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With all of the hype around this new venture into the DC Universe, to say that expectations are high for the Suicide Squad would be an understatement. The star power, the enthusiasm for the trailers and the potential for a ‘new look’ Joker has kept the new and seasoned fans buzzing with anticipation. Can this rag tag bunch of villains deliver the needed jolt for DC to rival their Marvel alter egos? The phrase that comes to mind, ‘almost, but not quite there … yet’.
Continuing on from the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice narrative, the world is reeling from the battle of Gotham and world leaders are concerned that the meta-human threat put the human race at risk. The answer to this problem comes from US agent and meta-human expert Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) who puts forward her ‘Suicide Squad’ project. The concept is bringing together some of the world’s worst villains, manipulating them to go against their own personal interests and using them to keep the rest of the meta-humans in check. With the assistance of super soldier Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), they work to motivate Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) to do these high-risk missions for the sake of the greater good. Once the brutish bunch is reluctantly recruited, they are sent on their inaugural mission. It does not take too long for the team to realize that this battle is not what they were expecting. This mission eventually contains personal aspects that will effect all of them. This Suicide Squad must determine what their true motivations are to serve and if it is all worth the risk.
Suicide Squad does what Batman v Superman failed to do. It takes an exceptionally complex idea and makes it accessible and entertaining. Director David Ayer (Fury) had the monstrous task to bring together a bunch of relatively unknown characters, introduce them to audiences and weaves in a fascinating tale of redemption that lifts this fantastical adventure above many of the other films within this genre. He manages to bring together a strong cast of actors who rise to the challenge of introducing the world to the dark side of DC. Will Smith, Margot Robie and Jai Courtney lead the rampage of the disturbed heroes and take advantage of every line they are given while Jay Hernandez’s Diablo character is given the ‘diamond in the rough’ award with his brooding portrayal of the gangbanger who seeks redemption for his horrific crimes. The rest of the characters become bit players in this super-hero (Or is it super-villain; it is a bit confusing) drama including The Joker. Jared Leto’s performance has been one of the most anticipated aspects of this potential franchise, but he is relegated to being a love sick boyfriend who is under-utilised and Ayer is never allowed to develop his character.
With this vast troupe of the Suicide Squad, Ayer has the opportunity to cultivate the growth of a fresh new franchise. The challenge is finding an adversary that is worthy of their attention. This has been one of the biggest difficulties for an issue that this genre throughout 2016. The answer seems to present itself in Viola Davis’ portrayal of Amanda Waller. She contains many of the needed elements for this role, but they fail to capitalise on this tantalizing direction. Instead the choice is The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), who can be labelled as creepy, but fails to convey the needed evil to warrant the attention of the Squad. Delevingne’s comical attempt at malevolent dancing and the development of her faceless minions do not provide the needed terror or adversarial role to make it a convincing ordeal. This inclusion in the storyline is reminiscent of the recent X-Men: Apocalypse that proved that the world domination concept is overdone.
Even with some of the obvious weaknesses, there is hope for this as a potential franchise. The filmmakers have only begun to plumb the depths of this rich vein of unique players. Suicide Squad could be labelled an origin story and the property needs to be revisited. Hopefully, they can do more to enhance the humorous components for the next outing. This script provided some funny throw away lines that lifted the story out of the dark world where it resides. With this talent pool, there is a multitude of opportunity for more comedy to add to the violent nature of this genre. If the acting talent can be convinced to come back for another chapter, this initial outing merely became a set up for an exciting future. It will be worth going to see this outing for the sake of understanding the future of the this new charter of the superhero realm.