Director: David Ayer
It’s no secret that DC’s cinematic universe hasn’t gotten off to the roaring start that Warner Bros would have hoped for, with their first two big-budget superhero films, Man of Steel and Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, receiving middling critical and commercial success. Now, critical reviews have come flooding in for Suicide Squad and they are, to put it kindly, not great. This will without a doubt disappoint many DC fans, myself very much included, who were hoping for some critical redemption. The truth is, despite the critical curb-stomp, the film, while not perfect, is still, perhaps arguably, good entertainment.
Following on from the events of Dawn of Justice, all around government badass Amanda Waller gets approval from the US military to create a covert mission force comprised of the “worst of the worst.” Making up Waller’s covert team is the assassin who never misses—Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) the Joker’s (Jared Leto) former lover who puts psycho in psychotherapist, Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) the squad’s resident hothead, and old school mutated cannibal Waylon Jones / Killer Croc (Adewale AkinnuoyeAgbaje). Master soldier Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) leads this ragtag group of misfits to defeat the ancient witch, the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne)—who doubles as an archeologist when not being possessed by a mystically deranged witch.
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The characters and cast of Suicide Squad excel. While some characters get more time and focus than others, it becomes clear that director David Ayer clearly understands and cares about all of them. To the surprise of no one, Harley Quinn turns out to be the film’s stand out character. Margot Robbie manages to capture the combination of bubbly excitement and volatile psychosis, all wrapped up in a violent cheerleader look.
One of the biggest selling points of the film was Jared Leto’s new take on the crown prince of crime. Leto definitely makes the role his own, giving us a take on the Joker that has something the others never did—sexuality. It becomes clear that Joker actually loves Harley (as much as Joker could love anything), showing us a different side to the crown prince and princess relationship. There is never a dull moment when these two are on screen together. The main problem with Joker is that he is barely in the film long enough to leave a truly lasting impression, made even more disappointing by the news that much of his footage was cut.
Will Smith as Deadshot is the most well defined character in the film, in part due to his love for his daughter and because of Will Smith’s charm in the role. The rest of the squad doesn’t get as much time as I would have liked, but in an ensemble cast that is to be expected.
The biggest let down is Cara Delevingne as Enchantress; a big misfire for the film. Delevingne does the best with what she is given—unfortunately what she is given is an uninspired, forgettable villain, with a generic plan. This ultimately leaves Delevingne spending the film as either a boring love interest to Kinnaman’s Rick Flag or as a witch with vague powers and a magic bikini.
Ultimately Suicide Squad isn’t likely to win over a new audience, but with all its true-to-form characters, director David Ayer clearly loves DC lore as much as any fanboy.