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Suicide Squad

“A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would have received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality though.” These were director Josh Trank’s words referring to his Fantastic Four reboot, and how the studio involvement supposedly ruined the entire film. Studios like to hire good directors, but then they expect to have an incredible freedom to vet every creative decision. This is obviously counter-intuitive; you can’t expect a creative mind to surrender to marketing strategies, it has never and will never work that way. Unfortunately, this seems to be the problem with Suicide Squad, where director David Ayer (Fury) and Warner Brothers clashed with their different tones and visions.

Suicide Squad continues Warner Brother’s pilgrimage to catch up with Marvel’s cinematic universe. We pick off where Batman v. Superman (the previous installment of the DC Universe) left off; Superman is supposedly gone and the dust of that battle begins to settle. Ruthless government official Amanda Waller (played by a brilliant Viola Davis) wants to form a government-controlled taskforce of reined super villains to control any future situations. Her team includes the hitman Deadshot (Will Smith), the deadly Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the pyrotechnic Diablo (Jay Hernandez), the sly Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and the reptilian Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). In order to keep them under her thumb, Waller imbeds micro bombs into their necks. The squad’s first mission is to take down an ancient goddess possessing an archeologist (Cara Delevigne).

The same problem as with Batman v. Superman surfaced, where the film had an urgency to cram as many characters and backstories as it could to catch up to Marvel. But the difference is that Marvel has had twelve films spaced out over eight years to develop characters and a universe; DC’s plan is to catch up as soon as possible with three films in three years, two of which came out this year. What I don’t get is why they want to catch up? Why don’t they just take their time with their content, and pace themselves; when has anything rushed turned out well?

But the specific problem with Suicide Squad was the structure and editing. David Ayer supposedly came with his own script and the studio gave him a go ahead. Ayer infused his flavor in the film and it can be seen intermittently throughout the film (especially with his choices for the soundtrack). But somewhere along the way, the studio panicked, it forced rewrites, reshoots, and even changed the film’s editor six times. This chaos behind the scenes is seen on screen with the way the scenes were stringed together, some sequences seem to be accidentally dropped in the chronology.

But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t things that worked in Suicide Squad. One of the biggest wins was the cast. Will Smith and Margot Robbie (objectified as with all the other young women in the film) command most of the screen time even if their dialogue is a bit two-dimensional. Viola Davis is also incredibly commanding, and she’s one of the highlights of the film. Then we have the highly anticipated Joker, who is played by Jared Leto taking the reins from the late Heath Ledger. Leto is certainly captivating as the Joker, but unfortunately he has too little screen time to make a significant impact, so we’re left wanting more from him.

However, the positives don’t root out the great flaws in the film. I think that if the studio would have let Ayer craft his own vision of the film freely, we would have gotten something more along the lines of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 1, but instead we got a messy fusion of two different movies. The star cast and the shackled director can only do so much to make Suicide Squad worthwhile.



About Young Critic

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I've been writing on different version of this website since February of 2013. I originally founded the website in a film-buff phase in high school, but it has since continued through college and into my adult life. Young Critic may be getting older, but the love and passion for film is forever young. 

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