David Ayer Plays With Fire in ‘Suicide Squad’

Director David Ayer puts so much emphasis on making 'Suicide Squad' look exceptional, to the point where he forgets to make the rest appear acceptable.

David Ayer brings us ‘Suicide Squad,’ a perfect reminder as to why villainous heroes, method actors and an alternative-hit soundtrack don’t equal success.

david ayer
Photo courtesy of Steven Zang.

Reputation is both a blessing and a curse. And if centuries of storytelling have taught us anything, it’s that the pedestal of hubris must always come to its demise. In some way, shape or form, it always comes down.

A near-perfect case in the realm of big-headedness? Talk to David Ayer, the director of the overly-hyped, overly-budgeted Suicide Squad.

Ayer might have given a large portion of himself into this summer blockbuster, hiring the most widely-acclaimed actors, squeezing the merriment out of DC’s most vilely disturbing villains, and even throwing in a White Stripes song or two for the hell of it. One can even argue that Suicide Squad is a final throw-down in a vicious ring match with none other than Marvel Comics, the reigning world-champion of the superhero film industry. Nevertheless, the painful news for Ayer and the rest of the DC production team: Marvel takes home the belt, once again.

Suicide Squad is essentially a two-hour prologue. It’s an attempt to introduce the world to Task Force X, a special operation designed by special operative Amanda Walker (Viola Davis) to bring together the most appalling and “abnormal” criminals for the sake of forces too powerful for military defense. Together, the team is made up of Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and even Katana (Karen Fukuhara). As they get to know each other for their overbearing flaws, they must go against a witch-goddess that takes over the body of archaeologist Dr. June Moone (Cara Delevingne). Additionally, they come face to face with the Joker (Jared Leto), hoping to steal back Harley Quinn for himself.

In his defense, Ayer worked hard to keep Suicide Squad in-line, especially with the massive amount of story arc going on between so many distinctively unique characters. However, the end product is noticeably too much for its time constraints, especially since much of the adventure flick presents itself as witty dialogue with the occasional sprinkling of physical conflict.

In other words, Ayer has delivered us a massive package in the most minuscule packaging possible. One can only imagine the sheer difficulty. Nonetheless, the film is visually tasteful, between intriguing angle shots and colorful designs, galore. This all begs on definitive question: Is Ayer compensating strong film mechanics for a lack of story guidance?

“I love how the movie never felt boring to me,” said Shannon Zang, 14-year-old Garfield resident and superhero film-fanatic. “The director really makes everything catch your eye the whole time. Even if you don’t really enjoy the movie, you have to admit that everything pops out really nicely.”

For better or worse, Suicide Squad plays off like a kaleidoscope: it’s so interesting and entertaining to look at, but once you remove yourself from its lenses, you find yourself questioning its very existence. Sure, the blockbuster has some highs to back up its lows. Yet, Ayer played with fire on this one, the type of fire that can kick the esteem out from underneath you when you aren’t paying attention.

Suicide Squad is now playing in movie theaters worldwide. Some local venues include AMC Clifton Commons, AMC Essex Greens in West Orange and even Bow Tie Bellevue Cinemas in the heart of Upper Montclair! For a list of even more theaters and show-times, visit fandango.com today.

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