Much maligned, rapidly written and shoddily executed, Suicide Squad had so much potential yet seemed to be mishandled by the studio.
The cast are solid, the genre is atop the crest of a wave and DC is striding forward with its universe that will bring together Batman, Superman, Justice League and other power players.
In its extended form, very much like Batman vs Superman, it’s a much improved, more coherent film – far from perfect, though what film is?
“I’m an idea. A state of mind.”
Characters are more fleshed out, actors get time to embody their roles, the big guy army still looks a bit Power Rangers, there’s still a weightless world-ending event.
Very much the first film in a planned franchise, Suicide Squad sets the scene with a bang – the characters are introduced, forced to work together against overwhelming odds. They have character and humour, though there’s a bit too much of an attempt to humanise Deadshot in the broadest of brush strokes and make him a heroic anti-hero.
“We weren’t picked to succeed. We were chosen to fail”
The film is stolen by Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang. As the manic puddin’ of The Joker and the cowardly albeit deadly Australian, Robbie and Courtney are on top form. For the rest, however, there’s not really much for them to do or much character for them to develop (Deadshot aside). Viola Davis is a revelation as the hardest woman in the DC Universe, Amanda Waller, whilst Jared Leto is under served as a psychopathic incarnation of The Joker, as is Cara Delevingne as The Enchantress.
The issue lies in the speed at which the script was reportedly written and the imbalance of such a large ensemble of players in what amounts to an unforgiving genre. As was seen in X-Men Apocalypse, Man of Steel and Avengers: Age of Ultron, the execution of a world-shattering event where the very fabric of the Earth is rent asunder doesn’t seem to have any weight. It happens, but isn’t felt – it’s the type of thing that should have major repercussions; life carries on, but the scars should be felt.
If anything, Suicide Squad feels like the first X-Men film – a serviceable film that sets up the story, its characters and the world, but is waiting for the sequel.
For all its flaws, and there are many, Suicide Squad works in its Extended Edition (although why we have to wait for an extended edition to fix the faults is anyone’s guess, especially since it comes with the theatrical release (it’s not Lord of the Rings!)).