Paul Barclay

Suicide Squad – Review

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Earlier this year, we had the incomprehensible Batman V Superman (BvS), which was DC’s attempt at kick-starting their cinematic universe in the wake of Marvel’s extremely successful films. Now, as many have now seen, BvS was essentially hot garbage. A complete mess with some interesting ideas which were buried beneath the awful story and dreadful CGI. Now, we have the next instalment in this franchise, with Suicide Squad. With DC needing a hit or risk their attempted franchise falling apart, did they succeed?

The plot, what there is of it, is that a number of villains are grouped together to do some good in exchange for clemency. Not an original idea, but that is not an issue if done well. For example, look at John Carpenter’s classic Escape From New York, from which Suicide Squad borrows very heavily plot-wise. They are forced into a city to stop an ongoing attack. That is it. Again, little plot is not an issue if the film is interesting or fun.

Suicide Squad is neither interesting or fun. Which is a real shame, because it starts off very well, much like BvS. The first 20 minutes which introduces the main characters is genuinely interesting, despite being exposition heavy. Sadly, once we have had that, the film collapses like an undercooked soufflé. A lot of this is down to the extremely choppy editing, poor script and inconsistent tone. The film seems to be unsure of what it is. At first, it tries to be more fun, using famous songs everywhere it can squeeze them, in a seemingly cynical attempt to emulate the success that Marvel had with Guardians Of The Galaxy and its soundtrack. But once it hits the city, serious mode is activated and all the joy is removed from the world. Not to say there are not attempts at humour, which is welcome after the joyless experience that was BvS, but the jokes rarely land and just come off as really poor.

Also, with any ensemble film, mentions must be made of the cast. Firstly, the good. Margot Robbie is fantastic as Harley Quinn and is very close to the Animated Series version. She is manic, crazy and a little seductive. She also has a little more going on inside, which very few characters have. Will Smith is passable as Deadshot, but quite frankly, this is nothing you have not seen from Will Smith before. He could quite easily have been playing Mike Lowry from Bad Boys. Jay Hernandez is decent also as El Diablo, and again is a character who has a little depth. Finally, special mention for the human charisma vacuum that is Jai Courtney. His performance as Captain Boomerang is actually decent. He gets some of the best humorous moments and it is a shame that his character is so one dimensional.

Now, the bad. Firstly, Joel Kinnaman is as bland as a cheap vanilla ice cream. He is not believable, interesting or real. In fact, one moment so seriously goes against what his character had done already that it was very jarring. Secondly, Cara Delevigne is quite simply awful as Enchantress. A laughable, wretched and distracting performance. Finally, Jared Leto. Now, The Joker is one of the most classic comic book villains ever. A genuine icon, and one that has had many amazing portrayals already, whether it be the egotistical gangster of Jack Nicholson, the anarchic psychopath of Heath Ledger or the animated portrayal of Mark Hamill. Now, all these portrayals did something different, so it was possible for Leto to do a good job. Sadly, and frankly, Leto’s Joker is the absolute worst on-screen portrayal of the character ever. He is essentially Scarface with face paint. He is too rational and it basically does not feel like The Joker.

Once again, DC has blown it. Like with BvS, they had a great idea on paper but the final product was sloppy and badly executed. Suicide Squad is not as bad as BvS, but that is not saying much. DC really need Justice League, Wonder Woman and the as-yet-untitled Batman movie to be successful, because at the moment, they are so far behind Marvel that it is embarrassing.

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