The makers of “Suicide Squad” have achieved a superlative accomplishment. They have produced the most boring comic book movie of all time. The plot is tedious and, for the most part, the characters are garbage.
“Suicide Squad” had the potential to execute a really interesting concept. The film is about a group of supervillains who the military, à la “The Dirty Dozen,” drafts into a task force for fighting other, presumably worse, supervillains. But then, while resisting their captors, this group faces off against an ancient witch/goddess called the Enchantress, who, of course, wants to take over the world.
If that last part sounds clichéd, there’s a good reason for it – it is. The climax of the movie is so wildly unoriginal that the filmmakers never even take the time to explain what’s going on. The Enchantress creates some sort of spooky purple storm in the sky above a city and the Suicide Squad shoots, punches and blows up people until it stops.
Had the hackneyed plot been the only problem with the movie, it would have been salvageable. After all, “Guardians of the Galaxy” was exciting and fun despite having a run-of-the-mill story. That movie, though, had something that “Suicide Squad” lacks: interesting and funny characters.
Much like the plot, the characters in “Suicide Squad” could have been good. Will Smith could have been funny and charismatic as the assassin Deadshot in a way that could have helped guide the audience through the strange world of the movie. You know, like in “Men in Black” and “Independence Day.” Sadly, though, that Will Smith died from injuries received in the great “Hancock” disaster of 2008. Instead, this film gives us sad, mopey Will Smith, whose few quips are flat and unfunny.
Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang also could have been amusing, but the movie spends almost no time developing his character. This is another giant problem with the film: It introduces and takes away characters seemingly at random. It feels like there are important scenes missing from the film. For instance, Adam Beach shows up as a character named Slipknot, but it’s never explained who he is or what he does. He just dies a few minutes after he appears.
Two of the other characters that could have been neat are the Enchantress and Katana, a sword-wielding good guy, but the actresses portraying them – Cara Delevigne and Karen Fukuhara, respectively – give such cringe-inducing performances that they are virtually unwatchable.
The two diamonds in this trash heap of a film are Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jared Leto as the Joker. Robbie’s character is delightfully quirky and fun, but also sort of tragic in her love for the Joker. Meanwhile, Leto’s Joker is disturbing and disquieting in a way that is totally different from previous portrayals. Both would have been great in a Batman film where they would get more screen time. But instead, they’re in this.
In addition to its poor writing and acting, “Suicide Squad” is held back by its PG-13 rating. Throughout the film, it tells us that the characters do really bad things, but it never shows us any of it. This movie about serial killers, assassins and cannibals is barely more violent than an episode of “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.” With a hard R-rating, the man-eating Killer Croc could have been a scary monster instead of a scaly thug who swims well. And if we saw what terrible crimes the protagonists have done in the past, maybe we would feel sympathy when they later regret them.
Ultimately, “Suicide Squad” is a horrendous train wreck of a film, even compared to its mediocre-at-best DC Extended Universe predecessors “Man of Steel” and “Batman v. Superman.” Harley Quinn and the Joker are great, but they’re not worth the tedium of sitting through the rest of the movie.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Nick Gonzales is one of The Durango Herald newsroom’s resident film buffs. He welcomes movie recommendations. Follow him on Twitter @lackingzones.