The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
At one point in the slog that is “Suicide Squad,” Will Smith’s character laments that he and his team of reluctant do-gooders must battle “the swirling ring of trash in the sky.” That’s a pretty apt description of the movie as a whole, too: It’s massive, messy and noisy. And it stinks.
In the continuing effort to create a series of interconnected films based on DC Comics characters—similar to the well-established (and, thus far, superior) Marvel Cinematic Universe—“Suicide Squad” is just about as unpleasant as this year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” but for totally different reasons. In following the misadventures of a group of super villains who are forced to work together to defeat a powerful enemy, “Suicide Squad” is actually trying to be fun, or at least it’s trying to find the mix of daring and cheekiness that made “Deadpool” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” such twisted delights. With a few, rare exceptions, the attempts at humor in “Suicide Squad” land with a thud—that is, if you can hear such a sound over the deafening din of gunfire and the bombastic score.
Writer/director David Ayer has created a movie that’s simultaneously underwritten and overstuffed. It has too many characters yet precious few who even come close to resembling actual human beings. Ayer brought an intimate, visceral intensity to previous movies like “End of Watch” and “Fury,” as well as his scripts for “Training Day” and the original “The Fast and the Furious.” Here, it’s as if the machinery of making a big-budget, comics-inspired summer blockbuster has swallowed him whole.
Ayer and his enormous team have given us a film that’s muddled both visually and narratively. Often, it’s hard to tell what’s going on because so many of the huge action set pieces take place in the dark, or in the rain, or in the dark in the rain. But more fundamentally from a storytelling perspective, “Suicide Squad” is woefully lacking in both momentum and cohesion. It will grind to a halt for a flashback, or to allow its characters to go a bar to commiserate about how terrible their lives are when the world supposedly is on the brink of destruction outside.