I think that was my main takeaway from this movie – if you’re ever in a helicopter that is plunging toward the earth, just chill, you’ll probably walk away with some minor abrasions. But I’m not here to rag on Suicide Squad for its reality busting aspects or its egregious plot holes – I mean, that’s just part and parcel of the superhero (I’m sorry, metahuman) genre right? The real issue I had with this film is that it wasn’t fun. It should have been. All the pieces were there to create a balls-to-the-wall, hyper violent and funny work of art. But instead Suicide Squad ended up being an unwieldy mess.
There are some who’re bagging this movie for gun-fetishization and sexism, and it’s hard to deny that both of these are represented in abundance, but you know what? This was always going to be a movie about bad guys, and if its morals were a little shady I was prepared to be totally okay with that. And those aspects didn’t bother me at all. What really shot this film in the foot was the introductions. My god, so many introductions. Each one as a standalone was fine, if a little lackluster, but together they became a ball and chain that weighed the entire front half of the movie down. We did not need to know the entire backstory for half a dozen characters before the story starts. This had flow on effects too – because of all that setup, the main “plot” had to be rushed into unceremoniously, leaving a stark break between the two parts of the film.
However it all could have been redeemed with some kick ass action sequences. That’s what I was pinning my hopes on. Instead we got swirly, blurry messes as our antiheroes tediously mauled literally faceless hordes of zombie-things. Creating a chaotic feel onscreen is one thing, but showing actual chaos is just a bore. Suicide Squad is far from the only film that’s guilty of this, but it needs to stop. Anyone who saw episode nine of the most recent Game of Thrones season will know that you can create something compelling out of chaotic scenarios, so filmmakers need to up their game and stop taking action set piece lessons from Michael “swing a cat-cam around by its tail” Bay.
It wasn’t all terrible, to be fair. Viola Davis excelled as a clever, cold-ass bitch and seemed like she was acting in another (much better) film. Seriously, I want a spinoff for her character. The visual effects were very pretty – I particularly liked the the Witch’s brother. And Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was a genuinely fun character amidst what threatened to be (but was never quite) a snorefest.
But all in all, Suicide Squad fairly spectacularly failed to live up to the hype that all the promos so skillfully built up.