DC’s ‘Suicide Squad’ fails to marvel audiences

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

The Suicide Squad consists of an ex-psychiatrist turned Joker sidekick, a perfect marksman, a government official, a deadly boomerang wielder (Jai Courtney, “Divergent”), a special forces officer (Joel Kinnaman, “RoboCop”), a human fireball, a swordswoman (Karen Fukuhara) and a reptilian villain (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, “Lost”). The movie directed by David Ayer (“Training Day”) was a disappointment for many comic enthusiasts.

The adventure woven for the audience lays down a tale of an off-the-books government organization comprised of super villains. These evil-doers are roped in with the promise of reduced sentences in exchange for saving the world under the cover of darkness.

It may already be easy to tell that there is a large collection of characters with compelling stories who make up most of the key roles in this film. The movie attempts to do justice to the characters’  backstories while it juggles the scales of justice.

The villains and government officials’ intentions and methods stumble between good and bad often, making the audience question the integrity of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis, “The Help”), the government official who created the Suicide Squad, and the seemingly more honorable and loyal capabilities of the criminals branded as the most evil villains available for action.

Throughout the press coverage before the movie premiere, the articles and trailers promised a much different version of the film from the final product. The most notable difference is the role, or rather the absence, of the Joker (Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”) in the plot. Although with the sub-par representation of the Joker, the audience does not feel quite as snubbed.

The number of scenes with his character are small, and his canon obsessive and abusive relationship with his sidekick, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”), as told through
the comic books was quite different from the somewhat romanticized portrayal on the screen. Although we can get a minuscule glimpse at the horrific manipulations Joker inflicts on Quinn, their relationship was still painted with a thin film of twisted mutual love and longing.

The movie emulates the recent Marvel films in their need to include such a large number of complicated characters with not enough time to properly explain the intricate stories that bring them together. The audience is treated to flash backs to show a short version of the histories of most of the characters.

The movie starts with Waller dropping a binder of the criminal’s rap sheets, and launches into a series of shocking intros for each, plunging us into the cycle of flashbacks intermingled with the present. This pushes acceptance of the team as a whole on the audience, without enough reason and backstory as to why the criminals and officials are paired together for better or for worse.

Getting brief glimpses of Harley Quinn and El Diablo’s past (Jay Hernandez, “Takers”) among others leave the audience grasping for more as the central mission for the Squad is forcibly pushed to the forefront of the plot between memories of the past. The switch between the past and present is as harsh as Waller’s methods, creating a ping-pong match feeling during the movie.

The main story line involves the first mission of the Suicide Squad — the first time they have to save the world. This feels like the corniest portion of the plot, and it was far more interesting to see Harley Quinn in action and the progression of her story.

The movie is pulled together by Robbie’s portrayal of Harley. She is a refreshing spot in a sea of writing that tries much too hard to lighten the grittier, more interesting comics the film pulls from
to become more palatable to a wider audience.

In fact, corniness is an undercurrent throughout the movie — beginning with Amanda Waller’s binder of the “Worst of the Worst” to form a criminal team doing her dirty deeds to “save” the world. As mentioned before, the main plot line centered around the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne, “Paper Towns”), and her evil machinations could not have been more meaningless in the scheme of the movie. In general, the script of the film was lackluster, although Robbie’s acting managed to rise above the mediocre lines.

That is not to say that there is not good acting in the movie, such as Hernandez’s representation of El Diablo, and Will Smith’s (“Men in Black”) masterful Deadshot.

The movie had so much potential, but ultimately without Harley Quinn and her trusty baseball bat, it would have been more of a suicidal opening, than the
alluringly grim and engaging fantasy that Suicide Squad should have been.