Warner Bros latest entry into the DC film universe has landed. Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer (Fury, Street Kings) and starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Jared Leto and Joel Kinnaman amongst others, carries with it hope that it will right the wrongs of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. However after this villainous diversion from BvS DC’s ship is no longer rocking, it’s sinking.
Following the events of Batman Vs Superman Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) wants to create an expendable team of incarcerated supervillains that will help protect the world in the event of an emergency, and who she can place the blame on if things go awry. Assembling the baddest of the bad, including the likes of Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), led by military standout Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), Waller sends her newly formed team out to stop an ancient entity from destroying the world.
Disappointing, erratic and disjointed is how I’d best describe Suicide Squad, a film which no longer carries hope but the scent of studio interference. What should have been an enjoyable romp through the world of bad guys, a staple of the DC world, has turned out to be another disheartening entry into Warner Bros catalogue of films based on DC properties. David Ayer has crafted some fine films, and the cast is star studded, but there is next to no cohesion to found throughout the 120 minutes Suicide Squad runs for.
The film begins swiftly with choppy introductions to each (sort of) eventual member of the suicide squad, as Amanda Waller narrates her reasons for recruiting such evil people. Problem is, these villains don’t really come across as evil at all, in fact at times they barely come across as shadowy antiheroes. The tone starts off light as we make our way around each member of the team and how they wound up in custody, and coincidentally not long after the team is put together an ancient mystical force has awoken and plans on destroying humanity. The team is then sent out into action under the assumption they’re being used to rectify a terrorist attack.
On arrival in Midway City, where the attacks have taken place, the tone erratically shifts back and forth as the team go from action set piece to action set piece through a story more hollow than a cave. Even with a lacklustre story a film can be rescued by the characters within, but with the exception of a few funny quips from Captain Boomerang, and Diablo’s interesting story arc, we’re essentially watching the Deadshot and Harley Quinn show, not the Suicide Squad show. Quite simply this is a frustrating waste of supporting characters who barely get a look in, Killer Croc has less lines than the Joker (who doesn’t feature much as it is), and Slipknot (Adam Beach) doesn’t even get an intro. The lack of screen time leads to a empty character development and audience engagement in their role, where you can’t really care less what happens next.
Speaking of the Joker, I’ve not seen such a redundant role forced into a film since Angel was shoehorned into both X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: The Last Stand. The characters relevance in the plot is inconsequential, and his appearance so clearly used to put asses in seats. This tactic is just a disrespectful use of the character. Without a shadow of a doubt would I love to see more of Leto’s take on the Joker, but the role takes away time that should have been spent with other characters in the film. Moving on to the primary antagonists of the film things don’t get much better as those setting out to destroy the world are mere belly dancing cardboard cut outs (you’ll understand when you see it).
There are some positives though, most of the performances are really good. Robbie’s Harley Quinn is delightfully crazy, and Viola Davis’s Amanda Waller has a shot at being the best villain of the piece, but even with the little screen time afforded to them Jay Hernandez and Jai Courtney shine brightest as Diablo and Captain Boomerang respectively. On the other end of the scale, Deadshot could have easily been any other character Smith has played in the past and doesn’t leave a lasting impression, and Cara Delevingne…well I’ll let you make your own mind up on that one.
There’s a lot of superficial stuff occurring on the surface of Suicide Squad but there is nothing underneath it. It’s not really funny, dramatic or serious, the action is passable and the music feels painfully squashed together in order to repeat the success of Guardians of the Galaxy’s soundtrack. Just like a Jackson Pollock drip painting, there’s a lot to look at and it’s messy, but what you get from it will depend on how deeply you want to look into it.
P.S. Do yourself a favour, pass on the the mid credit scene, it’s a pointless rehash of what we already seen in BvS, and know from the Justice League footage they showed recently.