Suicide Squad: Psychopaths, crocodiles, demigods, oh my

Photo courtesy of DC Entertainment/Warnor Bros Pictures

7 pinkys out of 10

“Suicide Squad” is a fun movie, it’s not the great movie that finally shows that Warner Bros. has figured out how to make great superhero movies. It does takes advantage of its strong cast and it does do a good job of giving them entertaining things to do but for all that, it’s really hamstrung by its borderline schizophrenic tone and pacing. The cause of which was entirely avoidable, but I’ll get back to that.

The film has a lot of stuff going for it, foremost of which is its cast. Margot Robbie has a lot of fun playing Harley Quinn and it really shows, with her being a treat to watch in nearly every scene. Additionally, Will Smith knocks his role as the assassin Deadshot out of the park. As with the majority of his roles, he’s playing a version of himself and that really works in “Suicide Squad.” His brand of comedy really fits the film and because of his excellent delivery, it feels very natural and allows him to still retain the gravity of an infamous assassin.

The big surprise of the film for me was Jai Courtney’s performance as the criminal captain Boomerang. The few roles I’ve seen him in haven’t given me much faith in his acting chops, but he really nailed his role as an absolute scumbag. Despite the relatively little attention he receives, he manages to stand out and create some of the funniest moments in the film, which is impressive considering his competition. It’s a hilarious side of Courtney that I’d really like to see more of in the future.

Now I couldn’t write this review without talking about Jared Leto’s Joker, and on large he’s sufficient in this cut of the film. He was marketed in trailers as having a much more central role which made his infrequent and peripheral presence somewhat of disappointment. But the performance itself is pretty good taken for what it is. He’s more crime boss then anarchist and he struck me as a little over sexualized, but that’s most likely just him reacting to the fact that his relationship with Harley Quinn is the centerpiece of his character in this film. However, it’s next to impossible to really talk about The Joker without addressing why “Suicide Squad” isn’t the great movie it could have been.

Excitement for “Suicide Squad” really began after it dropped its wildly successful trailer. Warner Bros. recognized that the trailer was the source of the explosion of interest in the film and decided to hire the man who edited the trailer to make his own cut of the film. Having two competing cuts of the film by itself would be disruptive, but Warner Bros. went so far as to reshoot a number scenes for the competing cut. Ultimately, it’s this disruption that probably led to the inconsistent tone and awkward pacing throughout the film. It even cost Leto the majority of his scenes in the film and, according to an anonymous leak on the internet, a number of other scenes that really helped flesh out the films characters. Hopefully we’ll eventually get a director’s cut of the “Suicide Squad” that gives us the film’s original vision. But as it stands, “Suicide Squad” just isn’t great.