By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s review is yet another superhero movie. We have had the awesome Deadpool, the thrilling X-Men Apocalypse, the dull Batman vs. Superman and the tame Captain America: Civil War.
Now it’s the turn of the anti-heroes from DC Comics, the Suicide Squad. Cinema-goers have been excited for this gang of misfits and now the wait is over.
One key question though, is it worth the wait?
Suicide Squad focuses on a group of imprisoned ‘super-powered’ criminals who are recruited by a secret government agency to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency, which inevitably leads to chaos.
Making an appearance in the squad is Deadshot (Will Smith), “the most wanted hitman in the world”; Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), The Joker’s unstable lover; Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), a guy who chucks boomerangs; El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), a human flame (very much like the human torch in Fantastic Four); Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), a muscular reptile-man; and finally the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), a former archaeologist who is cursed by the spirit of an ancient witch.
The wide range of crazy characters looks great written down, but in reality on the big screen, they aren’t as scary as they seem. It turns out that they’re not really as evil as advertised and especially compared to their guards who beat them and treat them poorly. Throughout the film, the ‘bad guys’ are really the ‘good guys’ which is a massive contradiction to the narrative.
Whether they are bad guys or good guys, I must compliment a few of the cast on their performances. The standout by far is the terrific Margot Robbie. She is majestic as the unstable and unpredictable Harley Quinn. She has the best lines in the movie and perfectly delivers them every time. On the contery, Will Smith is giving very limited material to work with as Deadshot but certainly hold his own. Boomerang, ‘fire-man’ and the strangely quiet, sword-wielding assassin all have very little to say and do which causes minimal impact on the film. Regarding Harley Quinn though, I would argue that the camera shots of Robbie are sometimes a little unnecessary. She is sexualised quite a lot when she turns away from the camera with David Ayer focusing on her hot pants 90% of the time. Margot is a talented actress who smashes it as Harley Quinn, there's no need for the leering camera.
Two of the characters that are disappointing are Enchantress and The Joker. To have Delevingne leading the line as the main antagonist is a poor decision. She is too weak to be the villain, especially with someone as well-known and evil as The Joker being in the midst. Cara is too wooden and being honest, doesn’t fear audiences enough. The Joker is only utilised as a ‘super-cameo’. Leto puts in a decent shift as the manic hell raiser but it isn’t a patch on Heath’s effort. I know they shouldn’t be compared but I was simply in awe of Ledger’s Joker and Jared’s version became progressive tedious. On the whole, we just don’t see enough of the two ‘villains’ to build up a relationship with them and therefore fear the duo. When the climax comes, you feel very disconnected and frustrated.
Don’t get me wrong, this film isn't a total disaster. Margot Robbie really saves this film and I just wanted more screen time with her. It’s difficult to pin what exactly went wrong with this movie but we have to look at the usually sound David Ayer. His past films suggest he would nail this but I think he’s overdone it. His antihero story is a disappointment, especially compared to the brilliant Guardians of the Galaxy. Where ‘GotG’ shone, Suicide Squad doesn’t deliver. We are missing the emotional back stories, the linear narrative and bubbling action. Some sequences are dramatic and colourful in this picture, but they are too few and far between.
I think the late re-work Ayer and the team undertook was probably a mistake. I think Suicide Squad should have followed the Deadpool ‘dark-humour’ route. With the certificate of 15, I expected it to too. This film could have easily been given a 12A. This is certainly worth a watch, it’s better than Batman vs. Superman and Captain America. However, it doesn’t reach the heights of X-Men Apocalypse and Deadpool. Was it worth the wait…? Potentially… even though you leave the cinema feeling a little frustrated.
Cineroom’s Rating: 2.5 Stars
Suicide Squad is currently showing worldwide in selected cinemas – certificate 15