Director: David Ayer
Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jay Hernandez, Jai Courtenay, Cara Delevigne & Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Following the aftermath of Batman v Superman, government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) fears a ‘metahuman’ crisis, with no superheroes on hand to protect the world. Naturally, her solution is to recruit the world’s most dangerous villains. The movie combines the original Suicide Squad story arc – with a taskforce including Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Deadshot (Will Smith) – with the New 52 Suicide Squad comics, adding Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) to the mix. Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) replaces King Shark in the lineup, but otherwise the movie is faithful to the comic series.
For most of the film, Deadshot and Harley Quinn steal the show. Deadshot is heated, sassy, and tough, not to mention seriously impressive with a gun in his hand. We see through his badass exterior however, and it’s his caring side that makes him interesting – made evident in his loving relationship with his daughter, and his developing friendship with Harley.
Robbie’s Harley Quinn is everything she should be – fearless, sexy, clever, intriguing… and crazy. The movie shows us Harley’s backstory as the Joker’s psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, who falls in love with her “puddin'” and helps him escape. Fans of the ‘fun supervillain’ are guaranteed to love this incarnation of Harley, and anticipation for her own standalone movie.
The occasional appearances of Jared Leto’s Joker aren’t essential to the main plot, but are necessary to give the movie a much more substantial villain. After Heath Ledger’s incredible portrayal in the Dark Knight Trilogy – often considered the absolute best of supervillain reinventions – Leto had a hard act to follow. For a character as iconic as the Joker, each reinvention needs to be distinctive. Leto’s version takes on the gangster style of villain popular in earlier comic books, and visually bears similarity to the Joker in the Batman: Endgame series. This incarnation of the Joker is disturbing – and it captivates.
The biggest flaw in Batman v Superman was a lazily-written antagonist with only an arbitrary desire for world domination. Unfortunately, Suicide Squad followed suit. Enchantress (Cara Delevigne) was interesting at first, and had the potential to make a great villain. However, without any discernible motivation for her actions, she became just another superhuman monster ripping up half the city in a swirling cloud of doom. DC Comics do sometimes create amazing villains, like the Joker, Zod, and Lex Luthor to name a few, but recent films have struggled to deploy them well.
There’s a lot about DC’s latest ventures that have been heavily criticized – yet the studio is still struggling valiantly to compete with Marvel’s well-established cinematic universe. The action is thrilling, the characters are fascinating, and the main antagonist Enchantress adds a touch of darkness. While Suicide Squad is by no means flawless, it is a brilliant effort from director David Ayer, and has raised the game for DC. This looks to lead to bigger things, with cameos from Ben Affleck’s Batman and Ezra Miller’s Flash, and the post-credits scene building up hype to next year’s Justice League. DC’s production rate is at its fastest ever to catch up with its competitors, and the introduction of previously unseen villains into their cinematic universe was a brave move from Ayer. All in all, Suicide Squad’s ‘worst of the worst’ are some of the best that DC has put on screen.
Words by Zoe Tongue