Deadpool, Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse...it is only safe to assume that 2016 belongs to superheroes. Adding to this year's cluster of films on caped crusaders is Suicide Squad directed by David Ayer, the man behind the cop flick End of Watch and the war thriller Fury.
With multiple trailers and Leto's Joker looks, this tale of a squadron of expendable baddies and their efforts to save the world had succeeded in creating enough curiosity and fan frenzy prior to its release. The pressure to live up to this hype generated, then, was indeed huge.
Suicide Squad is a team of “witches, gangbangers and crocodiles” assembled by Intelligence operative Amanda Waller for extreme missions. The gang—an elite hit man (Deadshot), a thief (Captain Boomerang), a reptilian cannibal (Killer Croc), a pyrokinetic ex-gangster (El Diablo), an assassin (Slipknot) and a psychiatrist-turned-psychopath (Harley Quinn)—is under the beck and call of Colonel Rick Flag, and Waller is at liberty to kill them at will. There is only one thing this team of unlikely allies want—freedom; and they are ready to take on anyone if it buys them clemency. When Waller makes an error that will prove to be costly, the Suicide Squad is unshackled and brought to the warzone. Meanwhile, the Joker is busy scheming and plotting to get his girl (Quinn) out. How the baddies succeed in saving the day forms the rest of the film.
Margot Robbie as the unpredictable, psychotic Quinn steals the show. With her weird get-up, weirder mannerisms and devil-may-care attitude, Robbie's Quinn is the best among the baddies. Will Smith's Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot—a hired kill who is torn between his love to kill and affection for his daughter—is impressive and Jay Hernandez as the guilt-ridden Diablo is notable. If the gang is full of mean folk, the one who puts them together—Waller —is meaner than them all, and Viola Davis as Waller, packs a punch.
And unto the Joker now. Jared Leto had shoes left behind by the great Jack Nicholson and legendary late Heath Ledger to fill, and he perfects the role with elan, making his own distinct mark as the Clown. But Leto's Joker in the film is reduced to making sporadic appearances, wooing and turning his shrink Dr Harleen Quinzel to the menacing Harley Quinn and trying to free her from her captors at regular intervals. The acidic romance between the two or rather mayhem falling for madness is a delectably delirious ride. Apart from this, the Joker and his ominous laughter serves hardly any purpose in the proceedings.
Suicide Squad is no Dirty Dozen. The men and woman assembled, or rather unleashed, in Suicide Squad are a bad, mean lot just like in the 1967 war flick. But Ayer's idea of pitting them against a sorceress and her brother who want the world to bow before them has backfired. The villains are bereft of character—much like Apocalypse in the latest X-Men outing—and their intentions laughable.
Thanks to Deadpool, who upped the humour quotient in superhero flicks, men and women who inhabit both DC and Marvel universes, except the brooding Bat and the Kryptonian god, go out of their way to elicit a few laughs while trying to save the world. Suicide Squad is no exception although most of the time, the humour feels forced and devoid of wit.
A few uplifting performances can barely substitute a weak plot. The action and whole lot of explosions aren't outstanding either, making Suicide Squad a passable affair.
Film: Suicide Squad
Director: David Ayer
Cast: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney and Jay Hernandez