Directed by David Ayer
Starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Cara Delevingne, Joel Kinnaman
Review by Jordan
“You know what they say about the crazy ones…”
Bulbous-headed mutated oddities created at the hands of centuries-old witches with no proper explanation being dispatched unceremoniously by a prominently joyless crew of DC antiheros and villains in the dark city landscape of an environment destroyed just enough to look war-torn but not so much that there are still designer shops left to cutely loot is not a highlight of a much-anticipated blockbuster with more lowlights than you can shake an incredibly durable baseball bat at.
Flourishes of promise and verve are extinguished by uninspiring set design, a deflating, anti-climactic plot and heavy-handed post production that sees fit to negate any filmic qualities Suicide Squad might contain and instead transform it into a haphazardly stitched together collection of introductory scenes and flashbacks, bridged by zestless trudging through a DOA story and backed by an expensive soundtrack that successfully ruins the timing of intended lines of comic relief and does its best to distract a restless audience from the fact that there will in fact be very little excitement on this particular journey.
Ruthless US Intelligence Officer Amanda Waller (Davis) bribes her way into being allowed to assemble a ragtag squad of miscreants to defeat a top-secret superpower who appears invincible, but can probably be taken down on the fly anyway, with her lowlifes and ‘meta-humans’ also serving as insurance should Gotham or Metropolis’ finest ever realise that the people in these universes really aren’t worth constantly saving. Her team consists of hit man Deadshot (Smith), Joker’s girl Harley Quinn (Robbie), naturally intoxicated Australian bank robber Boomerang (Courtney), the powerful yet sombre Diablo (Hernandez), reclusive Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), the Enchantress (Delevingne) and the incredibly unlucky Slipknot (Adam Beach), with the unflappably serious Rick Flag (Kinnaman) leading them while the far more lethal Katana (Karen Fukuhara) watches his back. Seriously though, this doesn’t stop the great Rick Flag from being dragged off to his death on multiple occasions… luckily Deadshot is around to show him how shooting disorganised Lovecraftian creations who choose to run directly into the bullets really isn’t that difficult.
Also threatening proceedings is Jared Leto’s Joker, whose appearance and open-mouthed expressions hint at graphic novel influences that work a lot better as vivid images than a live-action recreation. He is menacing, but would’ve been far better served as the primary antagonist, as his ill-defined role in rescuing Quinn doesn’t at all impact the grander arc; more substance would’ve heightened the stakes and created proper character tension and a sense of danger.
The characters that do work well are Deadshot and Harley Quinn, with Will Smith and Margot Robbie actually nailing the overused combination of ruthless yet emotionally vulnerable and the two sharing a peculiar bond – almost as peculiar as that between a special forces operative and his possessed, scared-senseless girlfriend. Had the movie focussed more on their shared escapades and actually competing against interesting (or human) enemies it would’ve made a world of difference, but as it stands they simply can’t outshine all the gloom and joylessness of everyone else’s self-loathing and the realisation that sinks in at about the half-way mark that proceedings have veered remarkably off any interesting course.
Edited to within an inch of credibility, Suicide Squad might be the most obvious example yet of a film that hints at having a far better one lost within it, kicking against the overbearing marketing ploy to have it fit within and not jeopardise a profitable universe by being edgier than it’s intended contemporaries.
2 inspirational speeches out of 5