João Caetano’s review published on Letterboxd:
Oh, I'm not gonna kill you... I'm just gonna hurt you really, really bad.
Exactly. There are so many lines of dialogue that could be directed to the audience, referring to the movie.
Suicide Squad, aka Suicide Squandered, was one of my most anticipated movies of 2016, even more so than the vastly superior Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It would bring back to the big screen one of the most iconic comic book characters, Mr. J, and Harley Quinn would make her long awaited movie debut. It also promised to offer a different approach on the superhero genre, as it would star the villains instead of the good guys.
However, the movie delivers much less than what it teases. It begins on a high note, by introducing some characters in a fun, energetic and fast-paced way, in spite of the messy editing that makes these segments look like mini trailers. It goes downhill from there, showing only a couple of scenes more that could justify all the love these superhero movies get. Ultimately, what distinguishes these sequences from the mediocre ones are the characters in them and whether the audience cares for them or not.
Displaying some information on the screen about certain characters or telling their backstory doesn't necessarily contribute to their development, nor to the knowledge the viewer has about them. Therefore, it's impossible to care about all the characters and only those who are played by the (more) famous actors have any meaning to the audience.
Will Smith's Deadshot is the best of the bunch. Smith has this unique ability to deliver comedic lines that many comedians wish they had. His charisma drives most of the movie and so does his character's motivation. Right now, he could be the only character capable of leading a franchise of his own. Deadshot ended up establishing a mildly interesting dynamic with Joel Kinnaman's forgettable Rick Flag.
Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn is the other character we end up caring about. Robbie provides a fantastic performance and hits all the right notes. Her amazing backstory is only slightly explored and it has potential for a future psychological thriller movie. With the right script and direction, it could be an incredible film. I can only add that she could possibly be right below Kate Hudson's Penny Lane on the sexiest female movie characters. She could.
I love all sorts of crazy and psychotic performances on screen. In fact, one of my favourites is Gary Oldman's in Leon and I enjoyed the hell out of Jesse Eisenberg's take on Lex Luthor in BvS. Jared Leto delivers another one of those performances. It's truly stellar, even Oscar worthy, if it wasn't for the lack of screen time. I always thought he could get a nomination if the movie was well received by the critics, but that didn't happen. I loved his interpretation of the Joker and I believe Leto can still receive high praise for his extraordinary efforts. It could happen in the form of that Batman movie, by Ben Affleck, or perhaps that hypothetical thriller I was talking about could allow that to happen.
Just to conclude my thought on the performances, I would like to add that Viola Davis is an excellent Amanda Waller, even more menacing that Cara Delevingne's witch, more on that later. Jai Courtney was okay, he got all the best jokes. Jay Hernandez sounds a lot like Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle, doesn't he? His Diablo is the best character, out of the less interesting ones. I love Katana from CW's Arrow and it was disappointing to see that the screenwriters didn't care about her, even more so because Karen Fukuhara seems perfect for the role. Killer Croc has the best entrance on water ever.
A movie is as good as its villain, right? Indeed. Cara Delevingne's Enchantress could very well be the worst movie villain ever. Malekith is relegated to second place. Honestly, I don't know who's to blame. Sure, Delevingne's acting isn't top-notch, but the screenwriters made her dance (?) in a weird way and her voice is laughable. The final result is ridiculous and by far the worst aspect of the movie.
While Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a dark film and proud to 'own that shit', Suicide Squad is ashamed to exhibit that dark side, which results in confusing tone shifts. One moment, it's clearly a DC movie, and another, it is a Marvel family friendly one. Therefore, the comedy sometimes doesn't land, at all. Besides, I also didn't find anything special about the way the action was shot. It was generic stuff, mostly.
Suicide Squad is a huge waste of potential, that could have benefited from some character development and sharp editing. Its greatest strenght is undoubtedly the work done by the talented cast. Could a different cut fix some of these issues? Probably, yes. I was going to attribute 3 stars to this, but I have to drop one, in comparison to Man of Steel. A second watch didn't help, either. By the way, what was your favourite sequence? Spoiler alert: mine was the one in which Joker jumps into the acid to Harley.
You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they really are. Next time, baby!