2016 has been one very big year for DC Comics; the New 52 came to an end and led the way to Rebirth, three new animated features have been released with a fourth set due before the end of the year and Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened the doors for the extended cinematic universe of DC’s superheroes and villains. David Ayer’s Suicide Squad is the latest installment of the DCECU and is one of this years most highly anticipated films. The film has managed to create an insane level of excitement amongst DC fans and your everyday cinemagoers due to the cleverly created trailers and other advertising images from posters to the films soundtrack.
Deep in the middle of a swamp in Louisiana lies BELLE REVE PRISON, home to some of the worlds most dangerous villains and run by AMANDA WALLER (Viola Davis), who is also the head of the super secret US government agency, A.R.G.U.S. BELLE REVE is famous for housing some of the most iconic villains within the universe of DC Comics, it is also the HQ of WALLER’S pet project TASK FORCE X aka, the SUICIDE SQUAD. TASK FORCE X was designed to use imprisoned supervillains to partake in extremely dangerous black ops missions in exchange for a reduced prison sentience. However, not all is as simple as it seems, especially considering that most of these villains, many of which are metahumans, are currently serving three life sentences and will be apart of WALLER’S twisted mind games for the remainder of their lives.
Upon meeting our main line up of villains that include DEADSHOT (Will Smith), KILLER CROC (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), CAPTAIN BOOMERANG (Jai Courtney) and HARLEY QUINN (Margot Robbie), the SKWAD have already been captured by WALLER, some even with the assistance of GOTHAM CITIES DARK KNIGHT. Our introduction to these characters and their abilities is delivered through a series of montages that outlines the abilities and brief history of each villain whilst WALLER convinces US government officials that her ragtag group of very bad people can be used to do some good. It isn’t long before a deadly supernatural threat surfaces that forces the US government to greenlight TASK FORCE X and unleash the all the craziness that follows each villain.
Writer/Director David Ayer (HARSH TIMES and FURY) successfully brings these infamous comic books villains to life through his own visual style whilst also staying true to the comic books. The film, like previous DC films is littered with references to the comics and the film actually feels like you are watching a comic book come to life. What is great about Ayer’s film is that it doesn’t waste time with origin stories, everything we need to know about these characters is delivered during AMANDA WALLER’S debrief and at various points in the film. Like Ben Affleck’s DARK KNIGHT in Batman V Superman, these villains have been around for sometime, some even having history with THE BATMAN, and even though its not directly mentioned – the film creates a feeling that you’d believe that these characters already exist within this universe.
The entire cast is perfect and they all play their roles well, even though it may seem that some are reduced to background characters, that isn’t the case with this film as each member is given a fair amount of screen time for their characters to shine. The only exception is Adam Beach’s SLIPKNOT who really is only there to serve as the unlucky skwad member who is killed off almost as soon as he is introduced so as to display the threat of the devices in each skwad members necks should they fail or deviate from the mission. Will Smith delivers one of his best performances since Ali as FLOYD LAWTON/DEADSHOT, the assassin who never misses. Margot Robbie is just a delight as fan favourite HARLEY QUINN, who makes her live action debut and Robbie plays her perfectly and Viola Davis is terrifying as AMANDA WALLER. The rest of the cast that also includes Cara Delevingne (ENCHANTRESS), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flagg), Jay Henandez (DIABLO), Karen Fukuhara (KATANA) and particularity Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s KILLER CROC (whose make up effects are simply spectacular) are all fantastic and simply relish in playing these crazy characters, and the chemistry between the entire cast works really well.
The films scene stealer is THE CLOWN PRINCE OF CRIME himself, Jared Leto has so much fun as THE JOKER and from the moment we meet his JOKER as an inmate in ARKHAM ASYLUM he is a terrifying presence throughout the film. You have to remember that like the other villains in this film, this is a JOKER who has tangled with THE BATMAN on numerous occasions and perhaps he has faced THE BAT more than any other villain. This is a JOKER who has pushed THE BATMAN to the edge, this is a JOKER who has killed a ROBIN, even though it is not directly addressed, it is hinted at in Batman V Superman with the ROBIN suit that BRUCE WAYNE has on display with “The jokes on you BATMAN, HAHAHA” painted on it. Leto’s JOKER is unique beast, and like Ben Affleck’s BATMAN, its a JOKER we haven’t seen on the cinema screen before and its a performance that is both fantastic, unsettling and feels that this JOKER has lept of the pages of the comics and onto the screen.
Whilst the script may seem pretty basic, the film is still a fast paced joyride filled with lovable characters, great dialogue and some thrilling action sequences. The films soundtrack is sensational, the songs used throughout the film reflect the look of the film and its characters and Oscar winning composer Steven Price’s score is highly unique and enjoyable. Like most DC Comics films, they are actual comic book adaptations that may seem like they appeal more to comic book fans, but that’s what DC does best, they mix things up and do the unexpected and that’s what David Ayer delivers with Suicide Squad, its fun, its gritty and it opens up a wide and wonderful world that is the DC Comics cinematic universe.
The film also has a mid-credit scene that gives a hint to the Justice League, but unlike the MARVEL films, this scene doesn’t feel as though its been tacked on, it feels natural to the rest of the film and doesn’t give too much away.
Suicide Squad is simply delightful, Ayer and crew have created a comic book film like no other and it is a roller-coaster ride ride from start to finish.
Review written by Christopher Innis