Earlier this year, Batman v Superman was released to scolding review after scolding review. Critics thought it was bloated, poorly structured, and any number of things not affiliated with a quality film. One thing they all gave it a pass on however were the action sequences. Say what you will about Zack Snyder, the man knows how to make a decent action set-piece.
In August, the theatrical cut of Suicide Squad hit the web, and amazingly enough it got worse reviews than its DCEU predecessor. This week the extended cut was released on DVD. While the extended cut for Batman v Superman gave some hope to a few people, its doubtful the same will be said for this version.
Now, let it be said that this review is written by someone who has not seen the theatrical cut. So the verdict is purely based on the quality of the film on offer, not how it compares to the alternate cut. There’s also a slight spoiler regarding the final showdown of the film, so consider yourself warned.
The plot of this film is deceptively simplistic. It’s a group of villains recruited to a covert government task-force to save the world from vicious attacks by metahumans. Think of it as the comic book version of The Magnificent Seven, if Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner had been outlaws. With such a simple plot, it’s disappointing to see how complex writer/director David Ayer decided to make it. It’s like he intentionally made it more confusing just to make it seem like a more appealing concept. Unfortunately, the end result is a rather dull mess with dreary colors, weak dialogue, and poor character developments.
The main flaw actually stems from the opening of the film. During the opening we’re introduced to our merry team of outlaws through a series of cutscenes, put to popular songs and colorful graphics. The problem with this sort of introduction is that it’s completely unnatural for a serious action flick to introduce their characters this way. So when the rest of the film is relatively serious, it takes you out the movie to have character backstories conveyed this way. It would’ve been better to start the film with their main mission, and then just fill in the character backdrops as you go. It would’ve given the flick a much more organic feel. The film continues to rely on poorly timed flash-backs throughout the film, which constantly stops any momentum it may have generated at that stage.
Beyond that, there’s a lot of things that just end up feeling out of place or extraneous to the plot. The love story between Rick Flagg and Enchantress/June Moone is a prime example of this. Jared Leto’s Joker is another. Despite sounding like a mixture of Jim Carrey and Jack Nicholson, he does a good job conveying the clown prince of crime. However, his character is never given anything interesting to do. He’s simply there to give Harley Quinn a backstory, which is a shameful waste of such an interesting character. For a action flick with a 175 million dollar budget, there’s also frightfully few memorable action sequences. There’s mainly shoot-outs and hand to hand combat, with some CGI destruction coming from a character that looks like The Destroyer from Thor.
On top of all that, the villain is also completely forgettable. The dynamic between Enchantress’ villainous side and June Moone’s good side is never explored enough to actually make you care about either one. It’s also disappointing that the film commits the same flaw as last year’s Fantastic Four, in that it has a powerful villain capable of killing her victims in seconds still partake in fist-fights with our heroes to give them a fighting chance. It ruins any tension the final showdown might’ve had, which also adds to just how forgettable a villain Enchantress ends up being.
Overall, this movie should’ve been better. It has a fun concept, a host of talented people to play with, and a writer/director capable of making amazing films. That makes it all the more disappointing that what you ended up with is just mediocre. It’s not awful, or a trainwreck. It’s certainly watchable. It’s just a lot duller than you ever thought a movie about villains could possibly be.