forefront of those settings. The final showdown in itself is such an unbelievably stupid sequence that it makes you wanna throw up. No less than an eyesore, the third entry in DC Extended Universe is an atrocious example of blockbuster filmmaking that’s incompetent in all aspects of filmmaking, is an absolute waste of your time & money, and is one of the worst films of 2016.