Well it’s not a disaster, but it’s certainly not the masterpiece we all thought it would be.
Let’s get this out of the way: Margot Robbie owns this movie in every way. Her Harley Quinn is absolutely astounding across the board. The mannerisms, the accent, the bat, the way she pronounces “puddin'” – everything about her is just spectacular and perfectly realized. It only took me 30 seconds to completely buy why Warner Brothers has already set a Harley Quinn spinoff in development; this is one character that deserves a star-vehicle. Brilliant!
The rest of the cast is also in fine form. Viola Davis is terrific as the notoriously ruthless Amanda Willer, although the role is unsurprisingly similar to her turn on How To Get Away With Murder. Will Smith is reliably charismatic and likeable as the sniper Deadshot, while Cara Delevingne chews up the scenery (sometimes a bit too much) as Enchantress. Quite unexpectedly, Joel Kinnaman turns in a heartfelt performance as the task force’s team-leader Rick Flag. Kinnaman was top-notch on House of Cards this season, and he definitely makes an impression here.
And then there’s The Joker. There’s been a lot of hype building up to Jared Leto’s buzzworthy performance. Could he possibly top Heath Ledger’s iconic turn in The Dark Knight? How does he stack up against the original Joker played by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s 1989 flick? Well, unfortunately, Leto’s Joker is kind of a misfire. I get what they were going for with the tattoos and the over-the-topness, but something about the performance and the character just didn’t ring true to me. Of course this could be due to the script’s limitations (Leto is barely in the film), so I’m willing to give the character another shot when he resurfaces soon (probably in the solo Affleck Bat-flick). But for now, I’m unimpressed.
The primary problem with Suicide Squad is its structure. It’s just poorly plotted, and the narrative zips around from one thing to the next without much coherence. In addition, the numerous flashbacks come out of nowhere, and prove to be quite jarring with regards to both tone and colour palettes. On the bright side, David Ayer’s film has a lot of action, which keeps things moving and ensures there’s never a dull moment. I just wish the film infused a bit more color and creativity into its set design; things get a bit redundant towards in the end with the endless bleak warehouses and post-apocalyptic streets.
Suicide Squad is an amusing albeit messy entry into the DC cinematic universe. It’s certainly more fun to watch than Batman v Superman, but it’s far from the achievement I was hoping for. Here’s hoping 2017’s Wonder Woman is the crowning DC film we’ve all been waiting for.