It feels good to be bad… Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?
As if ripping a page from the Marvel playbook when it comes to adapting a newer and largely lesser known comic series for wider audiences — talking about 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' of course! — Warner Bros and DC executives follow suit with 'Suicide Squad.' Similar to its Marvel counterpart, the comic book adaptation features a ragtag group of criminals who, unsurprisingly, have difficulty playing nice with each other while also squaring off against a seemingly more powerful supervillain. One major difference here is that these baddies are coerced into working with one another rather than brought together by circumstance, effectively removing for any sort of witty banter amongst the group as they predictably learn to overcome their egos and save humanity. Led by Viola Davis doing her best sternly apathetic, mercilessly self-righteous bureaucrat as Amanda Waller, a super-secret government agency allows the evildoers respite from their prison cells at the agency's behest. And according to a meeting with military leaders, grouping the worst of the worst is for the protection of national security.
And, this is where the movie, from a script by David Ayer, who also directed the box-office smash, then immediately dives head first into badness. Aside from a few expository words by Davis's Amanda during a private dinner, audiences are given little time to get to know any of the characters, aside from the two most popular, recognizable faces. Will Smith plays elite assassin Floyd Lawton, a.k.a. Deadshot, who is captured by Batman (Ben Affleck) because his daughter (Shailyn Pierre-Dixon) tugs at his conscience. A little too deliberately, we're also meant to believe there is more to this cold-blooded hitman, eventually serving as the group's moral compass not so much because it's cannon as it is because, well, it's Will Smith. Why spend the money on an A-list talent and not give him the opportunity to ground the production with some dramatic weight. Then, there's Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, a former psychiatrist turned cuckoo after spending time around Jared Leto's deranged Joker, who is more mafia crime boss with a grill and tattoos than the psychotic mastermind and sadistic prankster.
On the bright side of things, a good amount of time is spent on these two goofy screwballs and their warped love affair, most of it coming from several flashback sequences leading up to Joker attempting a rescue mission. But it's not enough to save this movie from itself and Ayer creating chaos simply for the sake of it or as a cheap device to move the narrative along since there's little else of much interest going on. Other team members are given less attention with even less backstory, such as Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) being quickly summarized in a couple minutes. It's even clear why Slipknot (Adam Beach) and Katana (Karen Fukuhara) are included except to make everyone else look cool. The only purpose Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) provides is as a motivating love-interest for Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), which wouldn't be a problem if the character were given more to do. The only other villain we're made to sympathize with is former LA gang member El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and that's only because he shows genuine remorse and guilt for his criminal past.
In an ever expanding race to catch up to Marvel's cinematic success, it's becoming clear this third installment to the DC extended universe ultimately seeks to satisfy and appease the established, loyal base rather than make new fans of neophytes. Readers will already be familiar with the characters and their history, such as Harley Quinn being a recent addition to the team, but her whimsically dark personality and demented sense of humor have been greatly watered down for her first screen appearance. This, in spite of Robbie's otherwise excellent performance. 'Suicide Squad' also makes itself directly related — a bit too blatantly, honestly — to the previous Superman movies while muddling its logic of assembling a special task force against acts of terrorism by squandering the team's talents to battle one of their own. Frankly, it's a sign of laziness because it frees the filmmakers from developing a new villain for them to combat. The "Extended Cut," which really only adds ten minutes of dialogue and another Harley/Joker flashback, improves on the theatrical version, but not by much.
Ultimately, the production feels rushed and piecemeal, perhaps the result of reshoots to supposedly add humor. In either case, this is not the comic adaptation DC fans anticipated.
Theatrical Version: 2.5/5
Extended Ultimate Edition Cut: 3/5
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Warner Home Video brings 'Suicide Squad' to Blu-ray on a three-disc combo pack with a code for an UltraViolet Digital Copy. The first two Region Free, BD50 discs, one containing the theatrical version and the other the extended cut, sit atop one another on the same panel. A DVD-9 copy of the theatrical version is on the opposite panel, and all three are housed inside a blue, eco-elite case. After a series of skippable trailers, viewers are taken to a generic static screen with options along the bottom.
