The movie offerings from DC haven't been able to catch the kind of breaks that Marvel has. Man of Steel seemed to catch a kryptonite bullet from the fans. Then Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice took a baterang to the face from critics and audiences alike. DC have been a little braver - for better or worse - Snyder guiding a moodier and more sub-textual ship than Captain Feige. Whatever your opinion is, DC always had one thing over Marvel...it's villains. As devilish as Loki may have been, he pales in the mythos of the Joker. So then, it's surely a no-brainer to stuff DC's rogues into a movie and watch them cause chaos.
Suicide Squad carries on the courage of it's older, more mature relatives. From the opening sequence it's bold and unapologetically brash. While the movie almost presents itself as a reflection of it's title characters - messed up, haphazard and certainly not afraid to have a little fun - it also feels at times likes it's uncertain of itself; making too much of a rawkus to try and persuade us of what a rip-roarer it is. There's crash cuts, character bios that clatter audibly over the frame and overlaying graphics that nearly hammer you into submission. It's first act is a whistle stop tour of the universe it's setting up. The super-maximum security prison of Belle Rev is walked through while characters are introduced with names and stats that seem like top trumps on ecstasy. Once the tastier bat-involving origins are run through, it all gets a little noisy. Great music cues seem reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy, but never quite hit the note they're going for. As intros go it's fun enough, but it's oddly unconvincing.
It's hard enough to accomplish the narrative juggling act when there's a handful of main characters. Too little development and no one cares what happens to your two dimensional characters. Too much time spent on each and every character means the story unravels as the audience forget why they're even there in first place. While Suicide Squad does enough to keep you entertained the juggling gets wobbly despite the titular effort it makes.
Suicide Squad really does have it's moments. This is thanks, in no small part, to it's cast. Although all are careful not to ambush each other with scenery chewing, there are those that stand out. Will Smith deftly handles the balancing act of merc with a heart, but the film doesn't seem interested in developing him and it's a tough sell to have us believe any stirring of conscience. Margot Robbie exudes lunacy while her humanity peeps from behind her eyes as Harley Quinn, but then it's quickly back to the same shtick for a quick laugh. Jai Courtney is spectacularly cast as the audacious Captain Boomerang, but isn't given the screen time to really flesh it out. It's a wince-inducing disservice, particularly when each character should have their own victory, but falls a little flat.
Despite the giddy spell Suicide Squad tries to put you under, you feel a little bit groggy when you come around.
3* - Where the Wild Things Almost Were