If DC was a parrot, John Cleese would be returning to the pet shop now to Michael Palin and demanding a new one as this parrot is well and truly “bleeding demised”. The exciting “DC Universe” we were told about, has entered intensive care and has called the family to warn them that the end is nigh.
However if you go back to a world post Man of Steel, things looked salvageable. I am one of the very few that enjoyed Man of Steel and felt that although a bit too heavy handed at times, worked as a new take – all it needed was a second film to stretch its legs and explore Superman properly – give him some more sky to fly around in and be the big, happy-go-lucky boy scout we know he should be, however this was abandoned in favour of doing Marvel’s many phases of back catalogues in one film (BvS:DoJ), which served no one very well. Yes, Batman got a good scene where he got to beat up and murder a few people, but Superman was forced to stand in the back of his own film and watch everyone else have fun while he moped around and wondered what it was all about – which only goes to show that the ideal film partnership for this Superman would be with Daniel Craig’s James Bond, seeing as they are both irredeemably morose figures these days.
Once the dust settled on BvS:DoJ, the only thing really bringing hope to DC’s brave new World was the exquisitely put together Suicide Squad trailers – cut perfectly in time with classic rock numbers, this new rock and roll looking Dirty Dozen looked like it might be just the distraction DC needed to try and put everything back together while we weren’t looking, however it’s like hiding a red wine stain under a rug covered in more red wine stains.
Suicide Squad is a mess and it will only raise further questions about just what the hell is going on over at DC/Warner Bros. It also perfectly explains why they were so keen to show some Justice League footage recently.
Many will say that comparing Suicide Squad to Guardians of the Galaxy is unfair, however it really isn’t as Suicide Squad is trying to be Guardians of the Galaxy – but it fails completely. Remember in Guardians of the Galaxy when there was a lovingly picked selection of music that sat snugly over the images and made it one of the best selling companion albums ever? In Suicide Squad they try and do the same, however rather than having a brilliant song that breathes alongside the film and adds further strength to the visuals, we get a song that plays for 30 seconds, then another, then another, then another, then another – in what quickly becomes a nausea inducing shuffle, like someone skipping songs on your car stereo while you are driving. It adds nothing to the film and reminded me of the recent Angry Birds movie, where they did the same trick of just piling song after song on top of one another for absolutely no reason other than to sell some albums. It’s a cynical trick, but also a pointless one as the reason Guardians did it so well is that for the main part, they used music that was unique and mostly unfamiliar to many – which made some of them be forever associated with the film (cannot hear Come and Get Your Love now without thinking of Starlord holding an alien rat and singing it into its face), however in Suicide Squad they just rattle off the same old predictable songs, most of which we have heard in many other films; House of the Rising Sun, Paranoid, Fortunate Son, Black Skinhead etc – which is the opposite of Guardians, trying to force songs that are better known from elsewhere onto something new – it just doesn’t work.
As for the cast, Will Smith and Margot Robbie hold the whole thing together. Without them it would be wholly without merit. Smith has such natural charisma and charm that even with the weak character he has, he turns it into something with a heart, Robbie gives a great rendition of Harley Quinn – though you are left wondering why you would take someone who’s only super power seems to be laughing and hitting things with a baseball bat into a battle with a “meta-human”, this is never truly explained. Viola Davis is good as Amanda Waller, though her role also seems a thankless one.
Jared Leto’s Joker is just boring and offers nothing new at all. There is no substance to it, other than barking in a husky voice and smiling occasionally (and showing his “killer tattoos”), in terms of on screen Joker interpretations, this has to be the worst for the sole reason that it has no menace or charm. He just staggers around like an unconvincing sixth former who’s discovered hair dye, leather jackets and weed. No threat whatsoever and is barely in the film in any case.
This cannot be the film David Ayer set out to make, it feels like he had much more under the surface than this, and there are suggestions that it was edited and reshot to within an inch of its life – which really shows as the threads seldom link up.
As Suicide Squad staggers across the finish line, it leaves you hoping that Wonder Woman is going to be good, because if it isn’t, this universe is bereft of life – an ex-universe that wouldn’t “voom” if you put four million volts through it.