A swat team of supervillains are cajoled into saving the world in yet another frustrating movie from DC. But, hey, at least this one’s fun…
Oh, Suicide Squad. One minute it’s going to be the saviour of the DC movie universe, the next critics are tearing it to shreds. Just in case you need reminding of this, though, I would urge you to judge the film for yourself. While there are real deficiencies in Suicide Squad that are hard to ignore, I genuinely had a lot of fun with it.
First of all, it has to be said that the film’s plot is very scattershot with not much in the way of dramatic weight. This isn’t helped by yawn-inducing villain – we’re sadly used to underdeveloped baddies in superhero movies, but this one takes the biscuit. He/she/it (I don’t want to spoil it) is also realised with some laughably bad CGI. The script is likewise not as hilarious as the trailers suggested, and you’ll mostly raise a smile rather than laugh out loud.
And yet what Suicide Squad does have in spades is character and, surprisingly, heart. The film succeeds where Man of Steel and Batman v Superman failed in that it actually has likeable characters – even if they are supervillains. Sure, the squad is too bloated and certain members – Katana in particular – have very little to do, but mostly you’ll grow to care for the team (even if the origins story flashbacks are a little crowbarred in). Will Smith is, well, Will Smith as Deadshot but he’s just as cool as usual. Viola Davis is brilliant as steely government agent Amanda Waller and Jay Hernandez should be commended for making a low grade character like El Diablo compelling.
But the star of the film is, of course, the one, the only, the infamous Harley Quinn. As someone who is not a fan of the modern incarnation of Harley in the comics and games, I fully expected to be disappointed – but Margot Robbie actually gives a sparkling performance that makes up for the differences to the original Batman: The Animated Series character. There are issues – the film shies away from fully exploring the complexities of her abusive relationship with Mistah J and there are some awkward moments where the camera leers over her – but Robbie can’t be faulted. Crucially, she understands the strange mix of sweet and psycho that makes the character so popular.
But what about her puddin’, who was featured so prominently in the trailers? Well, anyone who’s seeing the film purely for Jared Leto’s Joker should know that he is used incredibly sparingly and makes no real impact on the plot. As well as that, this Clown Prince of Crime seems to be nothing more than a gangster with green hair. Still, at least he is given some depth through his love for Harley, which is unusually portrayed as being completely genuine.
Overall, Suicide Squad probably isn’t a very well-constructed film – and yet it does have a welcome breezy tone, fun character dynamics and, well, Harley Quinn. Worst heroes ever? Absolutely not, but they do need a bit of improvement before their next mission.