Bat sh*t nonsense but a lot of fun.

Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.

For the past few years - as the superhero genre has exploded - the good guys have had their moment in the sun, now it's time for the bad guys to come out to play as David Ayer (Fury, End Of Watch) brings his writing and directorial chops to DC Comics latest outing; Suicide Squad.

Picking up right where the recent, lacklustre Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice left us, as the ‘death’ of Superman has opened the door for the U.S. Government - namely Amanda Weller (played by Viola Davis) doing her best Hillary Clinton impression - to concoct a plan, which somehow miraculously got approved - I swear this fictional Government is trying to destroy the world not save it.

This aforementioned plan centers around aiming to create a more edgy version of Marvel’s Avengers, using various supervillains currently locked up under armed guard, all for the purpose of a potential battle against a possible evil Superman-like threat - that may or may not appear in the future - all under an umbrella aptly named Suicide Squad - nothing can go wrong with this I’m sure…

The unwilling lab rats for this little experiment are various inmates currently located at a Government black site known as Belle Reve - which is guarded by some less than scrupulous henchmen - and treated to regular torture and harassment sessions.

Whilst Suicide Squad does indeed throw a lot of colourful characters your way, it mainly focuses on just a handful, the main three being; Deadshot portrayed by Will Smith, Margot Robbie as The Joker’s (Jared Leto) doting, devotee Harley Quinn and leading the group is special-forces soldier Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) who has a personal stake in the mission.

These bunch of misfits are then leveraged to take on said mission, involving the extraction of a high value target from generic cardboard City #4 which is currently under attack by an otherworldly force.

Upon hearing of the initial negative impressions regarding Suicide Squad, I was a little perplexed, and frankly the first act of the film does nothing to sway you of that notion, feeling as haphazard and fractured as Harley Quinn’s cognitive process. Throughout the opening act we are introduced to a multitude of characters - some of whom we’ll spend time with, and others who are merely throwaway screen fodder - but each with their own factsheet and 30 second flashback - which is where those Batman (Ben Affleck) cameo’s come into play. Unfortunately there’s no rhythm to any of it, feeling like a bunch of scenes all thrown together, reminiscent of those nightmarish snippets within Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The story likewise is nonsensical, feeling rushed and existing purely as a reason for these characters to team up, but in doing so creating wholly illogical leaps and making no sense within the context of the universe they are trying to create.

Thankfully once the second act commences - with the Suicide Squad beginning their action movie mission within Midway City - which is basically an atomic testing town at this point - the prowess of writer and director David Ayer comes into play. Known for work such as Fury, End Of Watch and Training Day, Ayer’s sensibilities when it comes to characters steeped in shades of grey - and making you root for them as they commit horrendous acts - coupled with the natural way in which his ensembles interact with one another whilst overcoming their personal demons, makes him a perfect fit for Suicide Squad as those qualities shine through.

Suicide Squad - Deadshot (Will Smith), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje)

Whilst the movie is indeed full of villains, it’s Will Smith’s character of Deadshot - known for his ability to ‘never miss’ - that is the not only the films morally ambiguous compass, but its heart too. Likewise Margot Robbie perfectly encapsulates Harley Quinn, delivering laughs throughout and nailing the mannerisms the character is known for within the animated series. Unfortunately her clown-in-crime the The Joker - or Puddin’ as she likes to refer to him - doesn’t fare quite as well. Akin to the annoying Team Rocket within the Pokemon cartoon, The Joker will periodically pop-up throughout Suicide Squad and this portrayal of the character is by far the worst - well not including the 60’s Batman show of course. Jared Leto is a fine actor, and it's understandable he would want to differentiate his version of the character away from Ledger and Nicholson, but it comes across as a caricature of the iconic villain, adorned with a body full of tattoos and silver grill, it’s all far too on the nose (no pun intended) invoking a visage of an odd looking nightclub owner rather than the menacing force of nature that all within the world of DC Comics should fear.

This newly adapted DC Cinematic Universe of films - that started with Man of Steel - hasn’t had the best track record, but of the current three Suicide Squad is easily the better film overall; offering a far more entertaining ride with characters that actually emote, don’t have issues with a woman named Martha and oddly act far more like heroes than either Batman or Superman. Whilst the structure of the film is fairly basic, similar to the recent Deadpool adaption that seemed to consist of only two acts, Suicide Squad ramps up within the city and aside from a brief trip to the bar it continues to stay there, keeping at a consistently fun pace until the credits roll. I would say Suicide Squad definitely did miss a trick though, as recent shows such as Game Of Thrones have shown how to enrapture an audience with shocking deaths of characters and Suicide Squad would have been the perfect vehicle to capitalise upon this - to create a far more edgy and unpredictable experience - sadly it fails in this endeavour.

If you have been disappointed with the recent slate of DC superhero movies, then you may finally have something to care about. Suicide Squad is a completely nonsensical yet fun action movie - full of bullet-sized plot holes - with a host of characters you’ll grow to invest in - many you won’t - but with plenty of heart on show. The film is hampered by a haphazard first act and a token Joker performance that leaves a lot to be desired, but fans of the comics or those looking for a fun night at the movies should definitely check out Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad is currently available to buy on Blu-ray & DVD via Amazon or on-demand via Amazon Video.

  • Review by
    David Robinson

    Twitter: @5ypher

    Posted on
    5th August 2016

  • 3 Out of 5 Stars
  • Poor plot

    First act is sloppy

    Joker felt like a caricature

  • Will Smith & Margot Robbie

    Investable characters

    Fun action

Film Info

Suicide Squad Suicide Squad
Rating: 15
Release Date: 5th August
Runtime: 2 hrs 3 mins
Director: David Ayer
Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Jared Leto, Cara Delevingne, Viola Davis, Jay Hernandez & Jai Courtney

  • Man of Steel
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • The Expendables

No, multiple scenes of death on a large scale and assassination.

There is a mid-credits scene, so stick around.

The studio ordered re-shoots to and two versions of the film were edited, with the current one winning out.