#1 movie, weekend of 8/5-8/7/16
Given how much people on Twitter mocked and criticized this movie, I actually thought it might flop and I wouldn’t end up having to see it, so its success was a nice reminder that Twitter buzz (or, at least, the opinions of the people I follow) has no bearing on what happens in the real world. Now that I have seen the movie, though, I’m not sure why everyone seems to hate it so much.
Don’t get me wrong, it is dumb and a mess. Like Star Trek Beyond, it lets its fidelity to the source material undermine its storytelling by overstuffing the narrative with more characters than the film can satisfyingly service. Jared Leto’s Joker, besides just being an obvious imitation of Heath Ledger, is somehow both underused and overemphasized given how unimportant he ultimately is to the story (which, if you’ve missed the marketing, is about a team of supervillains assembled to fight a more evil supervillain who is pretty generically destroying Gotham City). And the soundtrack shuffles frantically through chopped-up edits of the world’s most cliched musical cues, from “Fortunate Son” to “Seven Nation Army” to “Spirit in the Sky.”
But I still give Suicide Squad credit for assembling a good cast and getting them to deliver good performances (Leto aside, and even he’s not bad so much as derivative) and have chemistry with each other. Will Smith in particular, as the de facto leader Deadshot, is about as appealing as he was capable of being back in his Men in Black/Independence Day years. And I know “making Will Smith likable” doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment, but I remember watching Men in Black 3 and just thinking, “Did this guy always mug this much?” I also remember Jurassic World somehow managing to make Chris Pratt unlikable, so you can never take this sort of thing for granted. Of course, Smith’s warmth here doesn’t really fit with Deadshot’s supposedly sociopathic persona, but that doesn’t really matter since the script can’t commit to that characterization either.
Again, this isn’t any sort of masterpiece, but I don’t feel like it’s an abomination. I think some of the critical revulsion may be coming from affection for director David Ayer (End of Watch, Fury) and annoyance at news that his film had been heavily recut. But my understanding is that the studio interferences leaned towards lightening the movie’s tone, and God, I just feel like making Suicide Squad more serious would take it from flawed to insufferable. That’s the biggest thing this movie has going for it: It’s dumb, but unlike Zack Synder or Christopher Nolan’s superhero films, it at least doesn’t pretend not to be.