Warner Brothers hopes to right their DC ship with “Suicide Squad”

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There’s an awful lot riding on Suicide Squad for Warner Brothers and their DC cinematic universe. They really need not just a financial hit, but a cultural one too, after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was considered a downgrade from Man of Steel. Besides this, only Wonder Woman has a chance to right the ship before Justice League basically makes or breaks their superhero efforts. This week, they finally release Suicide Squad out into the world, riding a wave of tremendous advertising for the film. I have no doubt that it’s going to be a hit, but I’m sadly here to report that it’s not going to change the quality conversation. This movie is terrible, through and through.

The film is, in some ways, a sequel to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in that it takes place after the events of that flick. Government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) has been pushing to institute a program centered around bad guys being made to do good things, and between Superman’s arrival/demise and the state of the world, she finally gets her chance. Released from prison/given time off their sentences are Headshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Slipknot (Adam Beach), and Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). Placed under the command of Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and his samurai Katana (Karen Fukuhara), they set out to begrudgingly save the world. I’m vague on what happens on purpose, but mixed in is The Joker (Jared Leto) and his attempts to reunite with Harley. David Ayer writes and directs, with the rest of the cast including Ike Barinholtz, Common, Scott Eastwood, David Harbour, and some cameos you’ll recognize.

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There’s really no other way to put this…I hated Suicide Squad. In my humble opinion, it’s a terrible movie, almost ineptly done at every turn. Robbie is pretty much the lone bright spot, with the rest of the cast essentially wasted. The direction is muddled, the script often makes no sense, and it’s stuck between a grim outing and an oddly humorous one, with neither element working. It shows all the signs of Ayer being compromised by studio interference, but I’m not even sure if he would have done much better without WB getting involved. The rush to meet a release date is heavily felt. I loved his other work like End of Watch, but this was horrible.

Forget about awards for this one, what’s more troubling is that it shows everything that’s wrong with micromanaging a blockbuster. The interference, the lack of a reason to tell this story, and the bungling of characters, it’s all just further symptoms of a disease going through Hollywood this summer. I went into this film hoping to love it, but instead, I wound up loathing it, and it gives me no pleasure to say so. This could have been the next irreverent comic book hit, like Deadpool or Guardians of the Galaxy, but instead it’s closer to the low marks set by disasters like the Fantastic Four reboot and Green Lantern. Yikes.

Overall, this weekend, audiences can see Suicide Squad for themselves and make up their own mind. Of course, I don’t recommend bothering, but I know most of you will flock to it anyway. I was just as excited as everyone else up until my screening on Tuesday (just look at my piece earlier this week on August titles to anticipate…it was my number two), but that all went to hell. For me, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and especially Man of Steel are far superior. This just wasn’t up to snuff, and it’s genuinely bothersome that it was this poorly done. Alas…

Suicide Squad is in theaters everywhere this Friday!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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