When the world needs a defense against unstoppable threats in the absence of Superman, an expendable team of supervillains is put together in secret. That team is the Suicide Squad: a disposable unit of assets from Belle Reeve Penitentiary used in high-stake missions for the U.S. government.
Comprised of notorious DC Comics scoundrels Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, El Diablo and Captain Boomerang, the Suicide Squad is commissioned by government official Amanda Waller to secure a high-profile mark in the middle of a supernatural disaster in exchange for shorter prison sentences, so long as no one steps out of line.
“Suicide Squad” (rated PG-13) is written and directed by David Ayer (“Fury”), and was expected to be the savior of the DC Expanded Universe (DCEU) after the divisive backlash of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Although Ayer’s supervillain team-up film is better than “Batman v Superman,” it is only slightly so, and makes many mistakes that plague both comic book movies and generic summer blockbusters.
Will Smith (Deadshot), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) and Jay Hernandez (El Diablo) capture their respective villains nicely, but the rest of the cast is reduced to one-note clichés. Certain characters, like Harley Quinn and Captain Boomerang, make inexplicable choices purely for the sake of the plot, while characters like Killer Croc and Enchantress are unintentionally hilarious in the worst ways possible.
Batman and the Joker briefly cameo in “Suicide Squad.” Ben Affleck and Jared Leto perform well with what little they are given, but it is impossible to justify their existence in the film. The removal of these characters would have no impact on the plot, and neither of them are ever defined as the comic book legends they are, it is as if Ayer simply added them in for credibility.
The film tries and fails miserably at establishing a coherent tone. El Diablo’s dark reflections on murdering his family are inappropriately suffixed with jokes about Killer Croc’s appearance that fall flat.
The nauseating neon aesthetic showcased in the trailers never makes an appearance, and is instead replaced by the muddled grey of an empty city adorned with the “blue light in the sky doomsday device” seen in every other superpowered team-up film.
In addition, the squad is never depicted as the unstoppable, uniquely individualized unit they were made out to be, nor are they shown as qualified to take on the city-leveling monstrosity they inevitably overcome. The entire conception of the Suicide Squad stems from the question of, “What if Superman tore off the roof of the White House and stole the president?” What if he did, “Suicide Squad?” What good would a sniper, a scaly fellow and a Hot Topic reject with a baseball bat do against the Man of Steel?
Ultimately, “Suicide Squad” is a miniscule step forward for the DCEU, in that it is simply a bad movie as opposed to an offensive ruination of character and film. Its plot is muddled and its players are weak, despite the online novels written in defense of its “fun characters” — which are apparently the only components necessary to make a good movie. Perhaps the worst part about “Suicide Squad” is simply the wasted potential. Warner Bros. aimed for “Guardians of the Galaxy” and wound up with “Fantastic Four.”