The Dirty Dozen with supervillains essentially sums up Suicide Squad, DC Comic’s spin-off from its Batman and Superman universes (as well as various less well known others). Frankly after the numbing bore that was Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Daniel Ayer’s movie carries with it a certain amount of expectation. Does it deliver the subversive goods and begin to atone for Jesse Eisenberg’s hideously annoying Lex Luthor?
The answer is yes and no. Let’s start with the positives. The casting is good, with morally dubious government spook Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) putting together a covert ops group consisting of nefarious supervillains incarcerated by the likes of Batman (Ben Affleck – who has a cameo here). The psychotic/sociopathic ensemble includes Will Smith’s Deadshot, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Killer Croc, Jay Hernandez’s Diablo, Jai Courtenay’s Boomerang and various others I can’t be bothered to list, supervised by the military under Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). They are sent on a secret mission to confront a supernatural force and… Well, the Joker (Jared Leto) gets involved, though not nearly enough for my liking. Instead the mysterious Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) takes centre stage.
All the performances are good, though as is often the case with ensemble casts, some characters are inevitably underserved. The two most developed are Harley Quinn and Deadshot, with Robbie and Smith’s winning turns distracting from what is clearly a much tinkered with film. Evidence of re-scripting, re-shooting and re-editing are abundant, perhaps because Ayer realised he would have been better off having his Suicide Squad take on a more down-to-Earth challenge than the fairly bland supernatural gubbins they are faced with here (one monstrous group of creatures resemble Scaroth from 1979 Doctor Who story City of Death).
Still, visual effects are good, there are some amusing moments (and some darker ones, enough to push the film from the usual 12A to a 15 rating), and overall the film is never less than entertaining. Fans of the comic will no doubt lap it up. The rest of the audience will find this a diverting mess. Damaged goods, but certainly a lot more satisfying than Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.