Not quite the hot mess we hoped for, Suicide Squad doesn’t live up to the crazy promised by the excellent trailers.
While it strays into bonkers territory several times, trying to shoehorn the crazy characters into a simplistic script just cuts down on what we really want, which is for the characters to wig out in psychedelic splendour.
The intro is promising as Amanda Waller (Davis) gathers together her band of super villains for her ultra dangerous Black Ops missions.
She promises reduced prison sentences in exchange for their co-operation, but as we see, this doesn’t really work out very logically. Anyhow, once they have all been imprisoned, she Battle Royale’s them (explosives in the neck? We’ve seen this before) and sends career soldier, Colonel Rick Flag (Kinnaman), to lead a mission against a hostile terrorising fictional Midway City.Crash, bang, someone hit something, it all gets pretty murky from there.
The world’s deadliest assassin, Deadshot (Smith), becomes the de facto leader of the motley crew, but he spends so much time corralling everyone else, this potentially interesting character doesn’t really get explored much beyond psychopath-with-a-soft-spot-for-his-daughter.While much has been made of Jared Leto’s turn as the Joker, he doesn’t get much screen time. He comes looking for Harley Quinn (Robbie) and ja… that’s it.
Potentially, each of the characters is a rich smorgasbord of pain and weird, but none of the very able actors are given a change to explore this. Amanda Waller may not be a superhero, but her moral compass is as skewed as the people she goes looking for, so Viola Davis gets to out-sociopath her charges with a dead-eyed look straight out of her How to Get Away with Murder playbook, but we know she can do more than that.
Margot Robbie gets a lot of screen time, but this is more so the boys can ogle at her dressed in less than for her Harley character to actually get to do anything other than pine after her boyfriend and hit things.Everyone gets to hit people and shoot guns and cause mayhem, but the gore factor is surprisingly low because they aren’t actually hurting people.
Buildings, vehicles, occasionally each other and lots of charcoal-y, lizard-like villains created by the big bad which cuts down on a problem often experienced by DC movies – gratuitous collateral damage leading to the deaths of real people.
Director David Ayer has written some really strong scripts like Training Day and End of Watch (which he also directed) and he comes up with great ideas like SWAT and Fury, but for some reason he loses sight of what he has in hand here. Great characters. Squishing them into a paint-by-numbers script with a wholly undeveloped antagonist is such a waste.
It starts off so well, but then the heavy hand of corporate DC filmmaking just leaches all the fizz and colour out of it and it ends up as muted as Batman versus Superman: Dawn of Justice.It feels like Ayer made the first third of the film, then showed it to the bean counters who loved it so much that they started weighing in because they really wanted the film to have a PG rating.