Written by Ryan Hollen
Sadly, summer is coming to an end. Fall is right around the corner and that means the Summer movie season is also reaching it’ conclusion. A lot can be said about this year's Summer movie season and to be honest, the first word that comes to mind is “sluggish”. Most of this year's big releases have been less than stellar. “Meh” is a word I’ve seen many critics use and I have to agree. It’s been a lackluster movie season that is usually the highlight of the calendar year. But is there still hope? The last big release of the season is DC’s “Suicide Squad” and no movie this summer comes in with more hype. Coming off the heels of a very divisive “Batman V Superman” fan and critical reception, “Suicide Squad” has a lot riding on it. There is no way DC can wet the bed again, can they?
Well - yes and no. Suicide Squad isn’t a trainwreck. But, to be fair, it’s not a well-made film either. It can even be argued that the first two acts of “Suicide Squad” is a good, hinging on great, film. It’s fun, often times funny, and the action is pretty stellar. But as so many major studio blockbusters have done recently - the whole thing falls apart in the third act. It becomes nothing more than run-of-the-mill, dumb action movie. Not only that but besides maybe two or three stand-out performances, the rest of the cast is left with little to chew on. Oh and The Joker? Yeah, lower your expectations.
Starting with the good, Margot Robbie absolutely smashes it as Harley Quinn. This is her movie through and through. Long time fans of the beloved character will be rejoicing because she embodied the character in every way. Her voice, her mannerisms, and each line is perfection. Those who aren’t a fan of the new look, no worries. Her iconic costume makes a brief appearance in a nice little surprise. Will Smith is also a delight. If you ever needed a reminder of why Will Smith was once the biggest movie star in the world, this is it. His charisma is off the charts. He also doesn’t over-step or outshine anyone. He lets the others do their thing while also delivering the second best performance of the movie.
The music of the film is also a highlight. It can sometimes feel like a “best of” playlist and the movie in some scenes tends to play out like a music video but the songs become their own character. They highlight the characteristics of each member of the group in a unique way. The music substitutes for a traditional score and the risk pays off.
But that is where the praise must end. As previously mentioned, the first half of the movie is honestly pretty entertaining and the second half becomes by-the-numbers in every sense. The plot and villain suffer from pure laziness. It was recently reported by The Hollywood Reporter that director David Ayer wrote the script in 6 weeks and it showed. Can anyone explain the recent string of movies featuring a giant beam of light shooting into the sky? No? Damn. “Suicide Squad” also features some of the worst dialogue ever featured in a Superhero movie. The movie’s dialogue is so hit-and-miss that it becomes jarring in a sense because you never know what to expect.
Maybe the most anticipated aspect of the movie was Jared Leto’s portrayal of The Joker. It’s been eight years since Heath Ledger’s iconic take on the role and early set photos of Leto’s take on the role were met with overwhelming negativity. Those upset with the early pictures will probably not like what they see. Leto’s Joker is as far different from the comics than you can get. This Joker hangs out in nightclubs, hangs with famous rappers, and listens of Rick Ross. I didn’t hate The Joker but it was indeed a bit weird to see such a drastic change. The sample size is way to small to form a real opinion as Joke is in maybe five scenes in the movie.
Overall, “Suicide Squad” continues the mediocre 2016 Summer movie season. But, there is some fun to be had. Watching Margot Robbie deliver a spot on Harley Quinn was worth the ticket alone. The movie isn’t nearly as bad as some of said but it's also not good either.
Verdict: “Suicide Squad” is saved the performances of Will Smith and Margot Robbie who manage to overcome a lazy script and a third act drop off.
Grade: 3 / 5