*Will most definitely spoil points of the film*
I will start by admitting I am a Marvel man. Always have been and always will be. This isn’t just where the films are concerned, I’m an avid collector of comic books too. Sure I take a sprinkle of what DC has to offer, in the form of Jason Todd’s Red Hood and Nightwing every now and again but for arguments sake let’s just say I’m not really a DC fan; I’m married to one. Now I don’t think this film is at all as bad as the critics are making out. It’s doing really well at the box office (which doesn’t really mean anything as people are buying tickets to see it so won’t know other than word of mouth what it is like) and the screening I was in, people came out feeling pretty positive. Do not get me wrong, this is not The Dark Knight but it’s not Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern either. It occupies a happy medium where you are brought moments of joy, a great soundtrack (probably the best since Guardians of the Galaxy) and some pretty good on screen characterisations…for the most part.
The standout performances in this for me were Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Will Smith as Deadshot and (controversially) Jared Leto as the Joker. Now hang on, where are you all going? Let me explain myself. I do prefer the Joker as portrayed by Heath Ledger as that is more like what the Joker is to me. Yet Jared Leto’s Joker was a much more believable mob boss and although the comedy side of Joker was lacking (having no real jokes) by the sheer creepy/scariness of him, I think if this movie wasn’t so packed and if he had had more screen time, it would have been a really good performance. In truth, he should have been the villain of this film as the one we got was underwhelming. The backlash and the comparison between Jared Leto and Heath Ledger is a little unfair. The aspects of the Joker’s character evolves from the source material. The stuff that sticks are the ideas and additions people like. Jared Leto brings a new but familiar approach to the role and going forward I’m positive some of his ideas will become the norm for the Joker. I really didn’t care for the supernatural bumf surrounding Enchantress and Rick Flag. The whole reason for the Suicide Squad going into Midway city was confusing and not well explained. We all thought they were going to stop the current attack but no, they were sent in to rescue someone…that was a twist that fell flat.
The thing that DC need to realise is that an ensemble cast like this needs to be set up. There is far too many characters vying for screen time that for this film to be everyone’s debut is insane. Plus you have to bear in mind, a lot of these villains are unknown to the wider movie going audience. Marvel did this best with Avengers Assemble. We had already seen Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk (even if this wasn’t Mark’s Hulk) and Captain America. Even with Guardians of the Galaxy, a pretty obscure comic to even comic book fans at the time, Marvel did a good job of clearing up character histories and relationships early on in a succinct way. In Suicide Squad we got to know Deadshot a little and Harley Quinn’s origins but some of Harley’s flashbacks are oddly in Act 3 of the movie and the horrible text to screen run down of each villain when the team was being set up was just lazy. It was a “we’ll tell you this now instead of finding a way to show you” approach. Of course some characters will be more prominent than others but Killer Croc didn’t actually say anything until the midway point of the film and his lines were terrible. I did like however how blatantly obvious that ‘The villain who is good at climbing’ was the first to die, demonstrating how the explosive implants worked for the team and the audience. I’d have done the same. Oh, before I forget, Waller was a pretty good character (played by Viola Davies) who was, true to her comic origins, more evil than the villains she was in charge of. Her execution of her own government team in that office was chillingly cold blooded.
So enough moaning. I did, when it comes down to basics, enjoy watching this film that was let down by it’s script and editing. The actors did well with what they had and even Captain Boomerang, a character I was sure I’d be indifferent to, was memorably funny in his mannerisms, even if I couldn’t always tell what actor Jai Courtney was saying. Jared Leto’s Joker needs his own film with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, as does Will Smith’s Deadshot. I will also be honest in that Ben Affleck does not make a good Bruce Wayne. He’s a passable Batman once donning the costume but he does not strike me as a convincing Bruce Wayne and his button scene after the credits lacked depth. I do feel sorry for director David Ayer, there was no way he could pull all this off, hit all the targets set and meet the hype. Not only did he have to introduce every character as a new addition to the DCCU, he also had to try and give them a history for you to care about, set up the coming Justice League film since Batman V Superman wasn’t the hit Warner Bros hoped for and leave enough room to explore his own vision and what he wanted to say. It’s madness and the poor man was handed an impossible job. It’s a good film, but it’s not great.