director: David Ayer
writers: David Ayer
starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie and Viola Davis
genre: Action | Comics
released: 4 August 2016 (Australia), 5 August 2016 (USA), 18 August 2016 (Germany), 25 August 2016 (Greece)
The intentions behind the creation and release of this film weren't pure and the results show it. What could have been DC's 'Guardians of the Galaxy', but with a much darker tone ends up being a semi-dark, anti-hero film where the focus isn't there, characters and events are just shoehorned for marketing purposes and it's painfully obvious the efforts made by the production to be cool failed miserably and deservedly so.
After the death of Superman, the U.S. government agency A.R.G.U.S. decides that they need to be ready for the next big threat and that a team of the most dangerous criminals and meta-humans are the perfect solution for it. However, as expected when a team complied of deadly psychopaths come together, one might just become that next big threat. Setting in motion the most unlikely team to save the day.
After the terrible reviews and potentially bad box office this film will have, DC Comics, Warner Bros and fans will naturally be inclined to believe and feel that they have been targeted. That there is a possible bias towards Marvel films and that no one is enjoying the darker DC flavor compared to Marvel because they are not opened minded. If they feel that way (like we already know some do), then its a shame as they are clearly not seeing what are some of the underlying problems with their films and what they can do to solve them.
One of the problems with their films is of them not knowing where to establish a darker tone for their properties or not. As no one has an issue with having darker or more explicit superhero properties (think Deadpool, The Dark Knight, Marvel Netflix shows), however they have to fit to their characters and story and be marketed to the correct target audience. The issue that 'BvS' had was that it worked for the film but not for the character of Superman (that and more). Here the problem is that the film needed to be dark, but not cool. What I mean by that is that after the failure of 'BvS' and the first trailer of 'Suicide Squad'. Rumors spread about how 'Suicide Squad' was too dark and that re-shoots were needed (that eventually happened) and that it also needed to be more like 'Guardians of a Galaxy'. Now by how much this is true we do not know, but we do know is that the effort to make this film cool and hip to audiences are far too obvious and it just made the film into a much worse experience. From each character introduction having big bold letters and skill lists as if it was a comic book (these gimmicks don't work always on the big screen), to each scene or character reveal/moment being accompanied by a well known rock song and old songs that feel similar to 'Guardians of the Galaxy', not to mention pop or rap songs that just were far too many and out of place (Eminem song), while also the beginning of the film being too fast cut to the point where you couldn't focus on the main characters or what the film was going to be about.
Furthermore, another issue is the DC shoehorning condition. 'BvS' had this with thinking they needed to make 'Man of Steel 2' into a Batman film and throw Wonder Woman into the mix just to make a 'Justice League' film further down the road. Here they thought that 'Suicide Squad', a comic book of b-characters from the DC comics couldn't stand on its own and needed more than anything else the presence of Batman and of the Joker. On the other hand Marvel Comics with 'Guardians of the Galaxy' didn't shoehorn 'Iron Man' or 'Thor' into it, because they knew if that film didn't work on its own than what is the point of making it. And that's the issue with this film, it actually could have worked on its own but it was too busy showcasing a less than dazzling Joker incarnation that just isn't what anybody wanted and Batman popping in during the beginning of the film without ever being truly needed either.
Where the film actually felt as if it was an actual fully fledged film with characters interacting with each other and talking about their issues and what they want to accomplish or what they had lost is during the bar scene which is almost 3/4 into the film. And once you get there the feeling you have is why couldn't we've had more of that and why did we waste our time with badly edited and directed introductory scenes. Where for example Deadshot is fighting Batman and the music cues from serious to action packed even though the scene was supposed to be of a dramatic significance and then the origin of Harley which is just peculiar and tossed in almost as if it was an afterthought. Not to mention how all the other characters in the film are kind of forgotten of at times and you desperately are asking the question: how come the Joker couldn't have been kept as a surprise for the end, also why couldn't the film actually be about the Suicide Squad from the very beginning and why wasn't it as dark as it should have been? Yes they are instances such as when Diablo tells his nasty origin, but there could have been more to it than that scene alone. Sadly, this was DC's opportunity to show they are different and they should have owned up to it. Instead they just showed that Marvel can produce better films, create an overall game plan and stick to it. While also further enhancing and pushing forward unknown characters of the comics to the mainstream in the right way.
This film's entire failure has to be attributed to studio melding, an overall lack of planning and understanding that small time characters can work on their own. Showing that there was a clash of ideas, a fear of the unknown and angst that they wouldn't make enough money at the box office and that their investment wouldn't payoff. That's why you have a Joker that isn't fun, pleasant or fearful. As what makes the Joker great is not only his appearance, manner of behavior but also what he stands for. And I'm not going to just compare Leto's performance with Ledger, because there was enough on paper for Ledger to move forward with and create a Joker incarnation that was magnificent. While also that production in specific didn't have studio melding and actually also gave plenty of time for the Joker character to thrive. Leto's Joker on the other hand is gangster rap version of a beloved character that barely has any dialogue and is just eye candy and bad eye candy at that. A character that was so wasteful that better and more interesting characters from the Suicide Squad had to be pushed aside.
Additionally, its funny but I think no one is going to mention the main villain in this film, due to the disappointing box office, reviews and Joker/Batman involvement. Which is unfortunate as the villain makes complete sense to the plot of the film and having the villain be a voodoo extraterrestrial dimension demon, was kind of cool. Not a lot of attention was put on her till the end of the film and it seems that this was a mistake in hindsight. As her powers of manipulating reality and people's wishes was one of the most interesting parts of the film. Bringing to light the true wishes these characters have and also perhaps bringing them against each other. However, that part never happened.
DC Films are now wasting one opportunity after another and should be careful. Fans may be willing to fork out their money for anything they may release, but general audiences won't be always as eager. This should have been a niche adult film such as 'Deadpool' and been allowed the chance to be something on its own without the Joker, Batman or even Zack Snyder.