Film review: Suicide Squad – Has DC got it right this time?

It’s hard to remember such a lacklustre summer blockbuster season. From unnecessary sequels to underwhelming novel adaptations, it’s been one disappointment after another.

After the criticism of spring’s Batman v Superman, DC Comics and Warner Bros. really needed a hit on their hands if they were to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Suicide Squad is their answer, but after an exhaustive marketing campaign, is the final product any good?

Clay Enos - © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Clay Enos – © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

To be frank, not really. Director David Ayer has one of the best ensemble casts in years, but wastes them in a film as loud as any Transformers movie, and about as clever as one too.

Figuring they’re all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer (Viola Davis) decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto) launches an evil agenda of his own.

From the outset, you can tell Suicide Squad isn’t going to waste time with lengthy introductions to its main characters, and this is a breath of fresh air. It gets around this stumbling block in stylish ease as each villain is given his or her own 3 minute backstory, with nifty graphics completing the sequences.

It’s a pleasing start to a film that promised so much in its trailers, but things really start to go downhill from there as our characters are forced to muscle their way through countless faceless enemies, culminating in a derivative battle against, you guessed it, more dull enemies. It’s almost like watching a third-person video game taking place on a massive screen.

Nevertheless, the cast does well with the material they’re given. Will Smith is his ever-likeable self and channels Deadshot from the source material with flair. However, the film really belongs to Margot Robbie and Jared Leto. Their performances are spot on, with Robbie in particular being the film’s ray of sunshine. Leto’s Joker is unfortunately not given anywhere near enough screen time despite the film’s two hour length.

The soundtrack is fantastic. Boasting Eminem, Grace and Panic at the Disco, it’s a pleasant distraction from the at times incomprehensible mayhem taking place on screen.

Special effects wise, Suicide Squad is fine, if a little uninspiring. The editing and cinematography are very clever indeed but the CGI goes from great to poor in a heartbeat. Considering the film’s $175 million budget, this is completely unacceptable.

Overall, Suicide Squad promised us so much and has delivered relatively little. Drawing from the exceptional DC Universe, audiences could’ve had a film completely different from the slew of superhero films we are constantly blighted with these days. Instead, we’ve been given one of the most generic yet and it continues 2016’s trend as one of the worst summer blockbuster seasons in recent memory.

Suicide Squad rating: 5/10