Suicide Squad (2016)
Suicide Squad (2016)

Genre: Superhero Running Time: 2 hrs. 3 min.

Release Date: August 5th, 2016 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: David Ayer Actors: Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, Cara Delevingne, Jay Hernandez, Jai Courtney, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Karen Fukuhara, David Harbour




n a “black site” buried amidst the swamps of Louisiana, the worst of the worst of criminals and evildoers are locked away. This collection of psychopaths are so murderous and irredeemable that – of course – they must surely possess the moral righteousness to work together as a team to stop extraterrestrial terrorists and save the day. Song after song (everything from Grace to Eminem) plays out to introduce each role, though the statistics that dance onscreen aren’t enough to build a worthwhile backstory. The audience is later subjected to numerous flashbacks to fill in more details (all of which only makes the personas less believable and relatable), as well as that cardinal sin of editing: the flashback to a scene witnessed earlier in the movie. The group of uncontrollable killers consists of Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Deadshot (Will Smith), Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), each possessing a special skill or a super power – or just martial arts training or great strength.

The editing – something along the lines of a music video – is part of what makes this whole adventure so dull. Countless scenes drop off as if excised not for time constraints but for disagreeable content; poses are struck and slow-motion is abused; and sequences build up to punchlines that fizzle out completely or escalate into a chaos of lights and sounds and CG frill. Writer/director David Ayer seems to have crafted a hard R-rated picture, only to have all of the edgier seconds ripped away, leaving unintelligible segues and a sense of goofiness to replace sincerity. “Suicide Squad” isn’t nearly as serious as it needed to be, especially if viewers are meant to witness the acts of these crazies in awe; it’s mostly cliched dialogue, meager insults, and action that is too obscured by computer-animated monstrosities.

“The world changed when Superman flew across the sky,” insists Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), the human ringleader of the covert assignment – and a reminder that in any superhero movie, the U.S. government is usually the first to pose a threat. Perhaps the worst part of it all is the design of the antagonists, which defies description – and certainly defies definition from the film itself. Meta-human witches and otherworldly entities just don’t fit into the universe of Batman; if there was anything even remotely realistic about a caped crimefighter and his maniacal archenemy, this take on the Dark Knight turns everything into over-the-top superpowers duking it out with supernatural gods. The threat of death and the struggle to accomplish a mission hold no weight when magic can be used to do anything – and when characters can die and reappear without any explanations.

It’s baffling that this movie struggled with its storyline to such a distressing degree. It should have been the simple formula of “Con Air” or “The Dirty Dozen” with Batman’s villains. But it wasn’t enough just to build an A-Team (or an Expendables battery) of baddies (dubbed Task Force X); the film also had to include a love story with the Joker (Jared Leto), a love story between the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) and military man Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), a blackmail scheme, a motivational explosive device implanted in the unwilling draftees’ necks (stolen from “Escape from New York”), and a subplot to summon the soul of the Enchantress’ dead brother. There are so many unnecessary asides and utterly pointless characters that some are debuted to fulfill a single idea – such as Adam Beach’s Slipknot, who doesn’t even get to demonstrate his forte, and Karen Fukuhara’s Katana, who arrives just as the squad is deployed, dispensing with having to appear previously in a sensible introduction. Plus, it’s never explained why the government can’t simply recruit dependable meta-humans like Superman; there can’t be solely evil superheroes running about.

Even though the structuring of the film is obnoxious, the character designs and origins are ridiculous, and the finale is so nonsensical that it proves that everything transpiring beforehand is of zero consequence, Margot Robbie is spot-on as Harley Quinn. It’s impossible to imagine a better live-action representation for the role; she looks the part, acts the part, and speaks in one-liners with that catty, cavalier, coquettish demonstration of bipolarity and derangement so authentic to the source material. She’s good enough to have received her own movie. Sadly, everything else about “Suicide Squad” is so pitiful that her stunning embodiment is likely to be dragged down by the rest of the inferiority.

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10

The DC Extended Universe

Man of Steel (2013)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Suicide Squad (2016)

Wonder Woman (2017)

Justice League (2017)

Aquaman (2018)

Shazam! (2019)

Birds of Prey (2020)

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

The Suicide Squad (2021)

Black Adam (2022)

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

The Flash (2023)

Blue Beetle (2023)

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023)