After the overly grim and serious Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, it seems that the custodians of the DC universe felt there was a need for the franchise to take a small side step and bring in something a little different. And with Suicide Squad they certainly succeed in making a more entertaining film but in the end they still stumble in making appropriate use of the huge number of characters they have at their disposal.
The movie gets to point quickly in the beginning. After the death of Superman in BvS, questions are raised as to what happens if the “next Superman” that shows up turns out to be a threat. Who will stop them? Government official Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) thinks there needs to be a team assembled capable of countering such a force and the suggestion is made to make use of the world’s most dangerous criminals. They are not only capable but also completely expendable. And she has a few people already in mind…
Introducing the team comes thick and fast with Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) all getting their introduction time as well as Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) and Enchantress (Cara Delavingne), the last two having their own little bit of history that plays into the story later. Plenty of movies have done this before and I’m sure many will do it again in the future but it does help move things on.
The mission that they’ve been assigned to involves rescuing a high value target located in a city under siege from an unknown enemy. The team are left in the dark over the gravity of the situation and even us viewers are only given half the tale to begin with.
There’s going to be a lot of questions asked though about why certain decisions were made in the final product. Cameos by a certain caped crusader of the Ben Affleck variety were sadly irrelevant and could have been more effective if only words were used instead of actions. I know they are trying to build out their cinematic universe but it all comes across as a rush to get excitement for their Justice League ensemble film.
The Joker (Jared Leto) wasn’t really a part of the main story line AT ALL which was disappointing goes against what the trailer might have you believe. He was more a distraction from a thin plot and seemed wasted… could have been much more interesting if he filled the role that the Enchantress had in the film because he showed promise but we really didn’t get to see enough. And with talk that a lot more of the Joker was left on the cutting room floor it makes you question exactly what the original intent of the film was going to be and why they steered away from it.
With both Batman and the Joker they really should have either gone all out with them having big parts but I suppose you can’t call the film Suicide Squad then, or saved them for the next Batman film because what was left here is simply a waste.
The saving grace for the film though is its attitude and humour, something that was sorely missing from a lot of Batman vs Superman. It’s hit and miss but still has a pretty decent strike rate and I was entertained through most of it. The big fights get everyone involved and feel like very physical encounters even with the copious amounts of CGI involved. The final showdown is a highlight with some surprisingly stylish choreography and camerawork. It makes for a very satisfying experience.
Will Smith very clearly is the one having to shoulder a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of delivering that previously mentioned attitude, for which he is really good at, but for an ensemble film it does lessen what the other actors can bring in to it and they aren’t always as successful in carrying that torch when Deadshot isn’t around.
Harley and Diablo get their own moments to shine though too which at least tries to create some further inkling of interesting stories but the reliance on flashbacks almost feels like they are only there for padding out the main story. I suppose you could also suggest that it might be an indication that there wasn’t confidence in the opening introductions being able to do right by the characters.
I know I’m coming across as pretty negative here but I had a lot of expectation as to what was coming in Suicide Squad and though I enjoyed it more than Batman vs Superman its lack of cohesion (much like my review I suppose) still has it compare badly to Marvel’s ensemble movies such as Captain America: Civil War.
This is a time when DC should be aiming for WAY more than just being “a little bit better” than their last film… with a pile of new ones on their way we can only hope the pace picks up faster.