By Will Barber Taylor
Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous imprisoned super criminals, provide them the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them to defeat an enigmatic, unstoppable enemy. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda “The Wall” Waller has gathered a group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose. Once they figure out they were chosen to fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die beating the odds or decide it’s every man for himself?
DC hasn’t been getting the best rap recently. The company that created Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman alongside a slew of other memorable super heroes and villains hasn’t quite been able to get its footing in the world of comic book movies. After the mixed reception to Man of Steel and the is-this-really-real-why-is-lex-luthor-putting-a-jar-of-his-own-urine-in-this-film of Batman vs Superman, it seemed as if DC only had one more roll of the dice. And that roll was Suicide Squad.
Based partly on the 1980s comic book version of Task Force X with sprinklings of the New 52 adaption of the concept, Suicide Squad was meant to be the saviour of DC’s franchise. Whilst the film certainly doesn’t redeem DC entirely from the what the Bat arrange ness of BvS, it is far from the petrol soaked disaster that other critics have made out it is.
To get the bad things out of the way first – the plot is paper thin in the first half of the film and becomes translucent towards the end. Whilst the casting is mostly excellent (more on that later) the whole thing buckles under the weight of its cast. There is nothing to keep them in place, resorting to Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress dancing on the spot in a metallic bikini- it’s never explained what exactly it is but that’s the safest bet. Yet even whilst the villain of the piece is given nothing better to do than dance, the “anti-heroes” aren’t given much else to do. They arrive, stomp around for a bit, spew some dialogue and before you know where you are its the denouement.
“I can’t wait to show you my toys” – Leto’s Joker is no laughing matter
The other problematic element of the film is somewhat minor in comparison to the lack of a solid plot. Jared Leto’s Joker is….odd. Not in the way that the Clown Prince of Crime should be. He is not manic in the way Heath Ledger was, pranksterish like Romero or even sinister like Nicholson. He’s…. just a bit odd. Not frighteningly odd but simply odd. Rather than boosting the movie, Leto’s Joker simply deflates it. His cheesy pimp act seems as if it would work better in a parody of Pulp Fiction than in a “serious” DC film.
Turning to the good things about the film, as previously mentioned, the majority of the cast is great. Will Smith’s Deadshot is charismatic and likeable only in the way Will Smith can be though we don’t get to see his full potential because of the rickety script. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn has been one of the main promotional points of the film, however she does somewhat suffer from the same scripting treatment as Will Smith. It doesn’t help that her chemistry with Leto’s Joker is somewhat lacking; there’s lots of sparkle but not much sizzle. Similarly, the other stand out member of the cast, Viola Davis’s Amanda Waller is given even less than Deadshot and Quinn.
This somewhat cuts to the heart of the film’s problem – it has all the right elements – good casting, great marketing, a good soundtrack and impressive cinematography. Yet the most vital ingredient – a good script – is missing. Like a soufflé without air, Suicide Squad soon deflates. It may not be the death nail for DC that some claim but it is hardly a marvellous cure either.