“Suicide Squad” (PG-13) 2 stars (out of four)
Blah is the operative word for “Suicide Squad,” an anti-hero film in the superhero genre that was meant to pull DC Comics out of its cinematic doldrums following the tepid response to “Batman v Superman.”
Not so much bad as it is disappointing, “Suicide Squad” – which assembles DC’s baddest of its stable of villains – starts off with a bang as it creatively introduces each member of the squad that the U.S. government recruits to keep the country safe from meta humans that want to do them harm. From there, the film sadly devolves into the formulaic stuff we’ve seen in countless times in the genre.
Writer-director David Ayer has good intentions as he clearly tries to go with the R-rated vibe that made Marvel bad boy “Deadpool” a massive hit earlier this year.
The difference is, the subversive anti-hero was given free rein to trounce the landscape with his F-bomb-laced dialogue and ultra violence, while “Suicide Squad” remains confined to the limiting PG-13 rating.
As a result, the Suicide Squad, including Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Deadshot (Will Smith) and their band of maniacal misfits are left to operate in a familiar environment against one of the weakest supervillians in superhero movie memory.
The person who plays the villain — who will remain unnamed to avoid any spoilers — simply does not have the acting chops or presence to make the ultimate throwdown memorable enough. In fact, the performance is so silly at times that it may qualify the person for a Razzie nomination come year’s end.
Lost in shuffle is The Joker (Jared Leto), whose turn as the Clown Prince of Gotham is supporting at best. Spending most of the movie trying to spring his girlfriend and partner-in-crime Harley Quinn loose, The Joker’s time would have been much better served as the supervillain the Suicide Squad ran up against instead of a thorn in their side.
Leto gives it his best with a combo Heath Ledger-Jack Nicholson read of the iconic character (with more of an emphasis on Nicholson), but in the end falls far short on both accounts. He’s good, but doesn’t nearly live up to the hype of the months-long publicity of his take on the iconic character leading up to the release of the film.
Thankfully, Viola Davis, who plays the head of the secret government organization who assembles the Suicide Squad, and Robbie, who is clearly having a blast playing Harley Quinn, pick up the slack to combat some of the weaknesses. Still, it’s just not enough to save the movie.
All told, “Suicide Squad” will go down as one of the biggest letdowns of 2016.
Hear Tim’s review of “Suicide Squad” with Tom Barnard and the “KQ92 Morning Show,” beginning at 10 minutes in.