Buzz for David Ayer’s star-studded anti-hero flick, Suicide Squad, was stratospheric for months prior to its release. With much attention focusing on just how bat-sh*t crazy ‘method’ Jared Leto – DC’s new Joker – was, and crazy shenanigans a seemingly daily occurrence on an apparently intense film set, fingers were firmly crossed that the Fury helmer’s latest work would be the awesome comic adaptation that the heavily criticised studio was craving for.
After the snooze-inducing events of Batman v Superman, it was the turn of the bad‘uns to take centre stage. A gang of rapscallions, most notably Will Smith’s gun-for-hire assassin, Deadshot, and Margot Robbie’s psychiatrist-turned-unstable-Joker-lover, Harley Quinn, the ‘squad’ are thrown together in a hush-hush government initiative (led by badass boss, Amanda Waller played by Viola Davis) to kick some ass in highly dangerous situations. If they succeed, great – if they don’t, throw ‘em under the bus. Simples.
Expectedly, the gang of supervillains gets mixed up in a whole heap of not-so-well-explained chaos, resulting in plenty of death, destruction and, Marvel-esque, throw away gags, tinged with a dose of sadistic bantz. As earlier trailers suggested, the tone was necessarily lighter, funnier and full of bad guy quirks in comparison with previous dark and dingy efforts from the DC crew
The film’s beginning is one long introduction; flashbacks and cut-aways are in full force to introduce a not-so-familiar cast of crooks to an expecting audience. With funky graphics and fist-pumping tunes, Suicide Squad’s start was exactly what the doctor ordered: good, not-so-clean fun. The charismatic Fresh Prince played Deadshot as Will Smith, baddie style; the comedic relief, tinged with a deadly shot and a charming smile. Robbie impressed as the creepy Quinn, while even the much-maligned Jai Courtney (you know, the Aussie guy who’s always in crappy action flicks…) seemed to be enjoying himself as the feisty, if somewhat unsubstantial, Boomerang.
Yet Ayer’s enjoyable outing is one gigantic mess. Like the darkest night to the sunniest of days, it’s a tonal and structural nightmare as we shift from the light-hearted opening hour to the cramped confusion of the later action sequences. Toing and froing from a head-scratching Rick Flag-led (Joel Kinnaman) black ops mission, to even more flashbacks and dream sequences ranging from fun and feisty to overly dark and fluffy, all climaxing in a finale that felt more Ghostbusters parody than Hollywood blockbuster.
Leto’s Prince of Crime is no more than a supporting character; a surprise given the coverage he received in the movie’s build-up, yet, in my eyes, not a criticism. A gangsta Joker with a massive knife fetish, the Oscar winner acts the crap out of one of cinema’s most infamous villains. Although we’re only teased with his existence, mostly (shock, horror) through the use of flashbacks, it’s an intriguing take on The Joker, and one that, on initial viewing, will ruffle many a feather with Leto’s characteristically over-the-top display.
Far from perfect, yet never dull; Suicide Squad has enough of the thrills, spills and jokes to thinly paper over its rather wide cracks.