sui­cide squad

DC’s Dirty Dozen

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

Sui­cide Squad is faced with a task that prob­a­bly even the hard­est, cra­zi­est or most bru­tal mem­bers of the tit­u­lar su­pervil­lain team would think twice about tak­ing on. It has to re­as­sure fans of DC comic book movies that their uni­verse can be just as cre­atively fun as the com­pe­ti­tion, while at the same time jug­gling an en­sem­ble that’s packed more densely than a tube car­riage at rush hour.

For­tu­nately, in David Ayer (End Of Watch, Fury) it has some­one with pas­sion and an­ar­chic hu­mour to go with the style. Act­ing as both writer and di­rec­tor here, he’s largely able to wran­gle to­gether Hol­ly­wood heavy­weights such as Will Smith, ris­ing stars in­clud­ing Mar­got Rob­bie and Joel Kin­na­man, and an as­sorted batch of lu­natics, badasses and beasts, with­out any of them dom­i­nat­ing so com­pletely that it feels un­even. Smith’s Dead­shot, Rob­bie’s Har­ley Quinn, and to a lesser de­gree, Jared Leto’s pimped-out ver­sion of the Joker take some of the fo­cus, but there’s enough ma­te­rial to go around, with a par­tic­u­larly tough per­for­mance from Vi­ola Davis as the gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial who brings them to­gether.

Com­pared to the growl­ing, gri­mac­ing world of Bat­man V Su­per­man, Sui­cide Squad at least lets the bad guys be colour­ful and en­ter­tain­ing, with Rob­bie a gig­gly de­light and Smith more en­gaged and quippy than he’s been for a while. Ayer also lets the sound­track do some of the heavy lift­ing, with the mu­si­cal ac­com­pa­ni­ment skip­ping be­tween the likes of Queen, The Rolling Stones and Lil’ Wayne with wild aban­don: this is a di­rec­tor who un­der­stands how to put his mark on a movie.

What he can’t do, how­ever, is com­pletely over­come some of the more an­noy­ing tropes of the genre. The early meet-the-team se­quence, de­spite some en­joy­able mo­ments, feels like it could in­clude Cap­tain Ex­po­si­tion as part of the col­lec­tive, with the line-up and the mis­sion ex­plained sev­eral times and every point ham­mered home. And when the gang fi­nally hits the streets of Mid­way City to con­front the big threat, it’s just an­other CGI-heavy bat­tle boast­ing a big glow­ing thing and an army of weird crea­tures that look like they’ve waltzed out of a ’70s episode of Doc­tor Who.

Sui­cide Squad doesn’t com­pletely over­come the is­sues that the DC cin­e­matic uni­verse has ex­pe­ri­enced so far, then, but this is def­i­nitely a con­fi­dent step in the right di­rec­tion, and if fu­ture di­rec­tors are al­lowed to take the gloves off things can only im­prove from here on out. James White

Def­i­nitely a step in the right di­rec­tion

The Women’s In­sti­tute im­me­di­ately re­alised the room had been dou­ble-booked.

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