Thursday, 11 August 2016

Suicide Squad

This may have been the most difficult review I've written to date. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, almost everyone would have by now seen the initial reviews of Suicide Squad, most of which seem to be taking the Worst Heroes Ever tagline into the Worst Film Ever territory. With all the negative chatter going on around this film, I wanted to add a more comprehensive and maybe slightly lighter review to the pile as someone who has been looking forward to this film since its inception. Unpopular opinions may appear below.

Suicide Squad, headed by an A-List cast including Will Smith, Jared Leto, Cara Delevingne and Viola Davis (also including Aussie talents Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney), brings together the wacky and weird in the continuation of the slow-to-get-on-its-feet DC Film Universe.  After the events of Batman V Superman, Amanda Waller (Davis) presents the US Government with an important and frightening conundrum: What if a being such as Superman, a being with unlimited power and superiority, decided to destroy the world without warning? Who on our planet could possibly be strong enough to stop them? Enter Task Force X, otherwise known as the Suicide Squad, a ragtag group of criminals each with their own unique and terrifying abilities, thrown together with the promise of time off their sentences if they cooperate and providing the Government with the perfect scapegoat if they fail. Faced with the constant threat of imminent death, the team (under the watchful eye of their reluctant leader Commander Rick Flag a.k.a. Joel Kinnaman) must join together to stop a force more powerful than any of them could ever imagine, and perhaps wreak a little havoc along the way.

The positives: Call me a fangirl, but this film was just fun to watch. These characters, each positively insane in their own ways, are very entertaining and work really well together on screen. Its clear that the (supposed) emotional turmoil director David Ayer put the cast through paid off, as all the characters had great chemistry with each other and were as believable as a bunch of off kilter teammates can be. Standouts however had to be Robbie’s Harley Quinn (no surprises there, most people already loved her in the trailers) who delivers the right amount of instability with equal parts charm and class, and Smith’s Deadshot, who is surprisingly one of the most humanising characters and starts to become an anchor for the group. As well as the pair, Davis' Amanda Waller was both sadistic and entertaining as well, bringing her all to the table and making us all question which side we're really on. The biggest surprise here had to be Jai Courtney’s ‘Captain Boomerang’: I’m not sure if I’m biased because I’m an Australian, but I really resonated with his character and enjoyed that mannerisms and blunt Australian humour. As well as this, the action sequences were a visual eyeful and gave each character their fighting moment to shine.

The negatives: The main issue with this film (and this seems to be a reoccurring issue with films lately) is once again, the pacing. Whereas Man of Steel and Batman V Superman were far too slow in the narrative structure making them feel like films that seemed to go nowhere, this film is equally as choppy and badly edited, making it feel as though its trying to go everywhere at once. Its understandable that with such a vast array of characters the issue of giving everyone equal weight in the film can be tricky, however I thought this was an issue that may have been resolved by the re-shoots done before its release. While the story was fun to see play out, it wasn’t the best that could’ve been done for such a rich and engaging subject matter as the Squad. As well as this, I can’t write a review without mentioning DC’s new Joker: if you’re thinking this is a Joker-centred film, you’re off by a long shot. His presence in the film is limited, playing more of a wildcard who throws a spanner in the works rather than a central character. While I enjoyed Jared Leto’s performance as a step away from previous Jokers (the idea of the Joker as a mob boss figure in underground Gotham hence Batsy’s vendetta against him refreshes the character), his performance wasn’t groundbreaking enough to warrant all the pre-film behaviour that went on, such as sending the cast dead hogs and (apparently) peeing into Will Smith’s breakfast. I can understand method acting, and I would've understood if the performance was Oscar-worthy, but the shenanigans just don't match the performance. Maybe this is because a lot of his performance was cut out? We'll just have to wait and see.

Although this film has a lot of negatives and needs some work, you can’t ignore the fact that this film has heart and is a fun ride from start to finish. The characters are entertaining, the acting from the big names is believable and enjoyable, and the characterisation makes logical sense (unlike some of the previous DC films released, looking at you Batman V Superman). As a side note, the soundtrack is also excellent. Is it the best film in existence? No. Could you play a drinking game involving this film and the phrase ‘We’re the bad guys/We’re bad guys’? Yes. But overall, its one of those films that you’ll either love, hate, or love to hate. It’s not the Suicide Squad film we deserve, but maybe it’s the one we need right now, and the good news is it’s a step in the right direction for the future of DC. 

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