jonathan edge’s review published on Letterboxd:
i hate movies sometimes.
this is by far the worst blockbuster of the summer, and i feel it represents everything wrong with blockbuster filmmaking. it's a bloated, soulless, corporate product that tries to pander so heavily to its target market it forgets to actually be a movie.
the editing here may be some of the worst i've ever seen. naturally comparisons have been drawn between this and last year's critical superhero failure (but still far better) Fantastic Four, but at least Fantastic Four had a cohesive first forty minutes or so with a clear vision. Suicide Squad has none of this. from the second it begins it's a mess; incoherent from beginning to end.
the opening twenty minutes of character introductions are really quite pointless because none of these characters receive any interesting characterization anyway so who the fuck cares? but they're made even more unbearable by the constant soundtrack of generic classics/top forty hits that are overbearingly laid over these scenes. the songs of the soundtrack themselves aren't bad, but their usage is fucking excruciating, pointlessly stitching together scenes just to give them the slightest hint of coherency or tone when really there is none. another (far superior) film that this has been compared to is Guardians of the Galaxy, which took a similar approach to its soundtrack but effectively used those songs to establish tone and also create emotional resonance with the story/characters. it had meaning to it, whereas Suicide Squad vomits up the most generic shit possible just because it assumes the audience will love it (if i never hear Fortunate Son in a movie again, it'll still be too soon).
i mentioned the characters, and to be honest there's little more i can say because the movie has such little to say about them. the Joker is abysmal, and Jared Leto's performance is infinitely irritating. much has already been made of his appearance but fact of the matter is he just looks utterly pathetic and i do not buy into him being scary at all. the whole pimp/tattooed up angle was just a real misfire and Leto's performance only exemplifies the most annoying aspects of that.
Robbie does fine with what she is given, but her Harley is treated so poorly i just couldn't bring myself to care. the most misguided example of this is when we see a vision of what Harley desires, and it's a domesticated, normal family life which i feel completely robs her of any agency. granted, the only point of reference i have for Quinn is that of Batman: The Animated Series, which made her interesting because as far as i remember she had no soft side, she chose insanity and stuck with it. this film robs her of that and makes her much less interesting, completely changing the character.
similarly Viola Davis is fine but her character is utterly despicable. Cara Delevingne's Enchantress is a fucking nightmare. Jai Courtney as Boomerang gives the worst Tom Hardy performance in years. Killer Croc and Diablo are just racial stereotypes (though they at least try to give Diablo a character arc, as boring as it may be). Katana is really cool but is given nothing to do. Will Smith is as charismatic as ever, but who gives a fuck?
the action is nothing. it's just the #squad fighting a faceless army of CG badguys, which has no impact at all. the villain is a complete nonentity and is given no buildup, so the apparent threat that they pose is just confusing. a Suicide Squad movie should have smaller stakes, but nope, instead we get another world ending threat with tonnes of shitty CGI destruction because that's apparently what everyone loves. similarly to this year's Deadpool, a Suicide Squad movie has the chance to be subversive and go against the grain but nope, here we indulge in all the most generic aspects of superhero films because fuck originality, right?
the film is ugly as hell, with murky lighting that would appear to be trying to establish a more grounded tone but again this is completely at odds with the colorful soundtrack choices and random unfunny one-liners. there's also inclusions like Boomerang's fetish for pink unicorns, which his WordArt fact file reveals in the character introductions, because like lol isn't that so random guyz?
Suicide Squad is a despicable excuse for a film, of too many flaws to name and apparently no creative vision, because the slapdash editing and directing never tries to amount to anything, or at least anything remotely interesting or engaging. audiences genuinely deserve better than this.