It’s no secret that today’s entertainment world is ruled by comic-book-to-movie adaptations starring many of the biggest names in Hollywood. Expectations for perfect comic book movies grow larger every year, and they’re even higher for ensemble movies thanks to 2012’s The Avengers and 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. So two years ago, when DC Comics announced they were producing a live action movie based on the wildly popular comic book series, Suicide Squad, the stakes were extremely high.
Suicide Squad is the third film in what is known as the “DC Extended Universe” or “DCEU,” a series of interconnecting movies based on DC Comics characters like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Both of Suicide Squad’s predecessors were met with lukewarm reviews from audiences and critics alike, but I thought Suicide Squad could turn things around for the DCEU.
Suicide Squad tells the story of Amanda Waller, a U.S. government agent trying to put together a black ops team of super-criminals known as Task Force X. She recruits Harley Quinn, best-known as the Joker’s on-again-off-again girlfriend, Deadshot, a master assassin, the ancient sorceress Enchantress, who inhabits the body of an archaeologist, human/crocodile hybrid Killer Croc, a former crime lord with the ability to produce and control fire known as “El Diablo”, Captain Boomerang, an Australian diamond thief, and straight-laced soldier Rick Flag to babysit the villainous bunch.
The squad is told that participating in their high-risk missions will shorten their prison sentences. However, if they don’t cooperate, Amanda will blow the nano chips implanted in their necks at the first sign of insubordination. But before the squad can even form, Enchantress takes over Midway City and begins wreaking havoc. She sends the ragtag team of baddies on a mission to extract a mysterious asset in the city where over the top personalities clash.
Enchantress’ whole “mythical being takes over the city” story has been done countless times, but never quite so mediocrely. The other major story, the squad’s rescue mission, was constantly interrupted by unnecessary backstories that attempted to humanize the villains. The Harley/Joker subplot was by far the most entertaining part of the film. Jared Leto’s 21st century gangster version of the Joker was freaky, fun and unpredictable. Margot Robbie was electric as the “Clown Princess” of Gotham City despite an indistinguishable accent. While Suicide Squad had some exhilarating action sequences, it was just another sloppy, flat, and confusing entry in what I believe to be the messiest movie franchise of all time.