By Jack Holmes
Superhero movies pretty much dominate the cinema calendar these days and not everyone’s so happy about it. “They’re all the same, I’m sick of identical stories and identical characters,” they’d say, and since its first teaser trailer dropped at San Diego Comic Con in 2015, I’ve pointed out, “But look how stylish, creative and new Suicide Squad looks.” I wasn’t kidding either, the trailers for this movie have raised the bar for the entire genre. They were fun, stylish and replicated the art styles of comic books in a way Guardians of the Galaxy, one of Suicide Squad’s clear inspirations, only really ever touched on. The movie itself, however, is a reminder to not judge a book by its cover, or, in this case, a film by its trailers and mass of promotional material.
Suicide Squad follows a team of captured supervillains, who are forced by the government to band together as a kind of special ops team to fight other super powered threats. If you’re hoping for a storyline that goes any deeper than that, don’t; that sentence summarises this movie from start to finish. The opening half hour, although awfully paced, as if it was shredded in the editing suite and put back together with a Pritt Stick, does offer some quirky moments. Flashbacks of each character before their incarceration are, in hindsight, the most eventful and entertaining parts of the movie, and they’re only a couple of minutes long. It’s also the only time where the primary coloured neon from the trailers makes any real appearance, bringing a slither of the fun promised in the trailers into the actual movie.
Once their mission begins, however, it’s dull, and I mean sleeping-in-your-seat worthy. Just about every scene takes place on an identical, featureless street, alley or in office buildings. Fight scenes feel almost like a chore; it’s amazing director was given seven of DC’s super powered finest and didn’t manage to bring any flare to the proceedings. After the excellently edited trailers, one of which you can see below, fans were expecting a fast-paced, no-holds-barred riot of fun and excitement. Instead, the majority of the film is tedious, with the main attention grabbing taking place when a character comes out with a particularly awful one liner; Harley Quinn’s in the finale, for example, is almost gag inducing.
There are some mild redeeming qualities, however; costume design is amazing, bar Killer Croc without his hoodie on, and largely stay faithful to the source material, bringing them to the big screen with a class that the film itself simply doesn’t offer. The soundtrack is also a fun affair, theming a number of tracks to members of the Squad, filling in their personalities arguably more than their dialogue and writing does.
Jared Leto as the Joker actually demonstrated some potential; the murderous, unhinged glint in his eye is convincing, although the actor himself has already warned that most of his scenes have been cut from the movie and that’s strikingly obvious in the final product. His storyline through the movie is unhelpful, rarely giving the Oscar winning actor anything to play with, and, throughout the movie, fans will be disappointed that there’s no particular drive to this Joker. Where Nicholson’s was all about fun and Ledger’s was about bringing the freedom of chaos back to society, Leto’s Joker just feels a little lost.
Batman V Superman failed to rise to the expectations of the DC fan base. However, at least the movie attempted to do something bigger. It was crowded, too bleak and was riddled with plot holes due to its edit, but it was aspiring to set itself apart from the competition. Suicide Squad could’ve come through for the DC brand and saved it from itself, but, with very little actually entertaining content, no stand out moments and no real big reveals, it’s forgettable, messy, and could very well spell disaster for the larger DC universe going forwards.