In the wake of events sparked by the previous film in the franchise, the world is becoming increasingly threatened by ‘metahumans’. In order to deal with these new enemies, U.S. government official Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) proposes a radical new paramilitary force. Formally dubbed “Task Force X”, it is a group of both human and metahuman criminals. Tempted into joining with the promise of reduced prison sentences, and kept in line with explosives implanted in their necks, Waller plans to use them as a black-ops force to combat metahuman threats. Since the agents are convicts, Waller regards them as expendable and has no qualms about sending them on suicide missions. Members of the group include expert marksman Deadshot (Will Smith), former Arkham Asylum psychologist Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), former LA gang leader El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), notorious Australian bank robber Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), the ‘beast’ Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), expert swordswoman and lone non-criminal Katana (Karen Fukuhara), and the group’s ex-Navy Seal handler Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). But soon after being deployed on their first mission, things go terribly wrong, and the group has to contend with extra-dimensional entities, escape attempts, and interference from criminal mastermind The Joker (Jared Leto).
Two things are obvious when watching Suicide Squad. The first is that the film started out as a shameless attempt to rip-off Guardians of the Galaxy. It has the quirky cast of characters, the trailers which make it out to be close to a comedy film, and lots and lots of popular music. However, the film never quite gets it right. For example, the film is nowhere near as comedic as the trailers make it out to be. Plus, though the film opts for classic rock instead of 70s pop, it severely overdoes the music. While Guardians had the perfect mix of pop songs, a normal score, and scenes without music, Suicide Squad starts out the film with about half a dozen scenes in a row with rock songs playing over them. Sometimes the music volume doesn’t even decrease when characters are talking, which makes the whole thing even more annoying and noticeable.
The second thing that quickly becomes apparent is that this film is also an attempt to rip-off Deadpool. It attempts to capture the same kind of humor as Deadpool, but it fails on all accounts. Most importantly because, unlike the R-rated Deadpool, Suicide Squad is severely limited by its PG-13 rating. This means that the amount of gore in the movie is essentially non-existent, and that the characters can hardly ever curse. Both of which are incredibly odd considering the characters in the film are mostly hardened, violent criminals.
(Hey everyone, it’s Deadpool popping in again! Now Warner Bros., I’m not angry that you tried to rip-off my movie. Really, I’m not- I’m just disappointed that you did it so badly. If you ever make such a bad imitation of me again, I will send you a strongly-worded letter. And also maybe some bullets!)
The end result of trying to poorly copy two different movies is a cluttered mess. It’s obvious that Suicide Squad was re-edited at least once, possibly multiple times. The reason for this is that shooting had long since wrapped by the time that the phemonally-popular Deadpool was released in February and the critically-panned Batman v. Superman was released in March. The re-edit is particularly noticeable with regard to characterization, as the character’s motivations and personalities change frequently and for no discernable reason. Sometimes Deadshot is a Deadpool-esque sarcastic prick and other times he’s a big softy who just wants to protect his daughter. Harley Quinn fluctuates erratically between eagerly waiting to be saved by the Joker and giving up hope of ever seeing him again. There are also a number of orphaned plot threads that never get resolved, most notably the beginnings of a romance between Deadshot and Quinn near the start of the movie which is promptly forgotten about and never mentioned ever again.
Also, just as a side-rant, why are Captain Boomerang and Harley Quinn even in this movie? The group is composed of a skilled assassin, a guy who can shoot fire out of his hands, a beast with super strength, an ex-special forces soldier, and a samurai. And then there’s the guy who throws boomerangs at people, and a woman who’s just crazy. Seriously her ‘super-power’ is just being insane.
I will admit, there were a few parts of the film which I did enjoy. The cast all do a pretty good job despite the chop-suey resulting from re-editing, both the large presences like Smith and Robbie and the less well-known performers like Courtney and Fukuhara. The action sequences are adequate, if nothing you haven’t seen before, and there are a few cameos which DC fans will enjoy. But on the whole, I would suggest going into Suicide Squad with little to no expectations. Because otherwise, you will be disappointed. The DC Extended Universe is 0 out of 3 for their films so far, and I know that from now on I’ll be going into any future films with seriously curtailed expectations. I think I’ve given them more than enough chances.