Muddled storytelling, anarchic action and unsympathetic characters make this D.C. Comics adaptation one of the low-points of the summer. Yes, there’s novelty value in watching Viola Davis play an evil woman with ice water in her veins, and Margot Robbie is very sexy as Harley Quinn. But when the best the movie can do for Will Smith is give him a young daughter to elicit an ounce of sympathy for his character, a cold-blooded sniper named Deadshot, you know you’re in trouble.

How do D.C. and Warner Bros. keep getting it wrong? After Batman v Superman you’d think there would be nowhere to go but up…but you’d be wrong.

Even my son-in-law, who’s a fan of comics and graphic novels, didn’t think Suicide Squad was great, although he liked it fairly well. I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Suicide Squad Group Shot-680

Photo by Clay Enos (Courtesy of DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures)

I could use up a thesaurus describing this debacle: boring, mind-numbing, and ugly are just a few words that come to mind. I should also mention the waste of talent involved. If only a few people lining up for Suicide Squad would take the time to watch writer-director David Ayer’s End of Watch (2012) with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, I wouldn’t begrudge the filmmaker his unfortunate dip into the comic-book genre.

Oh, well… I can dream, can’t I?

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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February 2024