This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Alex_Lillquist’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
DC and Warner Brothers really need to stop treating their audiences like they're the biggest morons on the planet. Superman's "death" in BVS was probably the cheapest ending I've ever been dragged through in a superhero film (everyone and their mother knows that Cavil is signed onto the next film). Now we have Suicide Squad supposedly killing off the Joker. We all know that if you don't kill a character on screen then that character isn't dead. The Joker is "killed" off screen and the only people who would be shocked by the last minute reveal here would be anyone who has never seen a movie before. It's 2016 and filmmakers/studios out there still think that this stunt works. It doesn't. It's nothing more than a punch to the face of loyal fans and a case of lazy screenwriting in a film that so desperately wants to be like the far more successful, actually fun ensemble film Guardians of the Galaxy.
It certainly has the music (it even takes a very recognizable one from its inspiration). It just doesn't know what to do with all of it. The beginning is just a barrage of this great music and while great it just keeps on coming and coming and it no longer feels like a special moment when your favorite hit song from the 80's or 90's starts playing. It just feels like the film is trying way too hard to be upbeat and cool. The film wants to reach those levels of hipness just as much as it wants to reach a level of darkness. So dark they even hired an on-set therapist to keep the cast grounded because apparently the nature of the film was just so tormenting. On paper the film is funny and, to an extent, horrifying. On screen it never hits the right balance between those two and we're then stuck in a very confused limbo for the next two hours.
Surprisingly it's a fast two hours. I don't think I was ever actually bored watching Suicide Squad, even though most of the film is just the Squad walking around doing nothing, trying to prevent the villain from destroying the world. They sure rounded up a fine cast who are fascinating to hang around, but are put mostly to waste. It hardly feels like an ensemble since Smith, Robbie, Kinnaman, and Davis (the top billers in the advertisements, all giving fine performances) are the only ones put to any use. Courtney and Hernandez (who are excellent here) are the two actors/characters who should've/could've broken out in this film but they are never given a chance to do so. They're put back to make room for more characters who have absolutely no business in being here (Killer Croc, Katana woman, Slipknot, no doubt a couple more).
So, there's the villain(s) and then there's the Joker. Only one of these people is necessary. Joker (a fellow top biller) has so little screen time that it's embarrassing that Jared Leto put so much effort into playing him. The villains (a witch and her brother) are so painfully boring and horribly CGI-ed that it's reminiscent of that monstrosity Scorpion King from The Mummy Returns. They also suffer from the same problem X-Men Apocalypse's Apocalypse suffered from. They're too damn powerful.
From my review of Apocalypse
The villain should absolutely not be an immortal "do literally everything" God unless that villain is willing to fully utilize those powers, but even then it wouldn't help the film. The entire situation is a Catch-22. If the villain does utilize those powers the film is over in five minutes, if the villain doesn't they're seen as incompetent waste.
This is the second film this year with that problem. It worries me that it's felt like years since a superhero film has had a villain who isn't a complete underdeveloped moron. It's just sad that DC and Marvel have such a hard time getting this down. More villains aren’t the answer. The Joker (the interesting character and a fair match to the Squad) should've been the only villain in this film. Simple as that.
The biggest laugh I had here is when Killer Croc (wearing human jeans) gets on all fours and scurries down into the sewers. He moves so fast and his character is just so absurd looking (even without the jeans) I couldn't help but laugh. Thinking about it now I'm not actually sure if it was supposed to be a funny moment. I'm sure (hopefully) that it was but being that the film never successfully balances out the gloominess and upbeatness it's hard to tell how we should interpret that laugh. Interpreting laughs is the last thing we should be doing here.
It was from the horrible edited beginning that I knew Suicide Squad was going to fail. It should have opened on Davis introducing the characters not on the only two members of the squad the film cares about. I guess the film was clearly taken over in the editing room because of all the tonally confused moments and that it does feel like there's an awesome film somewhere in this mess. That's neither here nor there now because this is the product we get. The one the studio released with cheap deaths, unnecessary characters, stupid villains, and potential that has been crushed so hard that it confuses me how anyone can look at this one in a positive light. To each his own, I suppose. Squad is the dollar-bin Guardians and I don't think DC/Warner Brothers are ever going to learn from their/others mistakes. They don't care about their fans and you certainly shouldn't care about them until they make your $12 ticket worth it.
Part of: 2016: Films Ranked