Certificate 15, 123 minutes
Director: David Ayer
Stars: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie
Suicide Squad opens at a black site, a prison (apparently in Louisiana) where "special" prisoners are incarcerated. It starts by focusing on two of those incarcerated, Floyd Lawton/Deadshot (Will Smith, After Earth, Focus, Men in Black 3) and Dr. Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn (Margot Robie), but all that really happens in this bit is its shown that the prisoners aren't exactly treated very well.
Then it moves to a hotel in Washington, D.C. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis, Prisoners) whose job is never actually made clear is discussing her proposed Task Force X, part of Argos. She's assembled a lot of very dangerous individuals, and wants to use them to fight very dangerous threats (even though they are dangerous, and are going to be used to defeat very dangerous foes, they've been successfully locked up) just in case the next Superman is not as benign (the film is set after the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Superman's demise at the hands of Doomsday).
Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Suicide_Squad_(film)_Poster.pngWaller gives an overview of the people she has currently got her hands on. These are Deadeye, an assassin who never misses a shot, who was taken down in Gotham by Batman (Ben Affleck, Gone Girl, Runner Runner). Dr. Harley Quinzel, before she became Harley Quinn, was a psychiatrist working at Arkham Asylum. Unfortunately, she fell in love with her patient - The Joker (Jared Leto). Convinced to help him escape, Dr. Quinzel was then tortured by the Joker - a process she submitted to willingly, out of love - and became, if anything, crazier than him. She, too, was captured by the Batman.
The Australian bank robber Digger Harkness/Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) was captured by The Flash (Ezra Miller) when he moved to the States. Waylon Jones/Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Thor: The Dark World), a reptilian humanoid with a tendency to eat people appeared to have been captured by more mundane means. Chato Santana/El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), a Los Angeles gang member with some serious abilities related to fire turned himself in voluntarily, and has since sworn off violence. Dr. June Moone/Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) is an archaeologist who is possessed by the spirit of a millennia-old metahuman witch called the Enchantress. Finally, Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman, Run All Night) is not a criminal, but a Special Forces soldier. However, he fell in love with Dr. Moone. Waller controls the Enchantress, as she has the latter's heart, and through his love for Moone, she controls Colonel Flag.
Following the initial meeting, the proposal is then made to what is possibly the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. The initial reaction is less than enthusiastic, but a demonstration by the Enchantress sways opinion to Waller's side. Waller's argument is that they need a team to deal with metahuman threats, one they can "throw under a bus" if necessary, and that others are doing the same.
The potential members of Task Force X are not exactly happy with the proposal. Given their natures, this is not surprising. Colonel Flag is also unhappy about leading a team of criminals into combat, rather than soldiers. Many of the team have their own plans as well, especially the Enchantress. The Joker is also looking for his lost love - Harley Quinn and the Joker are in love. A deranged, deeply dysfunctional love, but love all the same.
When an event happens in Midway City - there is a good hour's run-up to the Suicide Squad being despatched to the place, Task Force X are implanted with bombs that will blow off their heads and sent in to rescue a VIP referred to only as HVT1 who has been trapped in the city. They are also joined by Tatsu Yamashiro/Katana (Karen Fukuhara), Flag's bodyguard who wields a soul-drinking sword, and another criminal, Christopher Weiss/Slipknot (Adam Beach) who can apparently climb anything, join the team (some background is given on Katana; absolutely none on Slipknot). The members of the squad are told that it is a "terrorist incident" that's happened - something that is blatantly untrue given the light show and flying material. Things, of course, do not go well immediately, as everyone has their own agendas and are not functioning as a team. Until they do, they fail to accomplish anything.
This is the third film in the DC Extended Universe, DC Comics' counterpart to Marvel's Cinematic Universe, and there are glimpses of other elements, such as the brief appearances of Batman and the even briefer cameo by the Flash. Unlike Marvel's offering, the DC universe doesn't tie in with any of the current television series - The Flash, Gotham and Arrow are all separate - and it hasn't been running as long to get as comprehensively interwoven. Suicide Squad is available in both 2D and 3D, with the 3D version being the one watched. Live action films are rarely as good in 3D unless there is substantial use of appropriate CGI scenes, and this is no exception. There are a handful of places where the 3D is noticeable; otherwise, it does not add anything.
It is, as mentioned, never clear what Waller's job actually is. This is presumably deliberate. She states at one point "I see everything" which is presumably referencing the hundred eyed giant of Greek mythology, Argus Panoptes, the "all-seeing" and is probably what her organisation is named for. Even though she has no superpowers or skills of any sort, she is perhaps the scariest person in the film. Supposedly one of the good guys, she is more truly a villain. Waller is utterly ruthless, totally manipulative and will do absolutely anything she deems necessary to protect the security of her country and advance her cause. People who are convinced they are right and are willing to do whatever it takes (and kill anyone they deem necessary) to act on this are absolutely terrifying. Despite Waller coming across as unemotional, this makes her one of the best characterisations in the entire film.
Apart from Waller, the demented Harley Quinn is probably the best character, as well as possibly being the most interesting in her completely wacked out approach to everything. Deadshot shows he has a human side, as well as that of a highly paid assassin, but most of the others get very little in the way of character development. The Joker's role is limited and confusing. For one thing, this is a character who is extremely linked to both Gotham and Batman, and in this is not operating around either. For another, according to Leto, many of his scenes were cut from the final film. Perhaps too many scenes were cut from the film overall, even though it's still over two hours in length. The Joker's character is more of a classic portrayal than that of the late Heath Ledger, and this could have been interesting - if he had more screen time.
The feeling that too much has been cut from the film is because the plot is largely incoherent, due to effectively running two different stories at the same time that basically clash with each other, and most of the characters have very little in the way of development. Most of them are pretty difficult to get involved with because, apart from Harley Quinn, Deadshot and Waller, there has been simply not enough time developing them to any degree.
Like the recent Deadpool, this film deliberately aimed at a 15 certificate, older than the typical market that superhero films start their aim at (Batman v Superman would have been a higher certification, but was cut to get a lower on, and Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man film originally had a 15 certification which resulted in the creation of the 12A rating in the UK to allow those viewers it was aimed at to see it).
The soundtrack - not the songs written for the film, but those ones already existing - stands out quite a bit. It's largely comprised of tracks from the 80s and 90s, which does add a different spin to it; there is little in the way of modern tracks. The film on the whole looks pretty good, and there are some nice scenes, but there are also some slow-mo pieces that look utterly unnecessary and out of place. There are the occasional flashes of humour, but not to the level that was seen in Deadpool, which is probably the film this is most competing with. Perhaps there should have been more, or none.
Watch out for the mid-trailer scene, which would seem to be a reference to the upcoming Justice League film, and a sequel is already planned to this as, despite its flaws, it will probably be successful enough to justify one. Perhaps a director's cut will be better than the cinematic release, one with deleted scenes added back in. Suicide Squad is an okay film, but a bit of a disappointment that could have been a whole lot better, and when it comes to current cinematic adaptations of their material, Marvel is still utterly beating DC, both in the Cinematic Universe and in the X-Men franchise.