Possibly one of the year’s most anticipated films, with a robust marketing campaign and a strong ensemble cast, Suicide Squad looked to fill the crater that DC Films had created in the wake of the less than stellar reception of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman.
And here’s the good news: Suicide Squad is good. It’s a solid film and that’s enough for DC at the moment to keep spinning the wheel of hype to garner more interest in the DC cinematic universe. Unfortunately, some butchering in the editing department kills this film, and what could have been a great film is merely good enough.With David Ayer behind the lens and the pen, it’s a bit surprising to see the film stick to a PG-13 rating (M equivalent here), with such a motley crew of dark characters, the edge is definitely dulled by the restrictive rating. It would be a dream to see a hard R for a film like this, but nevertheless, the cast still gets to shine in their respective parts.
It’s hard for Will Smith to not be Will Smith but his performance is more than fine as Deadshot. What’s perhaps best about the film is that it doesn’t really focus on one character as the leader. The final act really does use each character in pivotal moments, and it’s great that the best part of the final act doesn’t go to someone like Margot or Will but to Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo. Will Smith is given the most amount of screentime, but each character is allowed to shine (with the exception of Killer Croc and Katana, who don’t really have much of a presence).Perhaps the outstanding performance is Margot Robbie, who despite the overhype and oversaturation in marketing, absolutely kills it as Harley Quinn. She plays the psychopathic queen to the Joker so, so well, and every moment she gets on screen is a delight. She plays with the rest of the cast in ways that elevate the ensemble from good to great and is the glue that brings it all together. Jai Courtney also shines in what could be his first decent movie role as Captain Boomerang, hamming up the Australian accent to full comedic effect. Cara Delevingne rounds the cast as the Enchantress, and is clearly enjoying herself on screen, with some incredibly hammy dialogue and acting that’s too silly to not enjoy.
In terms of pacing and editing, this is where the film absolutely fails. The first act is over in an instant, not giving characters enough time to develop and introduce themselves. The escalation of the world event that leads to the Suicide Squad being deployed is so jarringly done that the transition from act 1 to act 2 feels completely out of touch. Scenes feel out of order at some points, and a lot of transitional dialogue is sacrificed for a character joke. Action scenes feel incredibly rushed and there is barely any breathing room. I feel this film could have used an extra 20 minutes not just to develop characters more, but just to allow some more natural breathing room and extended action scenes to really let them pop. It’s that poor of an editing job that it completely kills the pacing and tone of the film at some points, and it’s a damn shame that such a solid cast is brought down because of this. The last act, in particular, suffers from some major issues, as themes of teamwork and friendship are brought to a climax that don’t feel as earned as they should have due to the haphazard edit job that makes the first two acts feel so rushed.Jared Leto is solid as the Joker, but due to the inconsistent editing between scenes he causes an almost jarring presence within the film, and he is given no room to breathe and develop as a character. What’s left on screen is solid, and Leto is a fine actor, but there isn’t enough to judge his interpretation.
Suicide Squad holds up due to its well-written dialogue between characters and some very strong performances that turn these comic book misfits into people with actual depth, but the film is brought down by some very poor editing choices that completely kill the pacing and tone. What’s left is still a solid film, and despite its flaws, is very much the win that DC Films needed.