Today: May 22, 2024

Suicide Squad

Oh dear – if this is their franchise-saving trump card then DC might be done. Yes David Ayer‘s film delivers more fun and more spark than the insufferable Batman v Superman, but that really isn’t saying much. Dawn of Justice was suffocated by baffling levels of stone-faced seriousness; Suicide Squad– on the other hand – is just a bit naff. It’s a shame given the early promise, each of the many, many players getting a neat introductory backstory accompanied by the familiar sounds of Credence, The Rolling Stones and AC/DC. Once the intros are done, though, the wheels fall off.

For those unfamiliar, the titular Squad are a team of bickering supervillains strong-armed into doing good by a gloriously no-nonsense government agent (Viola Davis) and her gun-toting lackey (Joel Kinnaman). Davis is superb, effortlessly stealing the show from the more eccentric characters under her command. These include cold-blooded hitman/concerned father Deadshot (Will Smith), hoody-wearing lizard man Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and psychotic Barbie doll Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).

Smith shares decent back-and-forth chemistry with Kinnaman’s Rick Flag, but Robbie’s the only one to leave a lasting impression. The rest are essentially walking gimmicks – Jai Courtney particularly short-changed as the woefully but accurately named Captain Boomerang. Even Jared Leto‘s Joker fails to make a splash. The Oscar winner supposedly went full-on method to prepare for the role and – given his meagre screen time – you’re left wondering why he bothered. Comparisons with Nicholson, Hamill and Ledger aren’t really fair – his appearances are just too fleeting.

The real trouble begins when Cara Delevingne‘s Enchantress goes rogue, deciding – for no particular reason – to build a world-ending weapon. Brief mention is made of puny humans no longer considering her and her ancient kind worthy of worship, but really it’s just an excuse to strip the model down to her underwear. As she powers her doomsday device by gyrating around, the grunt work is left to her glowing, Stretch Armstrong-like brother and an army of henchman with heads like rotten avocados. It’s as camp as it sounds, playing out like a rejected script for The Mummy reboot.

For the rest of the film our posse of anti-heroes battle waves of mindless zombie goons as they make their way through a dreary, half-deserted city. The action is uninspired and oddly cheap-looking, the dialogue utterly criminal – Killer Croc and poor Cap Boomerang coming off the worst. After a brief bit of barroom soul-searching we eventually get to the climactic stand-off. Cue a swirling vortex of overblown, rain-soaked nonsense that – at its absolute best – produces the occasional moment of unintentional laughter. Roll on the sequel.

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