The tedious drab of “Suicide Squad”

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“Man of Steel” introduced us to a jaw clenching, detached Superman responsible for destroying an entire city. “Batman vs Superman” relaunched Batman as a perpetually brooding hero with a compromised moral compass who doesn’t flinch before killing bad guys. And now, Suicide Squad wants us to root for supervillains who are neither very dangerous, nor very “super” in their powers.

There is the assassin with a really good aim! (Gasp) An Australian burglar who can throw a mean Boomerang. A crazy (but ridiculously hot) ex-psychiatrist with a baseball bat. A possessed archaeologist and the man-crocodile who…eats people?

The only one with some potential was Diablo, who can control fire. But he is sporadically used and has a completely implausible back story.

It’s almost insulting to think that Gotham needed Batman to catch these clowns. You’d barely need the SWAT for some of them.

There is also a Japanese woman with a Samurai Sword in an embarrassing mask, who isn’t part of the villains but shows up to join the gang anyway. No one cares to explain how or why.

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Then there is Jared Leto as the Joker. I applauded him for taking on a role immortalised by Heath Ledger. He knew he’d be compared to a guy who gave the performance of his lifetime in arguably the best superhero movie ever made, then died before it could be released and won a posthumous Oscar for it!! I mean, that is a tough act to follow.

So I went to the movie really wanting to like Jared Leto. You could see the guy trying so hard as well. But his character is so poorly written (or perhaps poorly edited, I guess we’ll never know), he turns out to be the biggest letdown of them all.

Is he a villain we are supposed to hate? Or the hero we are supposed to root for when he comes to save his lady love? Who knows!

Forget Heath Ledger, Jared Leto couldn’t even top Jack Nicholson’s rendition of the Joker.

All in all, if this doesn’t sounds like popcorn crunching fun, its because it isn’t. I could go on here but let me stick to the one big gripe I have with Suicide Squad.

Man of Steel” and “Batman vs Superman” invoked endless debates between comic book fans and critics. The dark mood of these movies polarised opinions. So at the very least, I expected that much from Suicide Squad as well.

But Suicide Squad ends up being unequivocally boring. It’ll be hard to find people who defend this movie, even for the sake of an argument.

In a typical Jason Statham or a Stallone movie, it is easier to forgive the laughable plot and the sub-par acting because you are rewarded with great action. Suicide Squad can’t even claim to have that!

Despite all this constant criticism, DC Comics and Warner Brothers are pursuing their unrelenting march of making a grim alternate universe with “metahumans” of superheroes and supervillains. Marvel and Disney have been cashing in for a while and Warner Brothers don’t want to sit on the sidelines anymore.

The Marvel universe has found the delicate balance of dealing with a constant threat of world destruction, while still keeping an upbeat mood. Their movies have the most important ingredient any summer blockbuster needs. They feel uplifting and joyous. That’s what keeps the fans flocking to the cinemas.

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DC have taken a completely different approach of creating a more realistic and darker world. It feels like they set out to make the A-rated version of the Marvel movies.

To be fair, that isn’t a bad route to take, at least not in principle. That’s exactly what Jason Bourne did to James Bond. It offered a more realistic, brutal action world that made previous James Bond movies look trivial and juvenile.

With Suicide Squad, David Ayer (director) has clearly crossed a line the previous two movies were only flirting with. DC have successfully created a depressing world that I am quickly losing interest in. It’s understandable why a world that suffers the destruction of at least one metropolitan city every few months is unlikely to be very perky.

This movie is so dark, it has absolutely no “cheer worthy” moments. It has no characters you care about. Barring a few chuckles provided by the brilliant Margot Robbie, Suicide Squad completely fails to release any dopamine to your bloodstream.

You enter the movie hall excited about watching something you’ve waited for months and come out with all the joy and excitement sucked out of you.

Originally published at on August 6, 2016.