It’s not unusual for me to be conflicted about films like Suicide Squad — blockbusters that are strategically marketed to please my inner geek, but then fail to deliver on what months of enjoyable trailers, teasers, exclusive images and music videos promised.
Here’s my two cents (and all you need to know really): the eternal fan in me loved every minute of seeing these campy villains on the big screen, but the relentless film consumer and reviewer was left wanting.
Directed by David Ayer, Suicide Squad brought together some of the biggest stars to play DC’s baddest villains including Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as the Joker, and Jay Hernandez as El Diablo. Frankly you can’t go wrong with this lot. Margot Robbie is a firecracker as Quinn, and completely fearless as her character goes through the motions. She’s fun, addictive, scary, disturbing and undeniably the best part of the film. The odds were always stacked against Leto, who was given the tough task of following Heath Ledger’s acclaimed performance of the Joker. But then again, this isn’t a man who follows. Instead, Leto paved his own way, crafting a colourful, creepy and unique version of the infamous villain with a killer laugh to boot.
Joel Kinnaman is also a stand out as Rick Flag, particularly when paired with Will Smith’s Deadshot. Their relationship felt the most genuine and grounded, and it was all the more rewarding to see them form a mutual respect after spending the first half of the film at odds. When it comes to Jay Hernandez, people really don’t make enough fuss. An actor with real heart and raw talent, his character’s backstory provided the perfect opportunity for Hernandez to shine.
You won’t have a hard time settling in and enjoying the ride as every character is introduced. Ayer lingers just long enough to tell the right story before moving on at lightening speed to keep us wanting more. But by the time the character intros are done, the film’s issues make themselves known.
While Suicide Squad is well paced and I never once found myself bored, quite the opposite in fact, there were a few things that just didn’t sit right. Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress not only looked off, but just didn’t hit the right notes when it mattered the most, and I found myself giggling during moments where the character was meant to come across as threatening.
While the story made perfect sense in terms of why these baddies were being brought together, the fast pace at which they go from perfect strangers to BFFs felt too rushed. With their various issues and character ticks it would have been far more interesting to see at least some resistance to working together. Rather than highlighting and playing with each squad member’s villainous nature, the film is rushed towards a showdown with a disappointing big bad.
Despite these hiccups Suicide Squad does deliver some seriously cool action (though it takes a while to get there), entertaining characters and an impactful soundtrack. A sequel would be welcome, granted it leaves behind the flashy set pieces and gets down to the nitty gritty of these well documented characters.
Image source: Roadshow Films