With Jared Leto, Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman, Cara Delevigne, Jay Hernandez, Common, Ben Affleck
Written & Directed by David Ayer
In the parallel DC and Marvel comic-super-universe, a single hero beyond human ability seems to no longer be good enough (as box office seems to dictate).
Even solo wise-ass Deadpool had several X Men pulled in. After his R-rated movie ran away with the box office, naturally with Suicide Squad we expected them to turn up the nasty side of the superhero genre to lean in the direction of that more adult themed hit.
But, what exactly is "adult" - Sex? Violence? Language? while dressed in tights? The cockey humour of Deadpool almost completely diminished any seriousness (except for his painful parting with his one true love). Suicide Squad is not like Deadpool, and has no sex (except for some innuendo), only a few cuss words, but quite a bit of violence. However, violence also goes by the term "action" doesn't it? - almost making it acceptable. So instead of sex and violence, you get innuendo and action! Works for me. But, being several decades over the 10-12PG age restriction it doesn't matter to me - but would it satisfy parents? I'm not so sure - I thought it would get around a 16 rating. If it weren't fantasy characters it would probably be higher, however except for some supernatural elements, for the most part the film's milieu comes across as very much grounded in the real world… You decide.
Not for one moment will I claim to be an expert on these characters - My comic book history ended somewhere in the early-'80s, but living in the information age, I've always been aware of these characters and their various evolutions over the last three decades into graphic novels from the kiddie comic books, fusing into movies and TV series. (My knowledge did however prove more than sucky when a "pop culture expert" on CNN talked about the upcoming Black Panther movie adaptation being the first black super hero character on screen - uhm, Spawn anyone?)
Anyhow, the fanboys are very meticulous when it comes to the facts, fictions, locations, character traits, coalitions, history, backstories, look, attitude and underwear colour of each major (and minor) character, from protagonist to antagonist. When it comes down to it, for me it is about how the movie entertains me (little inside jokes and homage nods to this or the other is fine, but of no consequence to the whole). Marvel vs DC rivalry also doesn't intrigue me (although some of the darker elements has me leaning towards the latter) - but again, what it boils down to is : is it entertaining, fun, visual, invigorating, wild and crazy? That's pretty much what matters with this genre.
Suicide Squad certainly ticks most of those boxes.
The first reel of this DC property has the viewer introduced to all of the diverse Squad members, each of them highly dangerous, most incarcerated in maximum security. The government devises a plan to use them by pulling together a team to do their bidding in the interest of national (even international) security - in the wake of the people turning on the man of steel in Batman v Superman, and the potential danger he poses humanity with his unparalleled and unregulated power.
If you haven't seen the movie yet, and rather want the filmmakers to surprise you with the 10 vastly varied characters and their mini-backstory introductions, skip this chunk.
The Joker is of course Gotham City's arch villain (and Batman's nemesis, but the two don't cross paths here, although Bruce Wayne makes a cameo). He is not part of the gang, but out running his criminal empire, and plotting to get his girl back. His glam street gangster transformation will have many in two minds.
The Suicide Squad gang all naturally have their varied special abilities:
Deadshot, a stone cold and deadly accurate assassin, has a soft spot - his daughter. Will Smith hardly ever plays evil characters, so it's refreshing to have him tap into his villainous side.
Harley Quinn is Joker's former Arkham asylum psychiatrist while he was locked up - but after escaping he fried her brain and turned her into his crazy Juliet to his demented Romeo. Their unstable love reminds you a little of Natural Born Killers' Mickey and Mallory Knox. My first encounter with Harley Quinn was in a PlayStation game - and her giggly character annoyed the shit out of me! So I was a bit worried. While often grating, she is more tolerable here, but the sassy-nasty, vicious-cute act can get a bit irritating, the most teen (and adult) boys will love her crack creeping hot pants though.
A literal firestarter, Diablo turned his back on his deadly talent, seeing it as a curse.
Enchantress is a 6000 year old witch trapped in the body of archaeologist June Moone, who accidentally unleashed her dark spirit - when revealed, the Enchantress can jump to and from anywhere on the planet but also have the power to destroy everything.
Boomerang is a beer guzzling Aussie blade expert and thief.
Killer Croc is a tough, crocodile-like cannibal ghoul at home in the sewer.
The blade of Asian martial arts expert Katana's sword traps the souls of its victims within in its metal.
Slipknot is a Native American mercenary and rope expert (rounding out this most ethnically representative of teams, also including Caucasian, Black, Asian, Latino, 'lizard' and witch!)
Rick Flag is a mere mortal military man working for the government, in charge of wrangling the rag-tag bunch of psychos. His girlfriend happens to be June Moone.
But the mastermind behind the entire operation is
government hardass Amanda Waller.
Ironically the Suicide Squad's first job happens to be a planet-saving mission spurred on by one of their own - the Enchantress escapes their restraint of her, and resurrects her brother, setting up the destruction of the planet's population (who once worshipped them as gods, but now bowing to machines).
WWII tank drama director David Ayer's predominantly inner city action cop / crime movie style gets blown up to full-on proportion here (having directed Street Kings, End Of Watch and Sabotage, and written The Fast And The Furious, Training Day, and S.W.A.T.), as the heavily armed Suicide Squad head into battle against the Enchantress, her brother and an army she created.
The Joker is the most established character here, but is not as prominent, and after Heath Ledger's take on the character (and obviously his untimely death), anticipation to see this new incarnation has been high and contentious - How many reboots will this nutter (and others) still see in the future?
At times Leto's portrayal comes across as Daniel Tosh acting like Justin Bieber who is doing a Marilyn Manson on acid impersonation (with a smattering of Jim Carey)…
While the score is by Steven Price (as opposed to Zimmer & Junkie XL as in Batman v Superman), the songs in the soundtrack pile in many a classic, from Queen, The Animals, Black Sabbath and the Stones, to Creedence, Bee Gees, War, AC/DC, Rick James, K7, as well as Eminem and White Stripes. But, the soundtrack album hardly features any of these. In stead you get Skrillex with the overrated Rick Ross, that moron Lil' Wayne (and Wiz Khalifa), Grimes, Skylar Grey, and covers of some aforementioned originals by Panic! At The Disco (Bohemian Rhapsody) and ConfidentialMX (I Started A Joke). Predominantly hip-hop slanted, it doesn't represent the impact the other songs add to the actual movie, but naturally was rather aimed at album and download sales.
Twenty One Pilots' light in the trousers song Heathen is hardly a kick-ass closer for the end credits, and in the cinema I thought it was Justin Bieber! (Wow, who would've thunk I'd mention Bieber twice in a review of a movie in which he has zero presence!)
Zack Snyder is on board as executive producer, keeping the continuity and flavour of this DC world in tact as all the new Justice League (and other linked) movies are geared to hit screens.
Now, the question remains, which gang will win in an Anchorman street brawl? The Justice League? The Avengers? X Men? Or Suicide Squad?
4 / B
- Paul Blom
2 3 4 5 6
- A - B -
Click poster images below for reviews of other DC movie versions
let a review decide for you, but for those who need a rating, see the Flamedrop scale below
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished
B: Could Enjoy A
C: Once Should Suffice