Initially, as I watched the trailer for Suicide Squad with it's vibrant graphics and edgy, dark tone, I thought that DC had finally taken a chance and decided to deliver a comic book movie that was, at least, a little different. If the marketing was to be believed you were being treated to a humorous dirty dozen movie where the bad guys take on even badder guys in a battle to save mankind.
In reality that's only partially correct. When the movie is set up we think its going to be like the dirty dozen as it follows a similar setup but with one vital difference. And this is crucial: the setup is very disjointed, showing a series of flashbacks which introduce characters, some interesting, others not so. While trying to set up the plot, such as it is, featuring a round table of big wigs discussing the 'Suicide Squad' and the 'plot'.
Admitedly, the first forty minutes had me interested and hoping when we finally get to the main thrust of the plot that it builds on the beginning. Sadly, that was not the case. The rest of the movie is incoherent, with disjointed poorly edited scenes that look like they have been twisted and turned inside out hoping to find a movie in the process.
I did read that the director was 'Locked out' of the edit by Warner Brothers which may or may not have contributed to the scenes being delivered so poorly. This movie is a pale shadow to the enjoyable 'Fury' movie the director did last. Roumers where floating around the internet that there was 30 million dollars worth of reshoots. Now wheter or not this was forced reshoots by the studio trying to salvage a very expensive summer blockbuster or a director trying desparately to fix holes remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it still remains somewhat of a mess. But was it an enjoyable mess at least?
Well yes and no. I quite enjoyed whenever the Joker appeared on screen. He added a much needed lift to proceedings and Jared Leto's performances was suitably menacing and intense. But the biggest problem was that he was hardly in the movie at all. He merely drifts in and out of the picture and when he isn't in it, the movie begins to travel in a downward spiral. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn adds a quirky, comic touch to proceedings and outshines everyone else around her.
The segmented editing style meant that the characters ended up being uninteresting, trading one liners over character. The biggest loser of this was Jai Courtney as boomerang, given nothing to do except try to be an Australian who says stupid things and robs banks. Its a nothing role for him and you wouldn't have lost anything plot wise if he wasn't in the movie at all. They didn't even bother giving Slingshot a proper introduction scene as one of the squad because less than ten minutes later he gets his head blown off in a scene that plays comically rather than serious.
As an ensamble piece it doesn't quite work. Some of the Suicide squad characters are interesting, others are just there for filler and serve no purpose at all. Arguably, it would have been a better movie without so many characters there to fill screen time and to have their 'bit'. If they are not contributing to the plot or building tension or obstacles then they shouldn't really be there in the first place. But therein lies the problem with ensemble pieces. Trying to give the requisite amount of time to each character. This is where suicide squad fails biggest, becoming a choppily edited piece trying to fit every scene together, rushing to the next to the detriment of story and continuity.
Finally, we have the main villain of the piece Enchantress. It would be fair to say that her scenes where misjudged, playing silly, at times, and others unintentionally comical. As a driving force for getting the suicide squad together she fails to elicit real interest and is quite incoherent. We get snippets of her ranting about building a 'machine' but we really get to know nothing else. And as a result the ending fails. Whether this is down to editing choices or a poorly written script is anyone's guess. This just adds to a series of choices that unfortunately didn't work out.
The movie did have potential which is the biggest loss. I can see where they were headed with it but through whatever reason it just didn't come together and no amount of pretty graphics or special effects or clever marketing will gloss over that fact. (Having said that I can easily see a special edition of the movie being released that is much longer in run time which may or may not help filling in plot points.)
In the end we were left with a movie that wasn't finished and didn't quite work.
** out of 5