Suicide Squad – Review

The post Superman battling Batman instalment into the DC Expanded Universe follows a Black Ops team assembled using the Dark Knight’s captured foes. In real terms it’s another throw of the dice for Warner Bros. after the critics slammed Zack Snyder’s last entry. So, are they the worst good guys ever? Or the best bad guys? Or bad worst bad good guys?

Director and writer David Ayer’s film focuses on the idea that now the world has seen Superman, the terror threat can’t be controlled by standard armies. The character Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is the voice for this point and the mean woman that will do anything to ensure her pet project is given the government green light.

That project is of course, what we know as, Suicide Squad. Six bad guys, some of whom display unique abilities, that can face unnatural enemies and if they fail, the government can deny any involvement.

To ensure she gets her way, Waller scares the living daylights out of the decision makers by using the Enchantress to give a graphic display of her powers.

Suspension of belief part one, folks. The Enchantress is an ancient spirit that had been trapped in an idol. Cara Delevingne’s Jane Moone accidently broke it on an exhibition and has since been possessed. Waller controls the sorceress by prodding her heart (somehow mummified and still intact).

Magic and sorcery isn’t the thing you need to suspend belief with here, it’s the idea Waller thinks a being that can travel thousands of miles and back in the blink of an eye could be kept under lock and key. But hey, we needed a tool for the main villain to appear, right?

In the least surprising turn of events, Enchantress does a runner and then gets her brother’s idol open . . . and away we go.

Enter Rebooted Robocop Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag. Bad ass special forces guy in charge of Task Force X (Suicide Squad), oh, and June Moone’s lover. Because everyone loves to make out with witches.

It’s a pretty easy set-up, and it flows pretty well. Other critics have slammed it for being convoluted. This really isn’t the case. The backstories for each of the main characters offer enough insight without dragging the main plot down and the action scenes couldn’t be simpler. It isn’t too dark nor is it humourless.

Its main flaw is how easy it is to watch. Unlike other DC projects it strips away the deeper issues and just plays out like any easy viewing action film should.

The elephant in the room is The Joker, or the lack thereof. Jared Leto has the thankless task of being the first guy after Heath Ledger to assume the role. He does a sterling job of reinventing the Clown Prince of Crime. This is a mobster style criminal. You get the impression he’s had more turf wars than attempts to destroy the world.

His fleeting appearance makes sense; too much of a good thing and this film would have been derailed. Ayers had to stay on point with a simple Suicide Squad movie.

The Joker’s squeeze, Harley Quinn, steals the show. Margot Robbie is mesmerising and one hopes we see a solo Joker film just to get more of her. Without her colour, the ensemble of villains would lack cement of vibrancy, then, and only then, this film would have been a mess.

Harley Quinn

The other characters range from Will Smith’s Deadshot. In many respects, the human side of the flick but it’s hard to not see it as Will Smith just being Will Smith. He’s caught because Batman confronted Deadshot while he was walking with his daughter.

Which requires a quick suspension of belief once again.

All the baddies Batman catches in flashbacks, baddies we’re lead to believe are the most dangerous on earth, are all caught as if they never attended Day 1 of baddie school, lesson 1, avoid easy capture.

Jai Courtney plays Captain Boomerang and is only here to provide comic relief. He may well be the least fleshed out character, aside from Slipknot.

Lost’s Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje performs as Killer Croc. He’s unidentifiable beneath all the makeup but somehow manages to get enough spirit over and commands attention when on the screen. You probably won’t see him appear as a villain on film but as a member of the squad, he works.

After Harley Quinn, the main props go to Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo. A reluctant participant due to the harm his powers have inflicted on those he loves. He can literally make fire and his backstory feels relevant rather than added for the sake of it.

DC went in big with this movie, from marketing and the future of the shared universe. It doesn’t deserve the negative press but Suicide Squad isn’t the feel good fix it should have been. It trumps most Marvel films out there but it seems DC are being judged by different standards.

Marvel get away with brains-out-live-action-cartoons. DC have made a better one of those but still get slated.

It lacks the depth Batman v Superman offered and the easy fun Star Trek Beyond served up, but it isn’t bad.

The Suicide Squad are the best trying bad guys out there.

7/10

 

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