This review may include spoilers
The villain is always a more interesting character than the hero. Loki was a more engaging figure than Thor, and, be he played by Romero, Nicholson or Ledger, the Joker has a history of upstaging Batman. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for DC to make a film where its villains are the protagonists; their villains, especially those from Batman’s rogues gallery, have always been more fascinating than Marvel’s. Suicide Squad, however, doesn’t really live up to its potential.
The arrival and death of Superman has had a big impact on the DC Universe. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) has decided to assemble a task force in case “the next Superman” threatens humanity. Members of this task force include but are not limited to the world’s greatest hitman Deadshot (Will Smith, psychiatrist-turned-criminal-clown Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and the supernatural Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). When Enchantress turns rogue and threatens to plunge the world into darkness, the rest of the Squad must stop her plan from coming to fruition. While all this is happening, the Joker (Jared Leto) wants Harley to come back to him.
Suicide Squad attempts to inject some variety into the DC cinematic universe, which has been shown as rather lugubrious so far. Suicide Squad, however, boasts that it’s more fun and wacky, with taglines like “Worst Heroes Ever”. It reminds of the animated movie Megamind, which, starring a supervillain, promised “the superhero movie will never be the same”, and, let’s face it, Suicide Squad isn’t really that much more mature than that film.
Before the film came out, elements like the look for Leto’s Joker were criticized for trying too hard, and the final film doesn’t have as much personality as it thinks it does. It may have flashy colours when the character’s biographies are shown, and have a lot of licensed songs in the soundtrack, but it’s just another “rag-tag group foil a big evil baddie” with no real twists or additions. Half of the characters you’ll forget were even in the movie.
Out of all the Squad members, the ones that get the most screentime are Deadshot and Harley, and they, thankfully, are played well. Robbie especially seems to be having a lot of fun as Joker’s girlfriend, so the film is worth a watch for her alone. One of the more interesting elements of the film is the flashbacks between her and the Joker (and really, her story could have made a pretty good film on its own). Davis is another fine performance, fittingly commanding and tough-as-nails. Sadly, one of the best performances in this film comes from Affleck as Batman, and he only makes a couple of cameos (but in those cameos, he seemed more the traditional Batman than he did in Batman v Superman). Leto isn’t as bad as some dreaded he would be, but he doesn’t actually appear very often, and isn’t as good as either Romero, Nicholson or Ledger.
But that’s really the problem with the film. It’s about the supervillains of DC, yet the supervillains of DC have been done so much better before on cinema. If you’re expecting something as memorable as Hardy’s Bane or Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, you’re going to be disappointed.