Before I say anything else, I'll just say this: buy the album! Seriously, this movie has like the best mixtape of songs ever, it's so great!
Other than that....?? Yeah, this movie sucks.
Not to compare Marvel and DC too much with this, but just going by pure quality of filmmaking, Marvel wins. No, not all of their films are great, but oh my god, even when they're horrible (like Iron Man 2, Incredible Hulk, and Age of Ultron), there's at least some level where you can tell the people behind these movies care about what they're doing. Not so with DC; they've put people behind the camera with about as much passion for the product as Michael Bay has for his Transformers franchise.
In fact, comparing DC to Bay's Transformers feels more appropriate than comparing it to Marvel, because, as with every Transformers film, I go into each DCEU movie expecting something at least better than the last one, and I constantly get let down; the films are so bloated with mindless action, devoid of characters, and have some truly awful lines in them. It's worse here, though, because my expectations for DC are much higher than for Bay, because, well come on, for all that I love Transformers, there's only so much source material you can draw upon before realizing how not story-driven much of the franchise is. DC Comics has had some brilliant stories over the years, colorful characters, and great writing all around. But you wouldn't know any of that from the DCEU films they've released. Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman both were so dour and mind-numbingly dull, and that honestly worked to this film's credit: all Suicide Squad had to do was be not depressing. Did it succeed?
No. In fact, for all that BvS made me want to stand up and pop in Revenge of the Fallen if simply to just watch something shorter and more entertaining (yes, really), that movie at least had some good shots and entertaining action pieces. Squad ditches all of that in favor of jokes that don't land at all, a desire to have Guardians of the Galaxy-style camaraderie without ever establishing these people enjoy each other's company with one or two exceptions, and still be for some reason poorly lit and monochromatic in its color palette just as every other DCEU film, because I guess that's a "style" or "look" that they're going with now.
The biggest problem with this film is its structure and pacing. It's two hours; it feels like four. We start out with half-assed backstories for each of the main characters (except for two that inexplicably join the cast later on), and then go through no one, not two, but three fucking "round everyone up" scenes, each one re-introducing everyone in case we fell asleep. And the characters themselves, their backstories, and especially their interactions with each other are just so thin. We never get the sense that any of these people enjoy each other or are learning to work together as a team. Oh sure, plenty of characters say that this is a team and that they're "family" (oh my god), but we're given no indication of that on screen. The backstories for Harley Quinn and Deadshot are okay, though nothing outstanding, and everyone else remains vague and disjointed throughout the whole film. I kept asking myself what everyone was doing, objective-wise, for this mission. Why did the characters interact the way they did? Motivations shift and change seemingly at random, and not in any kind of appreciable way; all of it is in service of the plot which itself is so bare-bones and lifeless.
And it just makes the all-star cast decisions that much more painful to watch. Will Smith seems to pick shit movies as his go-to, but come on, man! You're better than this! And Margot Robbie, lord knows she tries to have fun in this. Her presence on screen is fine I guess, but her charisma is drowned in this sea of awful jokes, lines that just don't make sense, and behavior that is some of the most contrived, plot-driven stuff I've ever seen.
Thankfully, we don't have Jesse Eisenberg putting Jolly Ranchers in people's mouths this time; instead we have... the Enchantress and her brother I guess trying to take over the world... for some reason... yeah, if the goal was for us to want more Jesse Eisenberg, congrats, Squad, you've succeeded with this. The main villains of this movie are so one-note, I kept waiting for the actual threat to happen. But nope, these are our antagonists for the film. Oh, and Jarad Leto's Joker is in here too for like three scenes. Y'know, he's honestly not as bad as I'd thought he'd be. Oh, he's pretty terrible, but having him in small doses like this kinda helped keep his over acting and poor costuming to a minimum. And given how much other shit was in here, his badness was almost like a refreshing break from the worse bad going on.
The climactic fight is laughably unintelligible, cinematographically terrible in execution, and just not enjoyable. And the not enjoyable part can best sum up this movie. And when I can't even sit down and have fun with a movie, just be entertained, even on a brainless level, then that's when a movie's sunk even below my pretty lenient bullshit tolerance meter. All this needed to be was fun, and it couldn't even get that right. The DCEU is shaping up pretty terribly, I have to admit. And I don't think this is because we all go into these expecting something like Marvel. I don't want this to be like Marvel. If you want to do gritty and have a darker look and tone to your films, then do that. But don't abandon all filmmaking and storytelling techniques to do so. You don't get points for not being Marvel; you get points for being good. And good, I'm sorry to say, this is not.
Not gonna lie, I'm so worried for Wonder Woman now. But much like my reservations and expectations with each new Transformers film, I'm hoping that they can turn it around with the next one and just deliver something engaging.
Just for fun, a friend of mine poster her spoiler-free review of Suicide Squad on her tumblr page and it's pretty great! Check it out here! I added my own spoiler-filled list to her own, if you wanna check that out here, too.