I ventured into David Ayer's Suicide Squad with, given the cringe-worthy reviews, rock-bottom expectations. Part of me, however, held out real hope that the picture could surprise. I had, after all, been mildly fond of Ayer's critically panned Sabotage from 2014, and I thought the Jai Courtney-starring Terminator: Genisys worked on the level of fun, tongue-in-cheek camp.
Alas, about half an hour into Suicide Squad, it dawned on me that I really just enjoyed those pictures on account of my love for anything Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Suicide Squad, the worst comic book film adaptation since 2005's Elektra, and likely among the five worst comic flicks of all-time, is a truly cringe-inducing experience, sans any redeeming value. That the film features (and squanders) a handful of fine actors and was helmed by a usually terrific filmmaker makes the picture all the more aggravating an endeavor.
Previews and marketing have hyped Jared Leto's turn as Joker as a must-see, one that presumably dominates the picture. In reality, Joker is little more than an after-thought here, as the film focuses on an intelligence operative (Viola Davis, who's terrific even when completely phoning it in) who, in the wake of Superman's death, puts together a motley team of one-liner-spewing supervillains to be utilized for high-risk missions. With Midway City on the brink of apocalypse, under siege by the grating witch-goddess Enchantress (the always-blank Cara Delevingne), it's up to the squad to save the day.
Given the picture's spastic editing and total lack of character development, it's all but impossible to give a damn about anything on the screen here. The performances range from watchable (Davis, Courtney, Joel Kinnaman) to Razzie-calibur (Will Smith and Margot Robbie, recalling a blend of Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted and Cristin Milioti on 30 Rock), with the script doing nobody any favors at any moment.
As for Leto, whose presence is essentially unnecessary to the picture, I dig the appearance of Joker in a tux, but his turn more recalls some sort of '80s vampire pimp than anything out of the DC Comics. I'm pretty sure this guy was somewhere in the background of the "Relax" sequence from Body Double.
Suicide Squad is enjoyable to poke fun at but comparably depressing, given how great it coulda/shoulda been.