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article imageReview: Suicide Squad plays it hot and cold Special

By Tim Sandle     Aug 6, 2016 in Entertainment
London - Can DC make a decent superhero movie? 'Suicide Squad' is better than 'Batman vs. Superman' but it falls flat in places, unable to decide just how bad it wants the team of bad guys to be.
'Suicide Squad' is a good comic book series and makes for a good concept for a movie. Take a collection of Gotham based villains, find a reason to get them together and have them wreak havoc on an even evil duo of villains and their meta-human army.
Enchantress costume from  Suicide Squad   taken at the London Film and Comic Con 2016.
Enchantress costume from 'Suicide Squad', taken at the London Film and Comic Con 2016.
While initially marketed, at least through the first trailer, as the antithesis of the 'Man of Steel', Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' and the forthcoming Wonder Woman movie, 'Suicide Squad' occupies the same time line and interweaves with the same universe. The movie opens with the 'death' of Superman and features a few short appearances by Ben Affleck's curiously portly Batman.
The reason for bringing the collection of villains together for a daredevil mission works and, after the usual infighting, it is convincing to see why they agree to take on the new threat. The camaraderie between the characters also gels and they make for a formidable team by the end of the movie. The idea of bad guys coming together isn't 'new', though (think 'The Dirty Dozen' or even, to a degree, the 'Magnificent Seven'.)
 Suicide Squad poster on show at the London Film and Comic Con  2016.
'Suicide Squad poster on show at the London Film and Comic Con, 2016.
The main problem is that while the assembled cast of bad guys are 'bad' they're not all that 'bad' (no more so than the collection of outlaws in Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy', and their antics are much less subversive than 'Deadpool'); plus there's one scene where a U.S. government representative does something that's more cold hearted than any of the villainous gang carry out on screen. Another thing that seemed a little contrived was the soundtrack, picking a mismatch of R&B and urban tracks to introduce the members of Suicide Squad. Playing such music loudly doesn't make for a really villainous character: that takes a good story and acting. The fundamental problem is the movie meanders between trying to be slightly cool, funny and bad without committing fully. Perhaps making the movie to an adults only certificate would have helped.
Killer Croc costume from Suicide Squad  taken at the the 2016 London Film and Comic Con.
Killer Croc costume from Suicide Squad, taken at the the 2016 London Film and Comic Con.
Tom Holland (@RealTomHolland) "$65 mill yesterday. What bad reviews? lol Suicide Squad The Best Of The Worst (Film Review)."
It certainly isn't the darkest superhero movie yet made. All three Christian Bale Batman movies were darker and explored less pleasant aspects of humanity; as did Ang Lee's Hulk movie.
Some of the acting is good. The two standouts are Will Smith, who plays Deadshot and Margot Robbie who plays Harley Quinn. Smith comes across clearly as the best actor, standing head-and-shoulders over the others. Robbie's character is the funniest and most engaging on screen.
The comic book art for Harley Quinn  a lead member of the  Suicide Squad . Picture taken at the 2016...
The comic book art for Harley Quinn, a lead member of the 'Suicide Squad'. Picture taken at the 2016 London Film and Comic Con.
Jared Leto's Joker, whose membership of the ensemble isn't quite what it seems, is competent. This is partly because the character is under-utilized. In subsequent movies his version of the Joker might become stronger, but the legacy of Jack Nicholson and Health Ledger's portrayals will hang heavily over any actor seeking to dye his hair green.
Haydn Schneider (@HaydnSchneider) "Suicide Squad review: Stay home and watch Stranger Things on Netflix 👍🏼"
Other acting is less convincing, especially Viola Davis's strangely flat and joyless characterization of Amanda Waller. Add to this is Cara Delevingne's lead 'big bad' (the Enchantress) who manages to be one of the least terrifying super-villains of all time. This is probably down to some thinly conceived characters and choppy editing. The plot as well detracts from the villains: the duo they go up against, with supernatural powers, doesn't really allow them to show off all they've got. This is a shame since the movie opens at frenetic pace and with a measure of excitement. The scenes in Arkham Asylum are well written and the formation of the team is exciting. Things fall flat when the Suicide Squad go out into the field. The trouble with villains versus villains is that one side inevitably cease to become the bad guys.
'Suicide Squad' is best DC movie so far, but it falls short of the best Marvel offerings to date. There's no one truly charismatic character and the story is so-so. Still work to be done in DC towers, especially for the intended sequel.
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