|'Sadly endemic of the DCEU thus far: rushed, muddled, uninspired and tone deaf'.|
A fair amount of the criticism surrounding Suicide Squad has focused on Jared Leto's limited screen time (despite inexplicably gaining second billing behind Will Smith) as his gangster pimp version of The Joker, with some apparently believing that more of his character would have improved David Ayer's film.
In fact, the opposite is true: excising Leto's role from Suicide Squad completely would have gone some way to tightening up the story, which in turn may have resulted in a better film overall. Leto's interpretation of The Joker offers little worth saving either way, caught as it is somewhere between a bad Heath Ledger impression and a weird send-up of Jim Carrey's performance in The Mask.
That said, there are enough problems elsewhere to prevent Ayer's film from ever becoming more than sporadically entertaining. Just as the studio did in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Warner Bros. unwisely use Suicide Squad as an attempt to launch a plethora of characters which would have been much better served by appearing as either antagonists or antiheroes in standalone features. A film focused solely on Deadshot (Smith), as the most developed character here, feels as though it could have had considerable potential. There are glimpses of how a film pitting The Joker and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) against Batman (Ben Affleck) might have looked through a handful of flashbacks; presented in isolation, however, these moments feel like poorly written snippets of fan fiction.
What Ayer ends up giving us therefore is a group of characters we largely don't care about being thrust into a narrative in which we're even less invested. Outside of Deadshot and Harley, only El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) gets a few moments to shine, with the rest of the titular team making little impression at all. One member is literally introduced for the sole purpose of being killed off a few scenes later. Plot development becomes ever more erratic as the film progresses, culminating in a messy CGI final battle for stakes which are as ill-defined as the characters fighting on either side.
Whilst this is more fun than both Man Of Steel and Batman v Superman, the tonal shifts are still too jarring too often; several scenes involving Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) in particular feel excessively bleak when compared to the dry humour attempted elsewhere. Anything enjoyable to be found within Suicide Squad ultimately comes as a result of the performances of Smith and Robbie. The rest is sadly endemic of the DCEU thus far: rushed, muddled, uninspired and tone deaf.