Back when Suicide Squad was rushed into reshoots following the reaction to the initial trailer release, I remember talking myself into the opinion that filming new content could only be a good thing even though most feared for the worst. After all, video game release dates get pushed all the time to allow for more development, so by all means take all the time necessary to make Suicide Squad a great film. No really, take some time. Take this movie back, work on it some more, and then get back to us. Because this thing needs some work.
For those who don’t know, the Suicide Squad is a task force made up of a handful of captured villains whose lives now belong to a secret government agency. Technically a volunteer group, these expendable and reluctant heroes can earn certain rewards to make their time in prison a little more bearable, but boy do they have to work for it by going on extremely dangerous missions. For obvious reasons, the team members are constantly changing.
With a listing of flashy and eye catching lineup cards, the members of this version of the Suicide Squad are introduced to the audience, quickly revealing who is the most important based on the time dedicated to each character’s breakdown. The Joker tops the list even though he isn’t even a member of the Squad, because obviously this movie needs the Joker. You’d think Harley Quinn would be good enough considering her fan base, but who cares about her charisma and draw as a psychologically broken and skillfully violent comparison to Deadpool when what matters most is her status as Joker’s girlfriend? Well I hate to break it to you, Suicide Squad, but your Joker sucks. You should’ve stopped throwing him at us at every opportunity and let Harley stand on her own.
Margot Robbie and Harley’s trailer moments did their best to make her the loveable character she is, but it is actually Deadshot who comes to the front of the group as the best part of this movie. Between Will Smith’s charisma and the daughter he left behind that makes him far more sympathetic than the rest, he’s easily the most developed character of the group.
In comparison to these two, the rest of the team feels like an afterthought. Boomerang proves that a lot of time dedicated to character development isn’t necessary to make someone interesting, yet the movie really fails the rest of the cast. On one side of the spectrum you have someone like Cannon Fodder (that’s not actually his name, but it might as well be considering he wasn’t even important enough to get his own title card during the introductions) and Killer Croc who mostly just fills screen space when he isn’t competing with the robotic twins of the recent Transformers movies as most uncomfortably racist, whereas on the other side there is someone like Enchantress who is slave to the plot as she fills random roles as they come up.
With a story that feels like it was formed over an hour of round-robin, one has to wonder if a bunch of team building scenes somehow managed to get edited out of the final film. El Diablo sure seems to think more happened between the group than actually did considering a laughably surprising line at the climax of the film, and I can’t help but wish that someone had realized that the most interesting part of the Suicide Squad is the Squad itself. This is a group of villains, for crying out loud, yet there is no real infighting or butting of heads within their ranks. I want to see the personalities of the villains clash, then maybe the eventual comradery would feel earned. A montage of team building exercises might not have fixed this, as the movie chooses instead just to throw everyone together on this first big mission, but as it stands what we get is some rather uninteresting relationship building that leads to a rather awkward and undeserved ending that made it feel as if some important scenes were missing.
As much as I kept my hopes alive for this movie to be something special, Suicide Squad is the disappointing film we all feared all those months ago. DC fails again.