Whilst the presumably unstoppable behemoth that is Marvel has spent the last decade and a half or so in creating their very own rich, expansive and ultra-successful string of comic book franchises, it may seem that DC would have fled for the farthest corner of the room and cowered in defeat until the dust settles. But the answer to that would be a big, fat, unequivocal and resounding “NO”! After the release of the lukewarm Man of Steel and the highly anticipated yet dismally received Dawn of Justice, DC still flat-out refuse to go down without a fight. God knows, they do have a solid foundation of comic book material to sift through and actually make a go of it, at the very least. So, when the slightly lesser known but equally exciting Suicide Squad was announced, the DC and Marvel buzz feed forums lit up like a torch once more. But was the dizzying hype driving the engine of this movie substantiated with a superior DC flagship title? Or what this but another average, or worse still, poorly critiqued production.
The premise is quite simple. Amanda Waller, who works as an intelligence officer for the government, gains permission to build and assign a team to head up a highly sensitive, critical mission. The caveat being all members are recruited from a selection of skilled, vicious criminal convicts. The final squad, given the name of “Task Force X”, are comprised of the following high-profile villainous personalities in no particular order: Deadshot, Harley Quinn, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and last but not least, Slipknot (played by Will Smith, Margo Robbie, Jay Hernandez, Jai Courtney, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Adam Beach respectively). Led by the charismatic Colonel Rick Flag (played by Joel Kinnaman), the makeshift team set out into the derelict city to take on this mysterious threat that dwells way beyond the shadows of the prison walls.
Now, it must be said that this movie caused something of a stir upon release. The mainstream critics were quick to bear their claws, ready to tear this movie to shreds. However, in stark contrast, public fans opinion polls couldn’t have been more to the contrary. So, I tried pretty damn hard to remain as impartial as possible when viewing this movie for the first time. And I gotta say, I’m throwing in with team “latter”. I really liked this movie. I mean, maybe it’s the dark, brooding visual style that DC is so fond of implementing within their movie-verse. Or possibility their more "serious, non-humorous" approach to the comic book genre as a whole. But I personally think they delivered a pretty solid effort that succeeded in finding that fine balance quite early on. I found the chemistry between the suicide squad to be intriguing as they attempted to figure out each other’s various ulterior motives. This only heightened, especially towards the end of the movie, where they had to put their individualistic priorities to one side, for the greater good of the group. Given the fact that the production team hadn’t been gifted the time to build up their overarching character personas anywhere near how Marvel had, they pulled off an admirable job. Comparing any of the Marvel franchises to this effort is just plain cruel. Try to view these two giants as separate entities in their own right with different agendas. DC know full well the impossible amount of catching up they have to do and I think deserve some credibility for what they have achieved thus far.
A special mention must also go to the various cameos of the Joker (played by Jared Leto) scattered liberally throughout the film. His unhinged, over-the-top performance is something that again, audiences will either love or hate. However, I think he brings his own unique vision of this complex character into the DCU with Leto's own, twisted perspective of deranged magnificence. Just read up some of the stories about him on-set! From his strange relationship with Harley to his guttural linguistic tone, he will be remembered for some time to come. If there are any misgivings to be had with Suicide Squad, they are down to certain character choices made within the plot narrative. Without going into any spoilers, you may gasp in wonderment as to the logic behind a few actions that take place. It will leave you a little confused or perplexed, but the pacing of the movie is such that you can either dwell on those inexplicable reasonings or simply move on. The main villain who is revealed later on, also could have been a little more on the “aggressive” side. But again, you just have to go with it or ruin the rest of the movie trying to ascertain their elemental behaviours and why they don’t adhere to what you think they ought to be.
Suicide Squad is a pretty tight action comic book flick. It could have turned out a hell of a lot worse than it did. And I’m sure secretly Marvel were hoping that’d be the case yet again. And to some extent, it was. But not so much from the voices of the general public. It has a nice plot setup at the start, some classic 70s tracks to get you pumped as well as some great acting all round. Yes, even from the somewhat cursed Jai Courtney (special honourable mentions must go to Margo Robbie and Jared Leto for their performances too). I recommend you give this one a look-see, but going in with an open mind. After all, you may come out the other side pleasantly surprised.