It’s OK to be a hit-man, as long as you love your daughter.
Directed and written by David Ayer, Suicide Squad marks as the third instalment to DC’s expanded universe. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), assembles a number of imprisoned villains who are chosen to carry out deadly missions, in return for a lowered prison sentence. The squad consists of the unpredictable Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), hit-man Deadshot (Will Smith), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) who is a little too enthusiastic with fire, Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and Bank robber, Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney).
Clearly a black comedy, Suicide Squad tries a little too hard to fit into the serious drama genre; the issue being, the institution is unclear on its own concept, and what it truly wants to offer. Character development in a film such as this one, relying purely on group effort is key. The excellent performances are what manage to assist the film during its rough narrative patches. Heavy on the gun action, Will Smith tends to steal the show as Deadshot, making the very best of a bad situation. This allows the audience to care for him, as we are presented with a fair amount of depth to his character. A scene with him and his daughter stood under the gun in a fight scene was effective in reminding us he is bad, and not ‘turning good’. The film doesn’t stray away from its message here, trying to become something it is not. Equally, Margot Robbie did justice to the psychopathic girlfriend of the Joker; deranged is one way to put it. Though, at parts, Robbie was a tad over-sexualised, giving the film an unnecessary tacky undertone. Viola Davis (Amanda Waller) was very well casted, making a worthy dispatcher, and a ‘badass’ one at that. Killer Croc provided some comical relief, growling out humourous one-liners. Though his character doesn’t work wonders for the hard of hearing…
The rest of the squad however, are undeveloped – this has got to be expected for a film that is so crowded with characters. This is particularly apparent with Captain Boomerang, who serves as a useless addition to the group, with each line falling flat, and looking like a lost puppy among the other villains. And Karen Fukuhara who played Katana just seemed to be part of the scenery. Cara Delevingne’s performance as the ancient witch, Enchantress was…well, average. It’s hard to tell whether this was due to the chaotic script or that it had to be coated in CGI to make up for an empty performance. Enchantress’ brother, otherwise known as the second villain, closely resembled Electro from The Amazing Spiderman 2, therefore the character’s appearance felt uninspired. Ultimately, the Witch subplot didn’t do the film any justice. Cameos from Batman (Ben Affleck) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) place the film inside the greater DC universe, and were executed well, due to their brevity; not an overpowering presence.
Following Heath Ledger’s award-winning performance as the Joker, Jared Leto had one heck of a reputation to live up to. Leto’s take was threatening, and intense; going above and beyond, as he is known so very well for mastering. This makes for a fascinating character study. Sadly, his star role had minimum screen-time, to only be featured in flashbacks and ever so briefly in present day. Scenes between the Joker and Harley Quinn were of the highest standard in the film. Moreover, the soundtrack choice coincided faultlessly during the fast-paced scenes featuring the two of them. If the whole run-time had contained this heavy dose of madness and intrigue, Suicide Squad would have risen to the heights it promised.
A winning element was the film’s dark and grungy feel. A couple of well executed fight scenes added to the film’s excitement, as the quality of these fights rose above lacklustre. This perhaps reflects that DC has a little more to offer than its rather bland competitor, the big M. The editing proves to be particularly choppy, even at the best of times. Scenes that should play out in one go are slashed into smaller cuts and sprinkled through a confused narrative, resembling that of an ice cream sundae. This messiness could however, be representational of the characters’ delusion, as they are far from perfect, mirroring that of the film. It just needed a little more madness!
If you’re not in search of a “perfect” film, but want to have some fast-paced fun during this blockbuster season, then these villains are right up your alley. Given that Suicide Squad has a unique premise, it feels all too familiar. It’s not an atrocious film by all means, but it’s a little disappointing considering its marketing campaign, hurting our expectations “really, really bad”…