When it comes to superhero movies, story-lines aimed at both comic fans and adult audiences are a rare thing. Thankfully, if you’ve been following DC’s Animated Universe, you’ll know that what these releases lack in polish, they more than make up for in plot, dialogue, and chutzpah.
Despite being the 31st film in the series, Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay is daring, fresh, and all-sorts of fun. While superhero films tend to assume their audiences know nothing about comics, Hell To Pay, demands a fair amount of back-knowledge from its viewers. Characters like Scandal Savage and Knockout aren’t exactly mainstream, and a key element of the plot hinges on events that happened in an alternate timeline.
However what makes these animations such winners are their willingness to treat their audience like grown ups. While the Suicide Squad film presented us with a fairly fluffy bunch of cooks and crazies, here The Squad are every-inch the backstabbing murders that made the comics so exhilarating. And, while Marvel are currently embracing the idea of R-rated films, DC Animations have always come with a PH-13 or above certification, allowing for grittier dialogue and action.
The theme here – the search for card that allows its holder to go to heaven regardless of past sins – adds extra depth and DC is to be applauded for its inclusion of a lesbian couple into the traditionally testosterone-fuelled superhero arena.
A nice batch of Blu-Ray/DVD extras includes featurettes on Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, a look at plot macguffins, and a writer/producer commentary with James Tucker and Alan Bennet.
Roll on animation number 32.