Film, Reviews, Screen

Suicide Squad movie review – one for the fanboys

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What the hell was that? To say DC Comics’ highly anticipated Suicide Squad movie is full of sound and fury is over-selling it; despite reshoots intended to ramp up the action there isn’t much of either. But it certainly, sure-as-light-is-day signifies nothing: a bizarrely deflating, energy-sapped downer from director David Ayer (Fury, End of Watch) that somehow feels both frenzied and passionless.

Early buzz has not been kind, with reports of critics’ jaws dropping for all the wrong reasons. The response from fanboys has been characteristically puerile. A change.org petition launched to shut down Rotten Tomatoes brings to mind that old episode of The Simpsons, when Springfield averts an incoming comet and the townspeople later resolve to burn down the observatory “so this’ll never happen again”.

For the record, I am pro banning the popular review aggregation website, as long as it comes with a caveat: new superhero movies are banished for the duration of the downtime. There are many good caped crusader flicks, of course, but Christ on a bike we’ve seen a lot of them. Ayer’s messy monster mash suggests it’s time for the genre to take a breather.

In the corridors of power in Washington, intelligence agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) asks “what if the next Superman was a terrorist?” Ayer, also the screenwriter, again kicks the heroes-as-vigilantes can around, similar ground recently flogged (and hardly for the first time) in blockbusters Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War.

Suicide Squad ups the ante, sort of, by enlisting an entire crew of anti-heroes and villains. Deadshot (Will Smith) is a supernaturally talented marksman. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is the psychotic baseball bat-wielding lover of The Joker (Jared Leto). Diablo (Jay Hernandez) is a mopey pyro who can sprout fire from his hands. Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) is a half-man half-crocodile who could do with a bit of skin care.

Margot Robbie delivers some get-up-and-go as Quinn (though) her extreme short-shorts feel like come-ons for fanboys.

Released from bespoke prison cells, the team are assigned the task of saving humanity from annihilation. The baddie is an ancient evil spirit who has possessed the body of a scientist (Cara ‘we made it for the fans‘ Delevingne).

Larding the first act with lashings of backstory, the film begins as a series of disconnections. Ayers jumps back in time to reveal that, say, Deadshot went to prison because he wasn’t prepared to shoot Batman in front of his daughter, instead freezing up and waiting for the police to come (not his or the Dark Knight’s finest hour).

Margot Robbie delivers some get-up-and-go as Quinn. Her extreme short-shorts feel like come-ons for fanboys, however, and her performance – probably the best part of Suicide Squad – is undercut by an air of objectification. Robbie nevertheless out-Jokers The Joker, though viewers curious to see what Jared Leto would do with the role will leave disappointed. He’s given short shrift and limited screen time.

For at least the first 30 minutes no tangible storyline emerges. The pacing of Ayer and his editor John Gilroy feels both erratic and flat-footed; there’s a sense everything was left to come together in the editing room and very little came together in the editing room.

Suicide Squad has the discombobulating rhythms of a Joel Schumacher ‘Batman’ venture (Batman Forever or Batman & Robin) but none of their campiness, making it difficult to appreciate on any level. Certainly not in the context of “so bad it’s good.”

The film’s hellzapoppin trailer, which has been viewed more than 57 million times (and counting) memorably buzzed along to Bohemian Rhapsody. As if aspiring to replicate the success of a viral video, Ayers chews through a jukebox of perennial retro-cool songs (including House of the Rising Sun and Sympathy for the Devil) in what seems like an eleventh hour attempt to deliver some panache. Suffice to say, it doesn’t work.

8 responses to “Suicide Squad movie review – one for the fanboys

  1. I’ve a sneaking suspicion that this movie might be a hoot. Call me a “fanboy” if you like but shorty shorts on Margot and senseless mayhem sounds like a fun 120mins to me. It’s interesting that I’ve seen reviews which were positive & reviews like this one which are negative. Polarisation seems to be between those who can enjoy something for the sake of it and others who are looking for something more. I’m in the former camp so will probably like it.

  2. “one for the fanboys”- what is with the pathological need in reviewers-or fanboys in general- to assume the only people who are fans of comics, and comic adapted films, are only those who come with a built in penis? fan girls do exist. we are just not going around sprouting violence on those who do not come with a built in ovaries, when we see something other than our mirrored image enjoying the comic universe.

    we exist.
    “inclusiveness”: one for the fanboys.

  3. My Husband and I just got back from seeing it. I was a bit off-put with the opening scenes – the violence and torture – but thought it got better as it went along. The real monsters and villains, of course, are the government agencies who will do anything, manipulate anyone for their own purposes. I liked the unfolding humanity of the main characters. My husband enjoyed the whole thing. (We were previously greatly disappointed with Batman vs Superman, and my husband walked out of the Avengers: Civil War)

  4. By what miracle did Quinn wield a BASEBALL bat? There is even a picture at the head of the review showing the CROQUET mallet she uses. You did see the movie? You do get the relevance of it being a croquet mallet?

  5. I know a large number of people in their 30s who have seen this movie. Mostly girls. They think it is brilliant, a real laugh in places and the ending superb. Don’t think it is just fanboys.

  6. The truth is the movie has made a metric ass-load of money, thereby confirming two things.

    1. Reviewers don’t reflect popular taste.
    2. There will be a sequel.

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