RELEASE DATE:August 5, 2016
(3D/2D theaters and IMAX)
STUDIO:Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA RATING:PG-13 (for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language)
STARRING:Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez,Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood,Cara Delevingne, Adam Beach, Karen Fukuhara
Written and Directed by David Ayer (Fury), Suicide Squad suffers many of the same struggles as Batman v Superman. DC’s decision to enter into this universe midstream has robbed the audience of any sense of solid character development and a firm establishment of the back stories for the characters we are being asked to care about. This is exceptionally apparent in the opening of Suicide Squad as the characters are introduced through dossiers detailing who and what they are in a sort of Cliff’s Notes version about them. This works fairly well to establish Will Smith’s Deadshot and less well with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn is arguably one of the most interesting characters in this universe and her descent into madness and her love for The Joker (Jared Leto) is a story worthy of a film unto itself.
Unfortunately we are only given a brief glimpse into this story that is disjointed and incomplete making its impact difficult for any but the most ardent fans of the comics or the animated series to comprehend. Forget about learning much about any of the other characters beyond their names, there just isn’t time to bother with it.
Despite this rocky foundation upon which Suicide Squad is built the film does manage to weave an enjoyable, if forgettable, tale of anti-heroes finding a place in the world where they can do good. Smith, Robbie and Jai Courtney, playing Boomerang, all turn in solid performances in their roles and make the most of the thing story and character development they were given. The action is well done though the big middle act confrontation suffers the same “faceless and mindless” enemy combatants that many recent Marvel entries have. (Age of Ultron I’m looking at you.)
My final comment about the film has to center on Jared Leto’s Joker. We’ve already seen this character done twice on film in completely contrasting, yet equally brilliant performances from Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. Leto is obviously trying to bring his own spin to this iconic character, however, the end result is a Joke that I found neither funny, nor compelling. He comes across as a low level gangster with green hair. There’s nothing about the character that made me take notice.
In the end Suicide Squad is a film that does the best it can within the confines of the story structure DC has placed before it with the choice of moving these films on the fast track to Justice League. It’s mildly fun, visually appealing, but lacking in story and character development.