The makers behind DC Comics movie adaptations have had a tough time recently with the critical mauling of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, so they needed Suicide Squad to fare better to salvage its reputation. While it’s a large improvement on BvS, it’s not as good as the trailers made it seem.
High-ranking government official Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) comes up with an idea to create a task force made up of villains to tackle any evil super power that may threaten to destroy humanity. Her bosses are reluctant to give the project approval until a baddie takes over Midtown City and needs to be taken down.
They plan to put together a team of imprisoned criminals such as Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and those with super powers like El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), who can produce fire, and witch Enchantress (Cara Delevingne).
The team are dropped in Midtown City with soldiers Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and Edwards (Scott Eastwood) to defeat the villain’s army before taking on the evil force itself.
The plot is the film’s biggest letdown because it’s such a mess and it’s difficult to know what’s going on, who they are fighting and why. The explanations are few and far between and they are either rushed or said unclearly so nothing really makes any sense. The pacing is bizarre too – the dialogue is rattled through at speed at important points and there are oddly-placed slow, contemplative moments when there should be action or tension.
It also takes a while to get going simply because there are so many characters we’ve never met before. Their introductory half is actually the most enjoyable because it is fun and easy to understand, whereas the film ties itself in knots once the main action begins.
The key to a successful superhero/villain movie is the main antagonist, and on this occasion, the main villain wasn’t particularly scary or threatening so it was hard to care if it was defeated or not. The stakes weren’t high so there’s no investment in the fight and it makes the final showdown feel flat.
However, it isn’t a total failure because the cast are served very well, with the exception of Delevingne, who still hasn’t proved her acting ability. The standouts are Jared Leto as The Joker and Robbie as his girlfriend Harley. It would be difficult to follow up Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning Joker performance in The Dark Knight but Leto manages to make the character his own, is a very convincing psycho and is the strongest actor of the lot. Harley is just a lot of fun, gets the most laughs and is the most interesting to watch by far.
There are some genuinely brilliant moments in Suicide Squad, it’s much more fun that the recent Batman, there is an incredible soundtrack and the whole thing looks amazing – so it’s just a shame the story was so muddled, confused and oddly structured.
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