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In an industry that’s oversaturated with superhero movies, Suicide Squad was supposed to be the antidote. A film in which the bad guys are actually our heroes could flip the formula and give the audience a new life into a genre that’s approaching the point of no return in terms of staleness.
Maybe this potential is why Suicide Squad is the biggest superhero disappointment in recent memory, even more than Batman v Superman. Not only does it fail to shake things up, but it’s not even competent enough to be a serviceable superhero flick. To start with, a warning: anyone looking forward to Jared Leto's much-hyped turn as the Joker in Suicide Squad is in for disappointment. Leto's reinterpretation of DC Comics most famous villain as a drug-addled rich boy is neither great nor terrible. The shock is that the Joker appears in the film for only a few minutes, and isn't part of the "squad" of the title.
The flick kicks off with a dramatic 30 minutes of character introduction scenes, each backed by a different soundtrack that you’ve heard in countless movies before. Viola Davis plays Amanda Waller, a no-nonsense special agent who wants to assemble a team of incarcerated supervillains to do cleanup for the government that superheroes might not be able to handle. She already has the dark witch Enchantress doing secret agent work since she has her heart in a box. Now she wants to bring in the remarkable sharpshooter assassin Deadshot (Will Smith), Joker’s lover in crime Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), tertiary Flash villain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), scaly-skinned monster man Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), fire-spitting tattooed gangster Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and a few others who pop up and sometimes get backstories and sometimes don’t.
It’s fun to root for imperfect people that run together in an imperfect world. Flaws are what makes characters on-screen appear human, and yet, the greater and more abundant the flaws, the more villainous they are usually perceived. You can’t have a strong hero without an equally matched villain. Despite the supposed darkness of Warner's DC superhero films compared to the Marvel competition, Robbie's clownish Harley would fit right into one of the campy ‘Tim Burton’ Batman sequels from the late 1980s. Still, without her there wouldn't be much in Suicide Squad to enjoy.