In Batman Begins Alfred asks a young Bruce Wayne why people fall. “To get up again” is the answer. Young master Bruce learned in that movie what the movie studio Warner Brothers are learning the hard way by now in real life: that you should learn from your mistakes. Sadly, they appear to be somewhat stubborn as their latest “D.C. Extended Universe” movie tends to prove. The name is Suicide Squad and it was the movie that was to turn the critical skepticism surrounding its predecessors Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman around. You know, third time’s the charm and what not. As you can probably guess by the sombre tone of my words, they failed again. Oh, how they have failed again.
I really wanted to love Suicide Squad. I really do. At first glance everything looked great about it: the concept, the visual style of the posters, the movie title and even the trailer had something unique about it. I really dig the neon purple and green palette they used and the trailers were pretty damn awesome. The cool music, the unique visual style, the funny one-liners; surely they had it right this time.
I have never been so wrong in my life.
Suicide Squad is a mess, and a cliche-filled mess at that. It’s a mash up of several superior movies and uses key elements of their plots to create a boring pile of shit which feels all too familiar.
Now that there are aliens with the powers of Gods and meta-humans, a high ranking government official decides to assemble a task force of incarcerated “expendables”, each with their own unique skill. You have captain Boomerang who can throw boomerangs. There’s Deadshot who kills every target with one shot. There’s Killer Croc who is a half man, half crocodile. You get the idea. None of them are really standout characters save for fan-favourite Harley Quinn: the poster child for abusive relationships.
Under the command of captain Rick Flag, these bad guys have to fight their way through armies of CGI-creatures occupying the fictional city of Midway, fight their way up a skyscraper and defeat the antagonist and her “sky beam”.
A sky beam is a movie trope in which the bad guys have a giant beam of light shooting towards the sky often opening a portal to another world. Just this year alone sky beams appeared in Ghostbusters, Warcraft, Independence Day: Resurgence and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Before that we saw it in movies like Fantastic Four, Man of Steel, Transformers 3, Iron Man and the movie Suicide Squad is clearly inspired by: The Avengers. Bottom line: it’s used way too often.
Maybe you can guess by the synopsis alone which movies Suicide squad is ripping off next to The Avengers. For those who don’t, here’s how they mashed it together from bits and pieces from different movies: The fighting their way through the city felt very reminiscent of Escape from New York, but in reverse since they’re entering the city instead of trying to escape from it. They’re attacked by hordes of CGI-creatures which are generated by the sky beam. Now this is directly from The Avengers which had the Chitauri coming through a portal created by the beam. They have to fight their way up a skyscraper which is taken from The Raid and Dredd. The group itself feels like a comic book version of The Expendables and the whole way they used pop music is copied from Guardians Of The Galaxy. Which was also a comic book movie about a group of anti-heroes who have to save the day, but a lot more fun. The use of pop music is the only thing they actually copied the right way, as it was the most memorable thing about Suicide Squad. Well that and Harley Quinn’s outfit
Every one of those movies is better than this one.
Originality is never Hollywood’s strong suit. With big budgets involved they like to play it safe so I can’t blame them for trying to be as formulaic as possible. There have been great movies that took bits and pieces from other movies. Tarantino has even built his career on it to some degree.
But this whole movie is terrible. It’s filled with plot holes, bad pacing and hardly any decent character development. Even Will Smith isn’t able to inject his character with his trademark charisma. Only Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn has some moments in which she shines, though her story is also handled terribly with no real justification as to how she fell in love with a green haired mad man and became a skilled fighter. I do have to admit that this is the first movie in which Jai Courtney doesn’t give a bland performance.
Suicide Squad really frustrated me, mostly due to the holes in the plot. Just to give you an example: it’s shown early on that the antagonist can teleport. They show her getting sensitive documents from a vault in Iran and put them the in the hands of the U.S. in the blink of an eye. To control her they have her heart locked away in a box. If you can get documents out of a vault in Iran, surely you can fetch that box which is even in the same room as you are? No, the heart becomes a MacGuffin for which she sets out minions to retrieve, giving our anti-heroes a couple of fight scenes. It felt so nonsensical, just like the inclusion of the Joker. Though heavily featured in posters, trailers and other marketing materials the guy only is in the movie for about 10 minutes. If you would cut out his part it wouldn’t even matter to the plot.
There’s one thing that saddens me more than this movie: people actually went out in masses to watch it making this movie an actual success. As long as Warner Brothers is making big bucks on terrible movies like this, what’s their motivation to change anything? As long as people go out and pay good money to see shit, all they’re going to get served the next time is even more shit.