Suicide Squad:An Exercise In Narrative Harakiri

This film tries to hit the same strides as movies such as Escape from New York and Assualt on Precinct 13 but harsh tonal shifts make it feel more like Breakfast Club meets Scooby Doo. Both scenarios would have made for a fantastic movie going experiance but the structural and narrative problems of Suicide Squad are nearly as insurmountable as the villians the title characters face in thier first outing in the DC extended universe. 

We begin with an introduction to each of our main characters with a mix of flash back and clunky exposition that drags the structure and pacing down as every time the audience is asked to engage in a proper narative through line the backstory ends abruptly and we are brought back to the present. Each flash back eludes to enough material for an entire films worth of story and only the characters of, Deadshot, Harley Quinn and El Diablo are treated to these scenes. The rest of the cast is relegated a few lines of expostion to establish the characters, mere moments before they are relevent. 

The most glaring example would be the character of Katana whose deep and rich history is  glossed over in a handfull of throwaway lines. 

This wouldn’t be that much of an issue if the characters were allowed to interact in such a way that would justify any emotional connection between them. It’s here where the sloppiness of the editing and pacing really comes through. It seems clear that alot of the connective tissue and scenes of the squad bonding have been cut out and the resulting “family” they claim to have become by the end, is  justified by what can only be described as emotional jump cuts in the narrative.

The structure of the film would have been much better served had the extended flashbacks been removed and more focus on character interaction had been a priority. None of these issues are helped by the flimsy plot, and villian whose motivations are almost nonexistent. Echantress is given an introductory montage but quickly succumbs to “lets destory the world because, reasons” syndrome that seems to be plagueing most recent blockbuster movie bad guys.

The films cinematography also leaves something to be desired as the film lacks much sense of scope and all the major action sequences seem to be constructed in medium shots and close ups with very few,if any, wide or establishing shots.  

The sets, costumes, and performaces all do justice to the source material. It’s just a shame the movie surrounding all that wasn’t better constructed. Viola Davis gives a superb performance as Amanda Waller and presents a chilling and rich characterization without the need for extended flashbacks or clunky exposition. If only the filmmakers could have struck that same balance with the rest of the cast.

As it stands, intriguing visuals, excellent acting and some fun DC extended universe world building make this worth watching. But sloppy structure and pacing keep Suicide Squad from greatness.

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