DC’s Dirty Dozen
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.