You stare over the edge. The drop, that seems to span a lifetime, culminates in a pot of bubbling acid. You have been lead here by love; a mad love, the kind you would do anything for.
He is talking. You follow his lips, the piercing eyes, and the electric green hair, savouring every glance. His voice seems muffled, but you know it all makes sense, that your Puddin’ has this world figured out despite what they say. You want to be indelible, so you can exist permanently alongside him, like the ink that stains his skin.
He knows what you must do, and you abide. Love is all about trust, about knowing that when you fall you will be caught.
You take a deep breath, and look into his eyes. This is how it has to be; This IS love. You step back, and repeat to yourself ‘love is trust.’ And as you race towards the earth you know what awaits is not scalding acid… no, it is the embrace of a lover’s kiss. A kiss that will be a rebirth.
Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayre (Training Day, Fury and End of Watch), is audiences’ third foray into the rapidly expanding DC cinematic universe, which so far has been met with disappointment, animosity and a real dislike towards anyone named Martha. However, despite my own hatred of this year’s Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, my excitement for this film still remained high. Unfortunately, there is a famous saying that adequately summarises how I feel at this moment: ‘fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.’ Suicide Squad, sadly, fails to deliver anything near the tremendous quality we were promised, and instead provides something that is immensely forgettable.
Set after the events of BvS, government official Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) comes up with the idea to utilise the most advanced and dangerous criminals currently incarcerated to protect the world from a possible meta-human threat. If they cooperate, the so called ‘worst of the worse’ will receive a reduction in their sentences, and if they don’t then small explosive devices implanted in their necks will ensure that they will not survive the excursion to take down Cara Delevingne’s seemingly omnipotent Enchantress, who has been laying waste to a random city. That, with a few minor complications along the way, is the overall plot, and let me tell you it is as dull as it sounds.
The first act of the film, which focuses on bringing together the not so loveable rouges, is where the movie is at its strongest. Characters such as Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn are given centre stage, and in certain moments the interaction between themselves and other members of the team are quite entertaining, and proof that if you come from the DC cannon you can have moments of levity. Yet, they are the only two characters- with the exception of Waller- who seem remotely human, and have thorough characterisation. Other members of the diverse cast, are consistently one-note and underdeveloped, until a moment deep into the third act that expects you to care for them for no apparent reason. Ayer’s writing, here, fails to follow Hollywood’s golden rule of showing, not telling, meaning that whenever we learn something about the characters it is usually through a large chunk of exposition-laced dialogue or disruptive flashback sequences. As a result, the film lacks cohesion and loses the minimal momentum it had been creating.
Also, the action sequences lack any real stakes, with the characters consistently battling mindless zombies as they make their way to “the swirling ring of trash in the sky.” All conflict seems to take place in the dark, or in the rain, or, in a bolder more artistic choice, the rain and the dark, meaning that we never get a real sense of scale or proximity. This reduces the tension, and makes the action seem more like a slog than a visceral experience. All this culminates in a conclusion, that is both cliché and swamped in ridiculously laborious slow motion.
Did I forget something? Oh yes, Jared Leto’s Joker; the character who the actor went to such extreme lengths as sending used condoms, dead rats and anal beads to his fellow co-stars, in order to bring to life. What a disappointment. Personally, this vision of the character, clearly inspired by Brian Azzarello’s acclaimed graphic novel Joker, is not for me. However, if that obnoxious, consistently wheezing, gang leader Joker is what you are looking for, then I still feel that there is not enough here to completely satisfy your appetite. Despite what the marketing team at Warner Brothers would have you believe, the clown prince of crime is nothing more than an accessory character whose appearances are few and far between. I am interested to see where the character goes in the future, and how he interacts with Ben Affleck’s interpretation of Batman, but unfortunately Suicide Squad, despite all the used condoms, has done nothing to convince me that that will be a success.
Whereas many of us believed that David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, would be a much needed injection of energy and levity into the DC cinematic universe, what audiences are actually provided with is something more deflated and lacking in enough cohesion to be a success. This instalment continues the systemic problem within live action DC productions, which is a focus on moments rather than scenes and storytelling. Sure, there are instances that are cool, and characters like Deadshot and Harley Quinn who are fun and exciting, but their presence cannot save the muddled mess they are inserted into. Although, this film is nowhere near as disastrous as its predecessor, it shares similar issues that unfortunately prohibit it from delivering the entertainment that should be provided by a picture with such a premise.