Let me start by saying I enjoyed Dawn of Justice. I just want to get that off my chest before the clowns rock up at my door and wheel me away. It was by no means perfect, but for me the extended edition was solid, unspectacular superhero fare. Of course, I love pretty much all the Marvel movies. They've truly nailed the superhero formula, and I don't expect to see that success end anytime soon. Having said that, I still struggle with Iron Man 2.
Suicide Squad hasn't had the best of reviews, they're a mixed bag for sure, but something told me I would enjoy this more than most. I didn't. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty to enjoy in David Ayer's metahuman mash-up, but the word 'underwhelming' fizzes on my tongue like a lethal dose of Acid Drops. The opening act is a giant mess. Choppy editing distracts from the get-go and action sequences are over before they begin. Because David Ayer (Training Day) is determined to cram in as much information as possible in the first twenty minutes, he has nowhere to go but to neglect pacing and structure in favour of music video storytelling. The soundtrack, however, is first class.
As are some of the performances. Much has been made of Margot Robbie's portrayal of Harley Quinn and rightly so, she's the one character they get absolutely right. Here's hoping they do the honourable thing and give the girl her own movie. Jared Leto might be unhappy about the scenes they cut out but I went to see his band play a few years back and his half-arsed performance left me stone cold. So I know how that feels, karma came back and sang him a chorus or two. Which is kind of ironic if you ask me. He's pretty good here though, even if, ultimately, his role proves as fruitless as the underwhelming Batman cameos. There's that word again.
So what about Will Smith? He was hands down the best thing about the first act; a big screen actor with blockbusting charm. However, by the end of it I had started to think that this was less an ensemble piece and more a 90s Will Smith vehicle. In truth, his appearance was both a blessing and a curse. The rest of the group barely registered for me, and the big bad felt like it belonged in another movie entirely. Despite the fantastical elements at play here, Suicide Squad worked best when it played on the neon-soaked grit and darkness. There were times when I thought I was watching a Mummy sequel, and I swear to God, at one point I thought they had let Joel Schumacher back behind the camera.
Overstuffed and rather flat, Suicide Squad could have and should have been a whole lot wilder. There is a fun movie struggling to break out, but the bigwigs at Warner Bros. are so intent on catching up with Marvel, they've forgetting about quality filmmaking and cast the DC Universe to the shadows for some time yet.