When I first heard about a movie being made about Suicide Squad, I got fairly excited. I mean, what’s not to like about a movie that sees a ragtag team of villains teaming up to fight for a good cause? A superhero movie where the bad guys take the lead? It’s basically The Dirty Dozen set in the DC Universe. You have to admit that - at least on paper - it looked pretty good. And when that first trailer was released, it didn’t do anything to diminish that enthusiasm.
The movie starts with government operative Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) launching the idea to take the worst of the worst and place them under the command of a military hotshot (Joel Kinnaman). The reasoning being that they are best qualified to take out the next supervillain. So they spring Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Aussie Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), gangbanger El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and the Cajun mutant Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) from jail and tada, you have yourself a Suicide Squad. And not a moment too soon, because just then an ancient witch is trying to mess up our world. Talk about good timing!
Normally in these kind of movies, the best part is where the team gets put together, trains, bonds and becomes a unit, while already exposing some kind of friction that will cause a problem further down the road. Unfortunately direct David Ayer (Fury, End Of Watch) doesn’t seem to be interested in taking this route and pretty much drops the squad right in the action, without giving the viewer a chance to start caring about the characters.
Oh, The Joker is in here somewhere as well. It never really becomes clear why though. The storyline is wholly unnecessary and the movie would have been better off without it. And at least then, we would have been spared Jared Leto’s take on the character. He dishes out a lame imitation of Jack Nicholson with a bit of Heath Ledger’s amazing performance thrown in and at one point sounds like captain Jack Sparrow. I’d tell him to focus on his music instead, but I guess we can all agree that 30 Seconds To Mars is equally terrible.
The biggest ray of light comes in the form of Margot Robbie’s delightful performance. She hits all the right notes in her portrayal of Harley Quinn, laughing at her own jokes and looking forward to the chance of inflicting pain on someone with a naughty sparkle in her eye. She almost succeeds in saving this movie all on her own and definitely made me look forward to the Harley Quinn spinoff that we have heard about.
In the end, Suicide Squad isn’t an entirely wasted effort. If you manage to turn off your brain, it’s even kind of enjoyable. But it had the potential of being great and it’s a damn shame it didn’t manage to live up to it.