19th August – 25th August, DCA
David Ayer, director of Training Day and Fury, makes his debut in the DC Comics cinematic universe with the anarchic and crazed Suicide Squad, derived from the fairly recent comic (1987) of the same name by John Ostrander which drew great acclaim and success. Suicide Squad consists of a newly introduced government programme, helmed by the ruthless Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), which picks the maddest of the bad villains currently locked up in Belle Reve Prison and through what is essentially a “do or die”/”we’ll blow up your head and kill you” scenario, they undertake tasks that go above the normal order i.e. meta-humans like Superman, Suicide Squad is the ”precautions” birthed from government fear that beings with such power could turn on the world.
The idea of Suicide Squad is undeniably fun. There is no way that you can imagine a comic book adaptation wholly driven by villains and anti-heroes, essentially bad guy Avengers, cinematically at this point – since DC need to build Justice League up in essentially mini-trailers throughout their other films first apparently before releasing their own multiple superhero group franchise.
Ayer adopted a very serious tone in his directing as many cast interviews confirm. Apparently their sessions got highly personal as each member of the Squad would have group “therapy” sessions, telling of their greatest fears and inner-most secrets. Combine all of this with Jared Leto’s approach to method acting where he was sending rats, pig’s heads and even used condoms to other members of the cast and crew. Will Smith (Deadshot) was very vocal in his dislike for Leto throughout filming, and this behaviour may be why Leto’s character The Joker didn’t have as big a part as trailers would have suggested – although he was in fact never a part of the actual Suicide Squad. All the cast members sang high praises of Ayer’s directing methods; Smith said in an interview that he was up there with his favourite director he’s ever had the pleasure of working with. The closeness of the cast in reality really shone through in the film, and it is clear to see they were having fun and really stepping into their roles which is one of the films strengths.
However, the film is by no means a masterpiece. It stayed very humble to its comic book origins which was very pleasing to see but its downfall was the villain. Advertisements kept the villain very secretive which is about the only good thing I have to say about the villain. Simply put, a terribly executed CGI mess with an all too familiar and mediocre final showdown. The editing of the film also left something to be desired in places. It was obvious a lot had been cut, the fast paced style and quick cuts worked well with certain parts, but in other instances it was at odds and something of a mess.
Suicide Squad is definitely a step up and move in the right direction after the disappointing Dawn of Justice, and I can only hope DCU’s output continues to improve so to provide a challenge to Marvel. DC Comics know their strengths it seems, and their villains are of a far
superior depth than the basic and frankly boring ones that Marvel throw out. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Smith as Deadshot were fantastic, exceeding my expectations, and I believe Ayer is very much to thank for the performances. I must also add that the Harley/Joker flashback scenes were thoroughly enjoyable and left a lot to be sought after, in a good way for once. The soundtrack is also well put together. However, just like the end of this review, a lot is thrown at you all at once which often becomes overbearing but ultimately Suicide Squad is a marked improvement for the DC cinematic Universe.