*** This review may contain DC spoilers ***
U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated super villains who are held to ransom for a top-secret mission.
David Ayer's dark comic book film Suicide Squad offers plenty of solid acting, but the film feel like a series of abridged clips in a paper thin story, which is a shame given Will Smith's fine performance as Dead Shot and Joel Kinnaman's first-rate Rick Flag. Actually the cast save this suicide run including the likes of Viola Davis, Jay Hernandez who has an horrific back story as Diablo and gets a memorable show down with an Incubus. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is notable with plenty of presence as Killer Croc. Ben Affleck's Batman's cameo and The Jokers failed attempts to reunite with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn is at times more interesting than David Ayer's popcorn servicing plot.
Ayer's bid to frame all the squad Magnificent Seven/Reservoir Dogs style arguably feels staged and overtly over done. Steven Price's music helps the action and poses with some techno Rambo-like motifs. The all-villain fighting team spend too much time fighting faceless hordes of monster entities. That's not to say that Ayer doesn't deliver of the directing duties or aesthetics, the look of Suicide Squad oozes an edgy ominous atmosphere and a quantity of dialogue and cutting humour hit the mark. Its just all undermined by paint by numbers plotting and a collection of convenient coincidences as team log heads with intelligence operative Amanda Waller and/or is attacked by the Enchantress, her brother and their minions.
With the team forced to carry out the governments wishes or have their heads blown off to Ayer credit there's poignant moments with a sense of camaraderie and heart much of which come from Smith, Kinnaman and Robbie. Jai Courtney redeems himself as Boomerang after his stint as Kyle Reese. Sadly, at times confined to flashbacks Jared Leto's admirable maniacal uncomfortable take on The Joker is left to just pop up now and again like a whirlwind Silver tooth evil Cesar Romero. Robbie's Quinn and Leto's Joker tortured Stockholm syndrome-like relationship is scarily realised. Their switch-blade romance reminiscent of Natural Born Killers and the like would have made an interesting dark original film in its own right.
Nigglingly Ayer on occasion debatably reduces Robbie to eye candy (by default) and Harley could have been played by anyone with the equal amount of nihilistic sassiness which under serves both the character and the actor, thankfully the flashbacks flesh her out but Robbie is spread quip thin in the main story. The editing and pacing doesn't seem to help things either, Suicide Squad possibly could have benefited with the back-stories being extended and playing out chronologically, even over two films - as it rushes to get to a place and that somewhere never quite pays off which is a crying shame giving the effort put in. Cara Delevingne puts in a good dual role innings as June Moone/Enchantress but the otherworldly unstoppable CGI villain while well realised feels out of place, the CGI versus the gritty underdogs doesn't seem to hold up in the closing. There's also a tagged on ending with an unnecessary (Marvel style) scene that sets up the Justice League movie instead of a Suicide Squad sequel, which leaves the Squad characters hanging.
Warner Bros' Suicide Squad is entertaining but frustrating, it's worth watching for the actor's efforts if you can over look its short comings. Will Smith and company require another fairer crack of the whip.