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Suicide Squad: DC Starts to Get it Right

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Suicide Squad isn’t the perfect film but it is fun and enjoyable which is a step in the right direction for the DC Universe, which has gotten off to a slow start.

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I was tentative at first, not wanting to get caught up in the magnificent marketing campaign: Bohemian Rhapsody and the colourful pop art decor promised so much. But DC has bucked their trend of making great trailers and average movies, with the film delivering on most of the things the previews had promised us – a fun film with lots of action.

Some of these positives can be attributed to the change in director from Zach Snyder (who directed Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice), to new director David Ayer. While the film still lacked the polish of its main rival, Marvel, it left behind the pacing issues and poor ratio of character development to running time. Some of the edits still felt forced, including the opening act which seemed to jump around the narrative at first, causing it to loose fluidness and clarity at the jumping off point.

The ensemble cast was handled well for the most part, although it was obvious they considered Dead Shot (Will Smith) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) to be the stars of the film, and gave them extra screen time which caused the ensemble concept to buckle a little. This small imbalance pales in comparison to the use of the Joker (Jared Leto), who’s use in the film does not make a lot of sense other than to sell tickets, and introduce the character for a larger role in a later film. However, Leto’s performance was a highlight of the film, making the character feel new and familiar at the same time.

While the scenes of the Joker and Harley Quinn were amazing, and some of the most memorable scenes, it did not contribute to the main story, and served more as a vehicle for the Joker inside another franchises movie. This technique of introducing characters has been used before by Marvel, in more organic ways and to better success, but this film got close to getting it right and it still provided memorable moments.

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One of the strengths of this film was the cast, with Smith, Robbie and Leto leading the way with strong performances. They were supported by a strong supporting cast featuring Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Captain Bommerang (Jai Courtney), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). While the film may have jumped a little quickly to the camaraderie the team formed, overall character development was handled well considering how many characters that were being juggled. The film features the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) as the lead villain, and while Delevingne performed the character adequately, it was ultimately a one dimensional character which was just needed for the continuation of the plot. While the protagonists interaction and character development was a highlight, the villain disappointed as it faded into the background until it was needed for the final concluding act.

However, it can be argued that the real villain of the film is Amanda Waller, who symbolizes the American government, and creates questions over the treatment of criminals and the black and white realm of morality. This tension and conflict adds a considerable amount to the emotional foundation of the film, and helps create sympathy and a new perspective for these cons turned anti-hero’s.

With Justice League fast approaching, this serves as an example that DC can deliver on good source material, and make a fresh fun film for both the main stream audience and die hard fans. The humour, imagery, narrative, and action all work together to create a balanced film that has its faults, but is ultimately enjoyable – which is the reason we all like movies in the first place.

Rating 7.5/10   Genre 8/10