Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (aka BvS) was hated by American critics, the guys from Honest Trailers and most Marvel fan boys. It is the most divisive comic book to date, (my take on BVS here
) which resulted in Warner Brothers (WB) not making as much money as they would have expected.
So Warner Brothers was under pressure to produce a crowd pleaser, something that would unite comic book fans and the mainstream audience who care about tights and capes. Suicide Squad looked like a crowd pleaser, from the teaser trailer set to the awesome Bohemian Rhapsody (see below ).
Can DC get their fans, Marvel fans and movie to like this offering and score big at the box office? Let’s dig in...
David Ayer truly does have love for this movie; you see it in how colourful it is. It’s actually thee most colourful comic book movie to date, from Jared Leto’s pun rock meta tattooed Joker aka Mr.J to having Katana carrying a sword that actually traps souls, to the enchantress and her magic to psychedelic colours appearing on screen.
Ayer, who previously directed Fury (the world war 2 armoured tank drama), really embraces the spirit of comics in how the film looks. This is seen from the costumes, to props to even the use of effects and attitude, although with some tweaks and updating.
Jared Leto’s look has been updated to be more edgy like Ninja from Die Antwoord, Harley Quinn goes for a sexier feel than her traditional joker outfit onezy but the updates don’t detract from the story. This is true for all the characters.
Ayer’s cast is also up for the zanniness. We have a very menacing Leto as Joker, Margot Robbie gives Harley Quinn heart, craziness and sexiness, we have the charm and deadliness of Will Smith as the hitman Deadshot, Viola Davis was born to play Amanda Waller, the tough as nail government boss, Jai Courtney, who is easy to hate ( just rewatch Terminator Genisys), is actually cool in this too.
I wish I could say that Suicide Squad is therefore a great movie but unfortunately there are some issues. Since we get introduced to all the bad guys at once, some get shafted and we don’t get to spend enough time with them to know the new characters who appear on screen for the first time.
We don’t really get to know Killer Croc or Captain Boomerang better. Their rationale for being in the movie is to become plot devices whilst Smith and Robbie hog the limelight - even poor Mr J's screen time is diminished, which is a pity. But this could be faulted at DC and WB for now introducing these characters first in the heroes' solo movie before doing Suicide Squad.
There are some great ideas at the beginning around society creating its own villians that speaks more to the US re-Taliban and international terrorism, but the second half of the movie the film starts to unravel. There is no great idea being interrogated.
The film starts to tick cliché upon comic book cliché after cliché, by the time the movie ends, the film no longer feels fresh, innovative or even that cathartic. Then there are the numerous plot holes and character decisions that don’t make sense.
It feels like Warner Brothers and DC were so hard done by the negative reaction to BvS that they are overcompensating with Suicide Squad; they made the film too kiddie friendly. The guys may look gritty but that’s all it is; they do not do or say anything that is gritty, including Mr.J.
Mr J and Harley Quinn's relationship in the comics is very problematic borderline psychotic but in Suicide Squad it's made to look like a bad teen romance. The bad guys are made to be good guys so as to make them less problematic, which is a pity.
The climax is an exact copy of the Fantastic 4 climax which is something no one wants to ever do especially after it was panned so badly but why would DC do this to themselves??
Judging by how badly cut down the Joker scenes are, I think the movie was more grim than the final product but after BvS grim is not mainstream reaction, Warner Brothers wants that mainstream cash so we have pitbulls acting as chihuahuas.
So is Suicide Squad an incoherent and terrible movie? No. Is it inventive and fresh? Unfortunately no. The first half promised something special and unique and the second half gives you the run of the mill save the world shoot 'em up that you’ve seen a 1000 time already.
It feels like WB and DC were like we want to play it safe, we don’t want to alienate or off put anyone, up the kumbaya factor, give them a bit of what they know even if it goes contrary to the source material, make it safe so we can cash in the money.
The story suffers for it but watch the box office explode for a very average movie that could have been better if it was as brave as BvS. Think about that.
* utter rubbish ** meh ***it’s aight ****we cooking with gas *****buy the blue ray/dvd/it’s a keeper