Suicide Squad, with Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis. Directed by David Ayer. 3.5/5
DC ENTERTAINMENT took a gamble with the latest superhero film based on the DC Comics universe, by throwing a host of little known or completely unknown characters at the audience with little to no backstory.
The Suicide Squad is well-known to fans of the comics, but not so much to casual moviegoers.
The premise, when launched in 1987, was revolutionary comics story-telling. Creator John Ostrander was given licence to assemble a team of some well-known and some fringe villains who had appeared in other comics, have them work off their debt to society by undertaking covert missions for the US government, and sometimes kill off a few of them.
The early death of Slipknot (Adam Beach) in the Suicide Squad movie is a direct nod to the comics.
Batman’s rogues gallery provides choice pickings for the squad, which is why it garners the Dark Knight’s (Ben Affleck cameo) attention, and this movie ties in nicely with the upcoming Justice League. But again, it was a risk to present the villains to audiences before their heroic nemeses.
Suicide Squad provides great entertainment value in terms of action, spectacle and humour, to some degree, but among its continuity blunders and plot holes are two especially glaring ones. First, the creative team followed Marvel’s misguided notion of altering well-established characters in comics lore for no other purpose than political correctness.
It was done with Heimdall in Thor, Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four, and Nick Fury in Iron Man and the Avengers – although there was a precedent for Samuel L Jackson’s version of Fury in Marvel’s alternate universe, Ultimate Marvel.
In Suicide Squad, it was obviously a coup for the producers to get Will Smith to top-bill their movie, but why cast him as Deadshot? Ideally, Smith would be Bronze Tiger, supreme martial artist and one-time Batman foe, who led the squad on many of its missions.
The other silly mistake was to make the very first enemy the squad faces a global threat. We have seen too many of these city-destroying, terraforming villains already, from Man of Steel to X-Men: Apocalypse.
The Suicide Squad could have been better utilised at their stock in trade – covert and morally ambiguous international missions to protect American interests or attempt regime change in various countries.