When I first began seeing promo materials for “Suicide Squad,” whether on subway platforms or splashed across my TV screen, I was struck by the vibrant, in-your-face nature of the trailers and posters. It was riveting in a way that films rarely are. Warner Bros. seemed to be ripping this story straight from the pages of their beloved DC comic books, bringing the infamous Task Force X to life through stunning pop-up art and vibrant letters. A highly-anticipated film, with a diverse and star-studded cast, the villain riddled “Suicide Squad” got me all the way into the theater, only to abruptly leave me hanging a mere twenty minutes into the film.
Written and directed by “Training Day” scribe David Ayer, the story opens shortly after the events of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” (which I called aggressively overblown, but fun to watch). Government Agent Amanda Waller, (who is played ferociously by Viola Davis) has managed to round up some of the worst criminals in society. Holding them hostage at a Black Ops site, Waller hopes to manipulate them into becoming a team of super villains. It is her hope that this team will help serve her in taking other meta-humans and evildoers down.
So who are these mega villains? There is a motley crew, which is where I think the film began to trip over itself. Along with Davis’ Waller, the main cast consists of Will Smith as the assassin Deadshot, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto as Harley Quinn and The Joker respectively, Joel Kinnaman and Cara Delevingne star as Rick Flag and Enchantress, and rounding out the supporting cast is Australian actor Jai Courtney as Boomerang, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, British-Nigerian actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaj as Killer Croc, Adam Beach as Slipnot and Karen Fukuhara in her first ever film appearance as Katana. With a cast bursting at the seams, there was little room left for poignant storylines and a well thought out trajectory. Furthermore, the gaps in acting ability were glaringly obvious. When juxtaposed with heavyweights like Davis, Smith, Leto and even Margot Robbie’s topsy-turvy Harley Quinn, Delevingne and Kinnaman’s performances as star crossed lovers felt false, and fell flat.
Continue reading at Shadow and Act.
Image: Warner Bros.