Andrew Dodderidge’s review published on Letterboxd:
Suicide Squad could’ve been the turning point for the DCEU. After two somewhat disappointing films in Man Of Steel and Batman v Superman, SS looked like a departure from that Zack Snyder style and a real opportunity for DC to shine for the first time, post-Nolan. I actually liked Man Of Steel a lot more than some people, but BvS was flat out wasted. Every trailer that I watched got me that much more pumped to see a good DC movie again. They made it look as though the Joker was going to be one of the greatest portrayals of a superhero character in some time. All of this excitement faded during my watch of this film, and drastically even more the longer I think about it.
I’ll give you my positives, first, because there are a pretty good amount. Margot Robbie. She is really excellent. It is essentially perfect casting here and I feel as though Robbie was born to play this role, because she did it flawlessly. Jared Leto is great as well, as each time he is on screen, you are just waiting for his next scene after that one ends. These two performances were ones that I had been anticipating for some time, and neither of them let me down. Even though the action didn’t feel that fresh and new, I really enjoyed it. It is fun action; I really liked the fun aspect of it. When it comes down to the final half of this movie, there is a ton of action, and I came to admire it, as I was glued to the screen. Suicide Squad is a whole lot of mindless fun.
The characters of Deadshot and Harley Quinn are by far the two biggest focuses of this movie. Notice how I didn’t include the Joker in there. I’ll get to that later. But Deadshot probably had the best character arc out of anybody in this film, as he has trouble deciding what he wants to do with his life, struggling to find peace with his daughter. Harley Quinn is given much focus, too, especially her relationship with the Joker (all about her, not him), and being one of the only characters to actually make sense, it does justice to this character. The craziness between Harley and the Joker give the film an on-edge feel, as well, glossing over the unnecessary bits a little bit. Also, I’m still on the ropes with the music. I’m not quite sure whether I would’ve liked an actual score or if the songs presented fit it well. The jury is still out on that.
In all seriousness, though, Suicide Squad has problems in places that are way too mandatory to have problems. The biggest of which is the narrative, because there really isn’t one to follow. We are constantly bombarded with information that is never brought up again, like we’ll just remember it all just like it happened a second ago. With a script like this, it’s hard to really get into the plot (which could’ve been 100 times better), if at all. David Ayer’s writing is all over the place and he can’t seem to concentrate on just one thing. The first act is really, really bad, too, and if I knew everything about these characters already, I could’ve taken a 25 minute bathroom break during it. It’s just a long exposition of every character of the squad, and in the end doesn’t even make me care at all about any of them, which is obviously the goal with something like that.
When I thought the trailer was trying not to give much away, in a way, that wasn’t really their intention at all. Over half of the Joker’s lines in the film are in the trailer, and he is probably in the movie between 5-10 minutes total. This is really sad because Leto had the capability of taking over this film. Instead, the character of Enchantress gets the spotlight. It’s really mind-boggling that this happened, and even more mind-boggling that she probably got more attention than the Joker. It’s hard to really talk about it without giving a lot away, but Enchantress in the third act is truly awful. I can’t believe Ayer thought that was a good idea. Will Smith as Deadshot is just okay for me, being a guy that doesn’t hate Smith. I’m sure I would’ve been surprised if I was a Smith hater, but the performance is fine, I guess. Nowhere near Robbie and Leto.
After not looking at the reviews before watching Batman v Superman and leaving the theater in a state of total depression, I was eager to look at them beforehand this time around, and I coped with the outcome a lot better. The more I think about it, though, the more disappointed I become. This could have really been something, especially in the hands of a capable director in David Ayer. The narrative really screws this film over, and even if it makes it feel different, that’s not an excuse for how bad it actually was. Even with my gripes, I can probably see myself rewatching this movie sometime in the near future, because I did have a lot of fun with it. A lot of it might have been due to my excited nature, so a second look may be in order. It’s not bad, but rather a giant missed opportunity to make a comeback.