Movie theatres have been over-saturated with comic book adaptations, and audiences have been spoiled. “Spoiled” in two ways: studios want to give movie goers more bang for their buck, but by now, just about everyone is burnt out on these action/adventures. Part of the reason Marvel’s Deadpool was such a success is because it wasn’t afraid to make fun of itself and reinvent the formula – people appreciated that breath of fresh air.
I suppose the much anticipated Suicide Squad was perceived as DC Comics’ Deadpool or Guardians of the Galaxy – introducing subversive humour and machismo in a grim universe. However, entering a film with preconceived notions of what a movie is “supposed” to resemble is why audiences usually walk away disappointed. It’s an unfair cycle: movie goers and film critics impose their “perfect vision” onto a filmmaker (in this case David Ayer) and then bash the work if it doesn’t meet their individual standards. Sometimes a genre flick is just a genre flick. All we, the moviegoing public, can do is stand back, make suggestions, and hope filmmakers absorb the criticism and interpret it correctly.
Suicide Squad is simple movie. It’s basically a common “save the world” plot within a routine Will Smith-helmed Summer blockbuster with basic dynamics. However, simplicity can be acceptable if a movie offers its viewers some different variables. The gritty fight scenes have a twisted brand of pep – complimented with strong CGI – and the banter between this motley crew of anti-heroes stays consistently interesting (especially during a surprisingly long, cathartic hang-out in a bar). But, the strongest details of Ayer’s popcorn flick easily fall in favour of the performers. Smith continues to prove he has the star power and charisma to lead an ensemble, while other cast members (including Margot Robbie, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jay Hernandez, Jared Leto, and Jai Courtney) stand firmly with their own memorable mannerisms.
It takes a while for Suicide Squad to find its groove and, unfortunately, audiences feel the strife. As if taking cues from fan reactions of the promotional material, Suicide Squad almost overdoses on its neon-flavoured style and random music choices. Exposition is also sloppily handled through flashbacks, awkward cuts, heavy visual filters, and unnecessary cameos with some bit-players receiving thin development. If this was a way of hyping the film’s inevitable director’s cut, that’s tricky and unkind to the paying public. However, by the time Suicide Squad became a quick-footed mindless ensemble action flick, I was consistently entertained. The film was far from impressive, but I was satisfied by the end credits.
We’re all waiting to be blown away by a movie, but if we hold those high expectations, filmmakers will keep on coming up short. In the case of Suicide Squad, it’s best to go in open-minded – wanting to be generally entertained. If you enter the theatre with that mindset, you’re allowed to find flaws but you’ll also have optimism towards finding the silver lining.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie