This is just another example of how a movie, based on a popular franchise with an established fan base, was made for fans but the finished product is what executives at Warner Brothers wanted: catering to the appeal of a mainstream audience. The end result? Taking mother’s famous chili recipe you loved since you were a child and trying not to complain to your wife when she wants to “improve” it requires biting your tongue. Is Suicide Squad a terrible movie? No. Is it enjoyable? Yes. Is it one of the better comic book movies ever made? No. Is it the type of movie you can take your children to see? Definitely no.
Warner Brothers, owners of the DC Comics property, clearly wants to mimic the financial success recent Marvel movies accomplished, especially with the record-breaking ticket sales for the first Avengers movie. The premise of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice sold a ton of tickets but anyone shelling out more than $5 for popcorn questioned whether they should have waited for the BluRay or DVD release. Early movie trailers for Suicide Squad promised a light-hearted romp of black comedy and loads of fun – something sorely lacking from the grim and slightly depressing mood of Batman vs. Superman. When critics and fans alike complained about B vs S, Warner Brothers quickly went into production for a number of revised scenes and additional sequences in an effort to eliminate some of the darker-toned scenes for Suicide Squad. The end result? A mix of both light-hearted scenes, villains who shed tears over lives of total strangers, and dark scenes generated by CGI graphics that will certainly look like a cartoon in a few years.
I read the Suicide Squad comics and they were never anything above average. But they had something to them. Whether it was Batman’s insistence to Amanda Waller to close down the program, or Captain Boomerang’s jovial lack of concern for his partners-in-crime, there was a charm to the series. The problem here is that I could not find any connection with the villains and felt a lack of concern when they were put into peril. Will Smith is clearly the shining white knight in bulletproof armor. I initially questioned why he chose to co-star in a movie that clearly had a cast that would outshine him… but I was wrong. The camera may have been focused on Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, but Smith came up on top.
Everyone was perfectly cast for their roles in Suicide Squad with Viola Davis as the tough-as-nails Amanda Waller and Jared Leto as The Joker chewing up all of their scenes. The story and subplot worked perfectly. But with so many flashbacks and introductions for the various villains I wondered if Warner Brothers was trying to rush things a bit… catching up with Marvel perhaps? If you are among the mainstream crowd who did not know who Amanda Waller was before watching the movie, she almost meant nothing and left the viewer only curious to know why the film was momentarily centered on her – twice – between action scenes.
The movie trailers sold the film. Ever hear someone say, “the trailer was better?” I had more fun and laughs watching the three minute trailers for this movie than watching the movie itself. A number of scenes in the trailers, however, never show up in the finished film. There is no scene with Harley Quinn holding her mallet when unpacking a trunk full of costumes and weaponry. The Joker never pulls the pin from a grenade using his mouth. The movie was clearly created with the fans in mind but the final cut provided more questions than answers. Why was Captain Boomerang carrying a stuffed pig in his jacket? Where did all that money in his jacket come from? Obviously there were scenes filmed that ended up on the cutting room floor. Franchise fatigue? Maybe. But it was disappointing when critics and fans alike complain about the darker tone of the prior Batman movie and regardless of filmed revisions there were scenes and sequences cut out that would have added more fun tot he mix. The criss-crossing of a “cinematic universe” will get old very quick if the studio fails to follow the ingredients, which requires preparation and time, and Warner Brothers would be wise to heed this advice: Marvel spent five years of post-credits sequences teasing of a future Avengers movie. Warner executives need to slow down. Their handiwork is labored and it shows.