For Reel

Suicide Squad (2016)
September 4, 2016, 6:29 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: David Ayer
1.5 Stars
Suicide SquadIn his review of Suicide Squad for the New York Times, A.O. Scott invoked critic André Bazin’s articulation of the “genius of the system,” referring to Hollywood’s machine-like but uncanny ability to produce endlessly rich pop art. At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, one can’t help but wonder what happened to the studios’ ability to tell coherent stories with many of this year’s tentpoles—X-Men: Apocalypse, Captain America: Civil War, Ghostbusters, and now Suicide Squad—being borderline incomprehensible from a storytelling standpoint, pulled in a million directions by corporate directives and culminating with nothing but meaningless noise. Case in point—the Joker’s (Jared Leto) inclusion in Suicide Squad gives the film the benefit of starring an iconic comic book supervillain, but his irrelevance to the plot is the elephant in the room. When a nasty security guard played by Ike Barinholtz is captured and threatened by the Joker and later taunted by Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), all laws of story structure would have one anticipate some sort of payoff. But the character just sort of disappears, playing as a loose story thread that was likely butchered in the editing bay. When a film like The Force Awakens comes around and satisfies most audiences with a new assortment of immediately likable characters with firmly understood motivations, the machine of Hollywood seems almost unimpeachable. But Suicide Squad is such a distillation of everything that is bad with bad movies these days, suggesting that the increasing juggling act of meeting demands like franchise development is making it harder than ever for studios to release a coherent blockbuster.