This review will include spoilers, not only because it’s hard to explain the quality of a film without referencing specific plot points, but also because this film is so terrible I’m doing you a favour by giving you the crib notes.
Amanda Waller (Viola Davis in one of the film’s few bearable roles) has assembled a team of dangerous and disloyal bad guys to take on metahuman threats and other missions that good guys can’t accomplish. The metahuman threat she warns the government of actually ends up being one of her squad, Enchantress (played poorly by Cara Delevingne) who has escaped and gone rogue, therefore proving right the misgivings most characters had about Waller’s plan and the film’s entire premise. Furthermore, the film’s most glaring weakness is that the premise of “bad guys” taking part in unsavoury black-ops doesn’t quite hit the mark. The “bad guys” receive that characterization only because they are in prison (we didn’t see any trials!), and because throughout the film they keep referring to themselves as the “bad guys.” What would have helped the film differentiate itself from other (and objectively better) superhero ensembles would be having characters that are unsavoury, compelling, and well-rounded rather than video game characters with a grimdark aesthetic and rebellious branding campaign. Also, the mission in question lends itself too easily to heroics, which makes you wonder why the Flash or Batman never show up. Instead, why not have the squad of murderers, liars, and psychopaths take on a task that is questionable, maybe overthrowing a Middle Eastern regime, investigating a superweapon in an allied nation, or hunting down other metahumans for experimentation.
The team itself is underwhelming when you place them up against a cataclysmic world-ending scenario, such as the one in the film where the Enchantress plays an Xbox Kinect dancing game to open up a portal in the sky. Hitman extraordinaire Deadshot (Will Smith plays a groundbreaking role as Will Smith shooting people), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie as a regular person with a baseball bat and outdated psychology degree), and a few racist stereotypes fill out the squad which, when you think about it, are more trouble to put into an active mission than say, government special ops or a bomb dropped by a plane.
Many will point to studio interference and a rushed production schedule in an attempt to explain away the film’s deficits. That’s not good enough. In a film as disjointed and muddled as this one, one would still expect to walk out of the experience having seen at least a few moments that display the original intention and potential of the actors or director David Ayer. This film, in its entire two-hour-and-three-minute runtime, can’t even manage to scrape up a moment. The bar scene everyone talks about advances literally nothing, and doesn’t serve to either create a believable bond between the characters or expose more of their backstories in a way that isn’t laughable. (You married a dude with a skull tattooed on his face named El Diablo and are surprised to find drug money?)
In conclusion, Ben Affleck now has the entire weight of Warner Brothers and DC’s hopes on his back as he is the only redeeming thing to come out of their cinematic comic universe. Good luck, Ben.