So So Squad…
3 / 5
IMDb Rating: 6.8
Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jay Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, Jared Leto and Karen Fukuhara.
Plot Summary: Figuring they’re all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated super-villains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, the dangerous and villainous inmates must learn to work together in a team dubbed Task Force X. The criminals must unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity.
The staple of a good comic book film is the quality of the villain. This is especially true of the most well-received superhero film of all time, The Dark Knight, which contains the definitive and one-of-a-kind bad guy: Heath Ledger’s maniacally chilling Joker. Equally, successful comic book films also contain heroes who are not morally unimpeachable and blemish-free, but have a human or dark side that shows their flaws and morally ambiguous actions. Christopher Nolan’s Batman had dark moments in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises and Robert Downey Jr’s portrayal of Iron Man shows how far away Tony Stark is from being the perfect human being.
Therefore a film with plenty of villains and morally-deficient characters should be as good as good guy comic book film, or perhaps even better? Sadly, Suicide Squad was not the case. With villains not turned into the heroes of the story, there is a void for one antagonist of the film. That void is filled by Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), which is probably the weakest part of the film. Unfortunately, Delevingne’s performance will not go down in comic book folklore with Ledger’s Joker, Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus or Ian McKellan’s Magneto. Instead, it is probably one of the most villain’s/portrayals of all time. At no point did the audience feel in awe, scared or fearful of the Enchantress, and when she is up against a host of villains, we never felt in any danger of a bad outcome. The motives behind world domination, and her methods to gain it are confusing and poorly enacted. The absence of a great villain hinders the film throughout.
There are two saving graces to the film which stops it from going below a three-star-rating for me (though, not the case for the majority of film critics and newspapers who have bashed this film), and they are Margot Robbie as the deliriously crazy troublemaker Harley Quinn who steals the show out of every character, and Will Smith’s well developed and likeable Deadshot. Quinn’s flirtatious and outrageous behaviour makes her the centre of attention for every scene she is a part of. Her injection of fun and perkiness into the murky and intense scenes make these scenes palatable, rather than having it being a dragged out affair. For a film that spends the majority of the screen time in the dark, Quinn is the infectious bright light of the film who comes out of this film with some credit.
The big announcement about the film was who was going to fill the boots of Heath Ledger as The Joker. Jared Leto is the man, and we still don’t know if he can or not due to his limited screen time, which I saw as anti-climax. The absence of The Joker is not an isolated incident in So So Squad, the huge number of villains makes it hard for them all to make their mark on the film. I can name Harley Quinn and Deadshot, but the rest I’ve called Croc Guy, Aussie Guy and Sword Woman, and I have probably forgotten others that were in the film too! I seen a headline saying that “too many crooks spoil the plot”, which I 100% agree with. This is the main hindrance of the film, along with a capable villain, these pair of these hamstrung the film, and makes it a comic book film which will not be talked about in the same breath as The Dark Knight, Iron Man or Thor.
Suicide Squad will now float out into the ether, and it will probably be a film to watch when it becomes available online, where you can sit down with some popcorn at home, with the lights off and not think critically about the film, and just enjoy the hi-jinks that the squad get up to rather than pick apart the mistakes, misgivings and missed opportunities.