roby’s review published on Letterboxd:
Suicide Squad is not a very good movie.
Now, before you murder me in the comment section, allow me to explain.
David Ayer was the polar opposite to what this film needed. He has mastered the craft of gritty and real movies, evident by Fury and End Of Watch. However, this DC Comics-adaptation is not real and gritty. This is a film in a universe where people can run faster than the speed of light; where Zeus has a daughter named Diana; where Superman has died. This is not a real world.
Now, Ayer delivers what is perhaps the most fucked up and weird cinematic experience for myself since last summer’s Fant4stic, which, surprise surprise, was released on the exact same day. What I cannot really understand about this movie is how quickly it went to shit. Like the start of the movie, the Warner Brother’s logo alongside the DC Comics one; it was so uneventful. The movie started and my girlfriend and I were not even sure if it was the beginning of the film or of another trailer.
I hate to compare the film to Captain America: Civil War, but I have to. Civil War, despite being an uneventful entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it starts in such a demanding way. You are just hooked from the second the wide-shot of a white glazer appears. It is a much subtler way of beginning a film, and it just works.
Ayer’s Suicide Squad is the complete opposite of “subtle.” The film begins with different music for each character, with The Animals’ “House Of The Rising Sun” playing when we see the opening shots of Belle Reve, and Will Smith’s Deadshot. The music does not fit at all. It was almost like Ayer or the drug-fuelled editor (I assume) watched Martin Scorsese’s greatest hits and was like “Hey, we should do that!” The music just did not fit.
Now do not get me wrong, I fucking love it when pop music starts playing instead of orchestra music. It is so unique and underused in cinema, but there needs to be some correlation. Take Scorsese’s Casino, the sequence in which “House Of The Rising Sun” plays over the top of a voiceover and the respective deaths of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci’s characters. It works because there is a juxtaposition. The way the song is so loud, and the sequence is so soft and scary.
Suicide Squad fails to understand this.
The film’s acting is fucking poor. Jared Leto’s Joker is a mix of Al Pacino promoting Jack & Jill and Al Pacino in Scarface. While every time he is on screen the film is a genuinely incredible film, every time he is off screen, you feel the poorness just seep out of it like a flesh wound. There are moments where the actors look poor, and this is really because of the editing. I went back and watched the film’s teaser trailer, complete with a different “really, really bad,” sequence featuring The Joker, and it works so much more than in the film.
I wanted to love Smith and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, but I fucking did not. Which pains me, as I was so excited to see Quinn a favourite of mine from the books and television series. The real standout was Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang; I know. While I was watching the film I just kept laughing to myself. Like how the fuck is Jai Courtney the best thing about this film? It is just hysterical. Oh, quick heads up, the scene with Ezra Miller’s Flash is by far the coolest part of the movie. Funnily enough, Zack Snyder actually directed it, so, surprise, it worked.
So, one of the worst scenes in the film, spoiler ahead by the way, features Common. In the scene he meets with Joker and Harley Quinn at a strip club (?). So the scene is hyper as fuck, it has no linear path, it just keeps exploding, and exploding, with noise and images that you would seriously think you took something in the bathroom on the way to the cinema. Joker is talking and the camera is doing this weird purple-snapchat-instagram-photoshop-hybrid editing-clusterfuck on the outline of his body. Now, if that sentence does not make any sense, good luck understanding the entire scene I just mentioned.
It is really obvious at around an hour in that the film is what it should have been. The sequence when Harley Quinn is getting dressed is when the movie really picks up and gets it shit together, and then the invasion of Metro City (I think) begins and it becomes the same hyper-edited shit you were so happy had gone.
This movie would have been a lot better if someone like Guy Ritchie had directed it. He seems like the kind of guy who would have actually made a really fun and exciting movie, without getting bitched into cutting half of it out in order for “fun” sequences like the unexplained villain. Ayer seems like he had no fucking control of his actors. Like Leto is straight-up Tommy Wiseuing in some scenes, and it is at moments like this where you need someone to be like:
“Leto, fucking stop.”
Oh, almost forgot the funniest part. Whenever a character is introduced, there is this weird sort of “fact file” freeze frame that pops up, and I shit you not, behind Rick Flag (who’s last name is flag, by the way, not sure if it was obvious or not) there is an American flag. Like, I cannot make this shit up.
This movie was also over budget. Like why the fuck is a movie about a group of bad guys trying to not make a scene, featuring a villain who basically fucks up an entire city? Like that is not condensed, that is just poorly constructed. If Ayer took the time to redevelop the script, and maybe flesh out some crucial elements, the film could have worked.
The Joker should have been the film’s antagonist. Like I do not understand why the fuck he was not.
I mean, I wanted to love Suicide Squad, and it fucking pains me to type this review below a hanging poster of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice in my bedroom, but it happened. It is kind of funny that everyone forced this movie to become so “fun” and “edgy” when, in reality, I, along with millions of others, would much rather had seen the more serious and legitimate film Warner Brother’s were intent on making before the backlash of Dawn of Justice.
Hopefully, Warner Brother’s and DC Comics learn something from this tragedy. Never, and I mean ever, listen to the fucking public. If you have an idea that works, and flows, why mess with it? This whole situation reminds me of Fant4stic and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. A studio just fucks with a story they never should have.
It is a damn shame.