March 1, 2024

Cinematic Suicide

Illustrated by Shalomita Maleachi
Illustrated by Shalomita Maleachi
Illustrated by Shalomita Maleachi


By Langdon Kessner ‘17

Arts & Life Editor

Suicide Squad (2016) stars Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis. Written and directed by David Ayer, the superhero film (based on the DC Comic) follows a band of criminals as they fight against an evil witch known as the Enchantress. The group, led by Colonel Rick Flag, includes Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, Slipknot, Katana, and El Diablo. Also—the Joker shows up! But don’t get too excited; he’s only there for 10 minutes. With plot-holes everywhere, Suicide Squad ends up being a barrel of nothing. You won’t be angry that you saw it, but I dare you to quote one line of dialogue or name one cool action sequence.

The reason why the film is so disappointing is because it has potential. The idea of bad vs. evil is a neat concept, as is the use of villains as protagonists. Not to mention that Harley Quinn’s character has been long overdue for a film. The cast is also extremely talented, and Ayer has directed great films like Fury (2014) and End of Watch (2012). Suicide Squad could’ve been as fresh, bold, and daring as Deadpool (2016) was back in February, but instead it is just another generic superhero film.

The cast is great, so let’s start with them. Will Smith is Will Smith, and Will Smith is awesome. Margot Robbie perfectly captures Harley Quinn, and even matches the character’s voice from the animated series. Viola Davis is suitably menacing as Amanda Waller, the founder of the group. Jared Leto plays the Joker as a psychotic gangster, which is cool to watch. However, that character deserves so much more time than what was given, as his presence here is just a glorified cameo.

As good as the cast is, they fail to act as a cohesive, functioning unit. They call themselves a “family” in the last act, but you never would have guessed it. Together they’ve got one scene in a bar, but that’s it. And even then, it’s just mere exposition. It’s completely devoid of character development as well. Although Deadshot, Harley Quinn and El Diablo develop somewhat, each are defined by a single character trait throughout the entirety of the film.

As for the story itself, nothing makes sense. It is a superhero movie, so no one should be expecting an airtight script anyway, but this movie has plot holes big enough to drive a truck through. Though the idea for the “Suicide Squad” is to fight “meta-humans” (i.e. Superman), half of the group doesn’t even have superpowers. Any and every film will have plot hole––that’s a given. However, there needs to be some sort of internal logic that the film must follow. Suicide Squad just “breaks” its own logic about five times in each scene.

This is a $200-million-dollar production, not some fourth-grader’s writing assignment. Show some effort.

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