Suicide Squad Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
They're not that bad
The Suicide Squad montage their way through a messy, badly put-together ensemble actioner with moments of fun and a slightly superior extended cut.The fast-track of DC's equivalent to the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues in its shotgun approach, delivering a surprisingly successful (at least in terms of Box Office receipts) ensemble piece that's loud, noisy, and doesn't really have a clue what it's doing (or what it's supposed to be doing) but still manages to just about pull it off on the anarchic entertainment front. It's a dirty product, sloppily spliced, with stats-cards splayed across the screen and neon-fueled flashbacks dusted throughout to help cover up the seams. There's too much - but conversely not enough - going on, with the intro montages the best bits, and the actual plot so predictable and self-serving that you wonder how they can stretch it out over two hours. The whole thing feels more Guy Richie than David Ayer, which would be a good thing had they not dropped a quarter of a billion on it and tinkered with the final cut so much. Hints of a better structure are present in the extended cut, but it's far from the saving grace that was Snyder's Batman vs. Superman extended cut, with the extra ten minutes or so amounting to little more than a few extra lines and a few extra sequences.The added touches to the secondary characters are welcome, but the extra moments with Will Smith's headliner Deadshot - who never convinces as a villain - appear repetitive. There's more from Harley, in quite a significant flashback, but this also means more from Jared Leto's Joker - and he offers one of the worst ever representations of the colourful character. It's doubtful that toxic waste has ever been made to look quite so much like a milk bath. Margot Robbie almost makes up for it, absolutely nailing Harley, and nearly covering up for the fact that not only is Leto worthless, but also the fact that her own character is dubiously included in a squad who patently don't need her and her... baseball bat (let's not even talk about boomerangs). It makes sense to give her a spin-off, but it's a shame that probably means more Leto to ruin things. Ultimately Ayer has continued in his trend for hit and miss ensemble flicks, and in some ways, superhero fans won't really miss anything by skipping this addition. On the other hand, though, it's far from the unpleasant mess it's been labelled and is still a watchable, diverting effort.
Picture QualitySuicide Squad hits UK 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with an impressive HEVC / H.265 encoded 2160p transfer framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1 widescreen. The UHD Blu-ray was reviewed on a Samsung UE55KS8000 Ultra HD TV and a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
The production was shot on 35mm film, opening up the opportunity for a solid 4K scan, however the VFX work was rendered in 2K, and the subsequent 2K Digital Intermediate curtails this, and leaves another '4K' release, technically, little different from its 1080p Blu-ray counterpart, at least in terms of detail.
HDR and WCG save another 2K DI '4K' release
Thankfully High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) once again save the day, delivering an image which is brighter and more colourful, rendered with vibrancy and vitality. Indeed it seems somewhat ironic that the very effects sequences which handicap the ultimate resolution of the piece (due to being rendered in 2K) are the moments that most commonly shine here, popping with a surge of broader-range colour gamut and benefiting from the improved peaks at both ends of the spectrum.
The presentation also handles the black levels extremely well, revealing unseen shadow detail above and beyond the Blu-ray counterpart, and, even though this is quite a gritty affair on some stylistic levels (which doesn't necessarily lend itself well to the new format), it polishes up surprisingly nicely in 4K, and makes for a far more even experience, with none of the fluctuations that marred Batman v Superman.
It should be noted that only the theatrical cut is presented in 4K, with the extended cut relegated to a standard Blu-ray.
Sound QualityWhether you watch the Theatrical Cut, or the Extended Cut, both versions come accompanied by excellent immersive HD audio Dolby Atmos tracks, which themselves boast tremendous Dolby TrueHD 7.1 cores. The chaotic high-frenzy-style piece, particularly with its ensemble mayhem and medium-scale skirmishes, has plenty of material to make for an engulfing, atmospheric mix, placing you right in the thick of things as gunfights break out, explosions ring out, or super-powered meta-humans go on the rampage. Dialogue remains firmly prioritised so that you can pick up the whispers and growls, taking centre-stage on the frontal array, whilst the somewhat generic (but nowhere near as intrusive as on Batman v Superman) score keeps the track active for almost the entire runtime.
Both cuts benefit from Dolby Atmos
ExtrasAs is the norm, the Blu-ray disc holds all the extra features, which are predominately featurette-based. Task Force X: One Team, One Mission looks at the characters that comprise the Squad; Chasing the Real focuses on writer/director David Ayer's gritty style; Joker & Harley: 'It' Couple of the Underworld looks at these two colourful players; Squad Strengths and Skills has the Squad in training for their roles; Armed to the Teeth details the arsenal; This is Gonna Get Loud: The Epic Battles of Suicide Squad looks at the key action setpieces; Squad Declassified looks at the squad vs. opponents stats, and the disc is rounded off by a Gag Reel.
There's nothing here particularly revealing.
There's nothing here particularly revealing, with the stats-screen and montage-based details a nice gimmick, but only a few moments of actual background depth into the (reportedly) troubled production.
Ultra HD Blu-ray VerdictThis is far from the saving grace that was Snyder's Batman vs. Superman extended cut
The 4K release benefits from HDR and WCG, despite the limitations afforded by a 2K digital intermediate, and boasts Dolby Atmos tracks on both versions. Ultimately, although it's annoying that there isn't at least the option, it's not the end of the world that we don't get a 4K extended cut. Your enjoyment of Suicide Squad will likely not be contingent on what cut you watch, but more what frame of mind you're in and how forgiving you're feeling. It's a mess, but it's not an unpleasant mess. It's watchable, but not vital in the grand comic-book superhero adaptations scheme of things, and despite making DC/Warner a boat-load of money, doesn't really change the fact that they're still way behind the curve in comparison to Marvel.
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