For those who haven’t seen Batman vs Superman, I’d take a few careful steps before ploughing on with this review...anyway after the apparent death of Superman, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) sees fit to recruit a group of supervillains to protect the world from future Supermen with far more sinister intentions. These supervillains are Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez).
Meanwhile, an ancient witch named Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) escapes from her imprisonment when June Moore (also played by Cara) accidentally releases her spirit, and seeks to punish mankind for her imprisonment. There’s only one team available for this suicidal mission....
After the immense critical and financial success of all Marvel’s ensemble movies (The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War) DC decided to give the superhero/villain ensemble movie a crack. So they decided to bring in a motely gang of criminals, psychopaths and hitmen who are described as the worst of the worst. The ensemble cast of characters is where the main problems lie, however. Whilst Marvel managed to introduce their characters and develop their relationships with each other effectively, Suicide Squad fails to do this. Director David Ayer tries to introduce all the members of the Suicide Squad in the space of 15 minutes using ‘cool’ montages and popular music rather than anything coherent. It's too flash, too desperate to appeal to a modern generation it comes across as rather naff.
The poor introduction to all the major players doesn’t get the film off to a good start and as a result it takes a while before we begin to feel a smidgen of emotion for any of the characters. Deadshot’s quite effective and humane relationship with his daughter is the most engaging aspect of the film, making him the most human of all the characters whilst affection for Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo grows the more he gets to do. Margot Robbie’s performance as the crazed Harley Quinn is excellent (she’s the best thing in the film) but her relationship with The Joker (they’re lovers) leaves the audience rather malnourished. Her character is entertaining rather than actually engaging. As a team, they don't really work because if any character where to sacrifice themselves for another, it would never come off as believable.
Outside of the fact that, over time, it’s possible to grow to like some of characters, there’s very little that’s worth writing home about. The plot is an incredibly uninspired and incoherent world domination story led by a poorly written villain (in a comic book movie? What a shocker!). The plot’s incoherence is perhaps mostly due to studio interference (see Fan4istic 4) whose meddling was perhaps the reason why the film’s script will be peppered with questions concerning its clarity regarding plot points and character motivations for many months to come. Even worse is the film’s cinematography in which cinematographer Roman Vasyanov decides to shoot the film’s pivotal action sequence in foggy and dark surroundings, wasting the potential that the 15 certificate handed to it (they could have used this opportunity to ramp up the blood splattering violence as Deadpool did). The editing itself is pretty poor as it seems to cut away just as a joke is made, leaving most jokes to fall embarrassingly flat.
The film’s marketing campaign centered heavily around the new Joker, and Jared Leto threw himself into the role with so much devotion that he arguably got carried away by sending used condoms to his co-stars. Why? Beats me. It makes about as much sense as anything in the film. Disappointingly, The Joker’s role is minimal (despite the heavy marketing), this leaves Jared Leto greatly disadvantaged when he’s trying to fill the shoes of other performers who have already made The Joker the memorable villain he is. If Leto had more to do, rather than appear mostly in flashback, his performance would have had a greater impact.
The main dividing factor between Marvel and DC is that Marvel took time to introduce their characters before throwing them altogether, DC on the other hand went all in, played all their cards and it failed. Perhaps, like the Marvel films, DC should have dedicated each (or a select few at least) character a film of their own before throwing them all in the mixing pot.