Film three on our journey to Snyder’s Justice League and we find ourselves at the weakest film in the DCEU.
At least, in my opinion. I did not like this film much when I saw it in theaters. And overall, I still feel roughly the same about this film as I did the first time I watched it. It works, but only in fits and spurts. There are some very good moments. But then there are moments that feel really disconnected and disjointed. The film doesn’t seem to have much of a focus either, giving us a scattershot group lead instead of honing in on one particular individual. The “romance” between Harley Quinn and Joker could have been really interesting, but it’s sidelined for Deadshot’s story. Which is sidelined for Amanda Waller’s story. Which is then sidelined for Enchantresses’ story. See the problem?
When this film works, it really works. Mostly everyone involved is very good in their respective roles. The idea of using super criminals to combat problems in a world without Superman is a fun (and dark) way of bringing the Suicide Squad into the DCEU. Will Smith and Margo Robbie are great. Killer Croc looks fantastic while El Diablo has the most heart. Viola Davis is THE Amanda Waller. At this point, I can’t see anyone else playing her. Oh, and Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang is still my favorite character and is criminally underused. He adds the perfect amount of insanity to the mix. There are also scenes that work really well. Deadshot’s introduction and confrontation with Batman is great. Amanda Waller’s rescue scene is chilling. And the bar scene in particular is fantastic! It’s probably the best scene in the movie. The action is also solid for the most part and exciting. El Diablo’s showdown is thrilling and I wish we could have seen more of him in that form. So there is a lot here to like overall.
But other things didn’t hold up so well. And when they don’t work, it’s really obvious. Joel Kinnaman doesn’t give a great performance as Rick Flag. He’s quite stiff at times, and I don’t buy his romance with June Moon (Enchantress) for a second. I also did not like Leto’s Joker performance as much this time around. They have seemingly removed this dog’s teeth. Now he is all bark, and frankly, his bark sounds a lot like Heath Ledger’s. Apparently there are deleted scenes with him licking a torture victim, and doing all kinds of disturbing and weird things. Finding the extra footage might help give him his edge back. Might. Enchantress is also one of the most cookie cutter villains in any modern superhero film. She literally has no motivation, just appears and starts doing things claiming revenge. I have no idea about her history or power set, she can just do… things. Give me some more scenes in the beginning with her please, because what they had was not nearly enough. And what’s up with her dance thing she does when casting magic? It looks really dumb. Just stand still!
And HOLY CRAP STOP IT WITH THE MUSIC VIDEO SHIT! This film can’t go 10 minutes without putting some dumb modern pop song in and it seriously kills it for me. I have a feeling several moments we saw in montage were actually intended to be full scenes. In fact, it turns out that instead of using a real editor, the studio hired the company that edited the trailer to edit the film itself. No wonder!
Bad moments happen fairly often, resulting in unintentional laughter. This includes a “reveal” near the end that is completely unnecessary. There are also a ton of awkward moments and weird bits which I can only assume come from trying to splice together two competing versions of the same movie. It’s almost like this film is fighting itself to be competent. The good moments are very good. But they’re overshadowed by the awkward and bad moments, resulting in a film that may not be completely terrible, but is 110% mediocre.
So yeah, I’d be very curious to see what Ayer’s original version would be like since I do enjoy a lot of the characters and performances. I have a feeling it might feel less disjointed. And the flow might work better. That would help tremendously. It might also get rid of the awkward editing moments. According to the wiki, several plot points were also slightly altered which would also help things.