It appears that Hollywood and the NBA have been embarking on the same “super team or bust” approach the past 10 years. Their formula for success consists of throwing as many stars as possible on the same team, factoring in the other variables after the fact. Disney’s Marvel universe resembles the 2010 – 2014 Miami Heat, a consistently successful machine with a very high floor. Universal’s Fast and Furious franchise mirrors the Oklahoma City Thunder right down to the balls to the wall mentality of Rusty Westbrook. While Fox’s X-Men looks like the LA Clippers to me, a star studded squad that comes up just short every year for some reason, but still entertaining in it’s own right.
WB, looking to enter the fray, assembled their own super team for the Batman/Superman centric DC Comics universe. However, what looked great on paper turned out to be the 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers. Remember how hyped everyone was upon hearing that Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and Kobe would be on the same team? But then they actually played a game and people realized that they sucked together (my other analogy for this before I came up with the NBA angle was the quintessential paper champion 2000 Washington Redskins). And for the record when it comes to non-blockbuster, adult movies, I think WB offers the best material out of the major studios (i.e. Creed, Nice Guys, Black Mass, etc), but man, their blockbusters are on a bad streak. I’m not sure who’s having a worse 2016, WB’s DC character universe or my Facebook newsfeed.
Which brings us to DC’s latest installment, the critically pummeled Suicide Squad. This isn’t really as bad as its 26% Rotten Tomato score would attest. I actually think the cast does a good job, most notably America’s current #wcw Margot Robbie and surprisingly Will Smith, who exudes his most charisma since Bad Boys 2. Meanwhile Jared Leto does ok with The Joker. That’s a no win situation for him in following up Heath Ledger’s iconic Oscar winning performance, so as long as he doesn’t butcher it and stays in his lane, it works. For me, there are enough good scenes and performances to justify seeing Suicide Squad. If an album had a couple good jams surrounded by trash filler songs, you wouldn’t renounce the album entirely.
So it’s not the actors, and I don’t even necessarily think it’s the direction. The real problem with Suicide Squad is simply an overall corny story. It seems like such an unforced error to have this group of likeable misfits played by bankable stars team up to defeat what amounts to a bootleg version of Gozer The Destructor from the original Ghostbusters and hundreds of faceless minions. I realize this is a superhero movie so you have to suspend belief, but they couldn’t come up with something just a little more grounded? WB clearly wants these movies to be taken seriously given the resources they are applying to the franchise, however by mixing in with these cartoony elements it just comes off as a very uneven tone. Tier 6