James Joyce’s review published on Letterboxd:
Oh Suicide Squad, it had to be you didn't it! From the incredible amounts of promotion and marketing it has been subjected to over the course of a year from when the first footage was shown at Comic-Con last year to this year, you were meant to be the blockbuster of the year. But that is not the case sadly (and it really is sad, so sad in fact).
When you have a film like this with so much hype surrounding it (increased even more so by the failure of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), there is always going to be some part of you that feels ever so slightly disappointed that it didn't turn out that little bit better. However, I was not expecting to be this disappointed that is for sure. What is churned out in fact from the mind of director and writer David Ayer is a glorious mess of several great characters thrown together in a plot so thinly written and quite honestly shit, that it ends up feeling incredibly disjointed in parts so much so that you wonder why some elements of the film were even included in the first place.
Let's begin with the most important aspect of the film: The Squad. Joel Kinnaman (who plays Flagg and is the squad's on the ground commander) was for me my personal favourite character who was someone I was not expecting to get behind as much. But, I found I cared about his struggles and the situation that he finds himself in because he ends up looking out for everyone in the end, and somewhat becomes the principal character I believe and is hugely underdeveloped. Viola Davis is mightily impressive as Amander Waller (the squad's head boss and their controller) using her fearless nature and uncompromising will to bend the criminals to do what she commands and pulls her weight in a film overstuffed with too many characters making her stand out from the rest by a mile. Will Smith (who I haven't seen in a recent film since Hancock (unless you count his appearance in Anchorman 2)) and Margot Robbie seemed to just be playing extenuated versions of characters they have played before, but nevertheless are enjoyable to watch in the film although don't really make that much of an impression. Jay Hernandez, much like Kinnaman, was a surprise hit of the film for me and was probably the most detailed character out of everyone who had a compelling backstory and at points felt as if the film was hinting that he is a bigger player than perhaps he appeared on screen. The rest of the cast are pretty forgettable and don't add much. Both Cara Delevingne and Jared Leto and criminally underused in the film, with Delevingne's villain not given anywhere enough detail as to why her character does what she does and why. On the other hand, Leto as the Joker has his involvement in the film very thoroughly explained (and makes the role his own, despite having far too little screen time), however I fail to see why his character was even chosen to be in this film, because if you were to take away his character it wouldn't affect the main storyline at all.
Now the big issue of the film: the story. I guess it must have been hard for Ayer to make a film that introduced so many characters that will eventually become part of the DC Cinematic Universe, on top of writing a good reason as to why they come together and do what they have to do to stop evil. He fails. Not only does he not know how to handle eleven characters and make sure they all have enough screen time, but what he comes up with for the reason the squad are sent on their mission is so pathetic and underwritten I couldn't have cared less whether they succeeded or not in the end. As for the action sequences they are all dull, boring and forgettable straight after watching them, and are there purely as filler for getting from A to B and so on for the rest of the film. And then there are the appearances of both Batman and the Flash, the latter of which is literally a blink and you'll miss him moment and is only there to establish a connection to Justice League, while Ben Affleck doesn't get to do much as Batman but I still enjoyed him in it (somewhat even more than in BvS).
Steven Price, Oscar winning composer for Gravity, creates a rather bland score for the film where I only noticed it significantly maybe three times in the entire film, and doesn't capture the energy of the film. The jokes (I use the word jokes because people laughed in the cinema when I saw it, I however did not) fall flat and are all used up in the numerous trailers for the film. Another problem this film has is that it lacks any sort of fun, which if you've watched the trailers doesn't seem the case at all, but the completed film doesn't really know what sort of film it wants to be and ends up being thematically confused. Not only that but the film was given an age certificate of 15 here in the UK, which doesn't suit the film at all for one second, especially when films like Black Swan, Whiplash and Mad Max: Fury Road all hold that same certificate and earn it, this film is fundamentally a 12.
I did find positives with the film though alongside the characters I have already said impressed me most. I for one enjoyed the opening, detailing each squad member's capture and their backstory in enough detail, setting up what could be an interesting take on the comic book genre for the film, if only there weren't more to come afterwards. The entire look of the film is well polished and much better than both Man of Steel and BvS, with a cleaner overall look of the film. Although the score may not be up scratch, the soundtrack however is refreshing and a good listen to, even if they skip through songs too quickly in the first half before they are sent on their mission.
I've been hearing many things about how this film is trying to fuse Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy together and that was why there reshoots earlier in the year, but to be quite frank that wasn't what I thought. If it was trying to be Deadpool it would have been more violent, and if they wanted to embody Guardians of the Galaxy they would have had more jokes that would have actually been humorous. What is born instead is a film that doesn't know how to be what it wants to be, and so believes that enough characters, with the odd occasional action sequence every ten minutes thrown in will end up resembling something people want to watch. Which is not the case. If you're looking for the Suicide Squad experience save your money and buy the soundtrack.