Written by Sophie Butcher
It’s been one of the most hyped blockbusters of the year, and has raked in a fortune in it’s opening weekend – but the latest installment in DC’s comic universe has been faced with negative and mixed reviews.
If you’re unfamiliar with the film, the (supposed) plot revolves around a number of villains (superheroes without the hero part) that are locked up in jail, which the US government decide to put together into Taskforce X, a team of baddies (or metahumans, as they’re referred to) with superior abilities that they can send into dangerous situations with nothing to lose.
The gang includes the Joker’s girlfriend Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), a slightly deranged girl with a penchant for hotpants and circus tricks; lethal hitman Deadshot (Will Smith) who never misses a shot; serial arsenist El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) who can conjure fire from his hands; and Aussie crook Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) who apparently is good with knives and loves a fluffy pink unicorn.
There’s also turns from Viola Davis as mastermind of the operation Amanda Waller, Cara Delevingne as June Moone and her witchy alter ego Enchantress, and Joel Kinnaman as squad leader Rick Flag.
Unfortunately, and we’re truly sad to say this about a film we were looking forward to so much, but it really was a disappointment.
The real issue lies in the core foundations of the film; the plot, the method of storytelling, and the editing. It’s choppy, but too much so, and flits from place to place leaving the viewer confused and unable to understand what’s actually going on, never mind the motives of the characters. Some have said it’s a film full of trailer material and we have to agree, that’s kind of what it feels like. There’s some cool moments and one liners, but it’s pointless if it isn’t backed up by an actual cohesive rest of the film. It felt as though each scene was literally lifted from the page of a comic book, but not translated into something that would work for cinema.
The structure of the film feels too simple – we’re introduced to the characters, then they’re sent on a mission. Simple is fine, but it feels like there was no real effort put into it, and some nuances of the story we’re shown (the Joker and Harley jumping into a vat of something?) are just plain weird and don’t add to the overall arc.
Not everything is dire – we actually quite liked the first half of the film, where we see each of the villains in their cells and are shown flashbacks to their past. We enjoyed the jail sequences too, but they’re definitely still not perfect, and even the hyper stylized look and feel to the film didn’t put us off too much.
It’s when the squad head to their mission that things really go downhill; it feels like huge chunks of scenes have been cut out, things move along too quickly and yet not fast enough, and it all just becomes a little dull. And a lot of it just doesn’t make sense – the thing they’re trying to defeat is essentially a demi-god, but apparently they can be destroyed by normal bullets, a boomerang and a girl with a baseball bat?
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is definitely the highlight of the entire show; she’s got a genuine flash of crazy in her eyes, can move between the highs and lows of the character and you’re essentially waiting for the next scene with her in it throughout. Will Smith as Deadshot is also good – you feel comfortable watching him and he’s probably the most actually developed character, as we see glimpses of his family life too.
Another thing that really irked us, and that you’ve probably noticed in this review, was the sheer lack of the Joker. Jared Leto as Gotham’s favourite criminal was built up so much, it seemed as though he was to be the core villain of the film, but he was nothing more than a sideline story that could have been cut out altogether. Leto was okay in the part itself, although he was certainly no Heath Ledger. Though, to be honest, we didn’t see enough of him to actually judge his performance, and felt mislead by the trailers as to how big a part he would play.
And, despite being sold as the ‘Worst. Heroes. Ever’ and the most evil of supers, there just wasn’t enough badness and darkness to really draw you in. We wanted to see a group of people that were truly despicable – but likeable – and see some kind of arc where they become heroic, but that doesn’t really exist. They’re just not that bad, for a group of baddies – it could have been so much darker.
There’s nothing worse than feeling thoroughly frustrated and disappointed at a film’s wasted potential, and unfortunately that’s all Suicide Squad really delivered for us.
We’re still holding out hope for DC after seeing the trailers for Wonder Woman and the Justice League, but they’re going to have to do a lot better than this if they hope to compete with Marvel’s anthology of successes.
Overall, just a 2/5 for us. Sorry, Suicide Squad. We’d hoped for better from you.
Here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it, and we’d love to hear your thoughts on the film!
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