The Best of the Worst
Suicide Squad. If you listen to some DC super fans this was an incredible achievement that is only paralleled by unicorns shooting rainbows out of their horn and pooping skittles. On the other hand if you listen to a lot of critics they will claim it’s an affront on film as a medium and something that is so bad that your eyes will crust over and your brain will dissolve and leak out of your ear.
In reality it’s somewhere between the two. There are absolutely worse films than this. There are absolutely worse superhero films than this. You only have to re-wind a few months to the drab BVS or a few months further to have the Fantastic Four confirm this.
Suicide squad is structured a bit like Craptastic Four in that it starts quite strongly but then gives up half way through, hides at the bottom of a well and gently sobs itself to sleep.
The initial recruitment montage is pretty good. It holds that fun, fast paced bubblegum hyper-violence that the trailers promised and apart from a rather awkward and forced cameo from the Bat it’s exactly the sort of thing we were looking for.
Very quickly we are introduced to the best of the worst of humanity and characters that you’ve probably never heard of unless you read DC’s fiction. Diablo (Jay Hernandez)? Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney)? How about the commander in chief Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) anyone? No?!
These quick introductions are great because it provides a surprisingly good basis from which to build the characters whilst keeping it fun and fresh. However, equal screen time and story is given to everyone and as a result exactly none of our anti-heroes ever truly feel whole. In fact those who do get less screen time such as Katana (Karen Fukuhara) feel as deep as a PowerPoint presentation. “Name: Katana. Japanese. She traps souls in her sword and cries. This graph shows our cumulative growth patterns and here’s a motivational quote.”
On the flip side is Deadshot (Will Smith) who is incredibly likeable and how could he not be? This is the most “Will Smith” performance from Will Smith in a long time.
Thankfully it’s not overpowering. This isn’t Will Smith and a bunch of other losers because we also have Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) who is almost certainly the best thing in the movie.
Not only because of her skimpy outfits, but man… them outfits!
Harley Quinn injects fun into the film even when it’s plummets into a pool of sewage towards the end. I just wish that her loud and kooky attitude was included as part of the squads background noise and not just that the comic-relief countdown timer has hit zero.
This is symptomatic of a film not really knowing what it wants to be. Guardians of the Galaxy had an unlikely cool team spirit but then again it should be grim and grizzly like BvS but then again… Deadpool was great. “Add in some comedy… and whilst you are at it you may as well add a world threatening enemy. X-Men did.”
Towards the end of the film the script needed to be tightened, the slow mo needed to be removed and most importantly the villain needed to be low-key, not all powerful. Strong enough to need superheroes but not powerful enough to need Batman and company. A perfect excuse to put the leashes on the squad and give them an introductory test run.
Instead, we get Enchantress (Cara Delavinge). The worst, overpowered, super villain who is defeated too easily ever depicted on film. She is a bullet proof, belly dancing, young/old smoke lady spirit thing with a swooshy whirlpool of death who can turn anyone (except the suicide squad apparently?!) into half granite, half blackberry people. And why? Because fuck you that’s why! Brilliant. Cheers for the explanation Warner Bros.
Suicide Squad is, however, worth a watch. Just set your expectations accordingly. I did, and when I left the cinema I felt entertained enough to not be disappointed. I am very much looking forward to a solo Harley Quinn film yet at the same time sceptical of any future DC film.
Has the DCEU thrown itself off a bridge? Not quite, but it is starting to feel like it’s hanging by a thread.
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ Will Smith
+ Cool recruitment montage
+ Harley Quinn
– Abysmal villain
– Some terrible scripting
– Doesn’t know what it want’s to be