The "Extended Cut" runs 134 minutes, which adds approximately 11 minutes to the 123-minute theatrical version. Those minutes feature various extended sequences, most of which are between Harley and Joker, an argument between the couple in the middle of a busy highway and an additional scene with Barry Allen as the Flash (Ezra Miller).
The extreme task force of supervillains is on the road towards heroism equipped with an excellent 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode at their side.
Shot on a combination of traditional 35mm and digital 4K cameras for certain sequences, the summer smash hit remains true to the creative intentions of the filmmakers, showing a gritty, bleak style with a mostly subdued appeal. Although much of the look leans heavily on the orange and teal palette, there are plenty of vibrant, embolden pastel hues scattered throughout, particularly when we're initially introduced to the characters, scenes with Enchantress' mystical weapon of destruction, and the several flashback sequences with Harley and Joker. And on various occasions, primaries break through the excessively tone-down contrast, allowing for an intermittent splattering of reds and blues in spite of the largely monochromatic photography. With much of the movie taking place at night and poorly-lit environments, brightness levels provide deep, rich blacks that never ruin or completely engulf background information. However, during daylight sequences, the shadows are lose much of their luster and look more grayish.
Presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, the freshly-minted transfer is awash with a nice thin layer of grain, giving the picture an appreciable cinematic appeal. The overall presentation is also highly detailed with excellent visibility of the distinct lines in buildings, various vehicles, the weapons and the superhero outfits. We can plainly make out every stitch in Harley's roller derby getup, the threading in the fabric worn by Deadshot, the worn creases of Captain Boomerang's leather jacket and the tough scaly face of Killer Croc. Facial complexions appear natural with lifelike textures, exposing wrinkles, pores and minor blemishes during various close-ups. However, the video comes with its share of softer, blurrier segments, some of which are more obvious than others and may be excused as the result of the many CG VFX sequences.
In the end, it remains a great-looking HD presentation fans will surely love.
The bad-guys are amassed to go ballistic and save humanity with a fun and exciting Dolby Atmos soundtrack, which defaults to a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track for those not equipped for the new codec.
Compared to other Atmos tracks we've heard, our favorite ragtag group of supervillains don't stand toe-to-toe with them or create the sort of house-shattering ruckus we'd expect. However, the design is interestingly more subtle than overwhelming, mostly reserving the ceiling speakers for specific moments instead of a bombastic, balls-to-the-wall assault on the ears. The battles, of course, fill the room with a variety of sound effects panning flawlessly between channels with appreciable discreteness and directionality. Helicopters fly overhead either towards the screen or away from it, debris falls from the space above the listener, and rain is consistently heard pouring all around and directly above. The music and song selections also take advantage of the object-based format by lightly bleeding into the front heights and top rear channels.
On the flip side, the more dialogue-driven moments are noticeably silent and lacking, but understandably, the conversations take priority with clean, distinct intonation of every word said by the characters. Much of the activity in the sound design occupies the surrounds and rears while the front soundstage generates a spacious presence with substantial warmth and fidelity, immediately establishing a broad and terrifically engaging sense of space. An extensive and excellently detailed mid-range exhibits outstanding distinction separation across all three channels with convincing off-screen effects, which is most appreciated during the great selection of songs. The low-end provides a palpable, room-penetrating punch to every gunshot, explosion and violent confrontation. Although much of this stays in the mid-bass range, a couple moments dig just below the 30Hz range for a nice wall-rattling effect in the second half (bass chart).
The collection of supplements are contained on both Blu-ray discs.
Working diligently at establishing a cinematic universe of their own, Warner Brothers and DC Comics adapt one of the lesser known properties, 'Suicide Squad.' While it may not be a total failure — there is some fun and entertainment to be found while Will Smith and Margot Robbie deliver notable performances — the story quickly runs out of plot and starts dragging its feet to the finish line. The Blu-ray arrives with an excellent picture quality and a slightly better audio presentation, but supplemental material falls short of satisfying though still informative. The overall package is sure to please loyal fans, but others might want to give it a rent before deciding on a purchase.