DC comics latest superhero outing had such a promising start; all the trailers promised a team match up to rival the likes of the extremely successful Marvel Avengers. However, these tantalising trailers failed to match expectation (a common trend when it comes to DC these days – with the exception of Nolan’s Batman trilogy).
The squad has all the right ingredients; unlike the Avengers, we’re routing for the bad guys. This should separate it straight away and take the film into a league of its own; unfortunately the major plot line drags this wonderful idea down within the first hour. The only reason the DC world needs this team of extremely evil crusaders is due to the idea of using villains to fight the world’s battles for us. An interesting concept, sending prisoners to fight a war where otherwise good people would die. But without Davis’ Amanda Waller character urging this idea, the most evil baddie among the team wouldn’t have the opportunity to wreak havoc in the first place and we could all have avoided wasting 2 hours of our lives.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all that bad. You are treated to some wonderful baddies with great performances from the the likes of Margo Robbie as Harley Quinn and Will Smith as the notorious Deadshot. They’re pushed to the forefront of the film, learning more about them than any other character. Even though we know they’re villains, their actions are become justified – Harley Quinn is simply a product of the joker, unable to resist his… charms. And Deadshot wants money for his daughter. Perfectly understandable and so we begin to route for them. The problem is we just don’t care enough about the other characters. They’re briefly entertaining and have amazing abilities but ultimately, they’re fighting a battle they shouldn’t be and that makes the audience less inclined to care as the whole thing could’ve been avoided.
Arguably, the reason the avengers series works so well is the fact we have build up – before the Avengers Assemble (2012), we’d already had Iron Man one and two (2008 & 2010), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Thor (2011). Within these, the heroes who assemble have cross overs; we’re preparing for the ultimate team of heroes to save the day. And if you dint like one superhero (poor hulk – only successful as a team member), then you had plenty of others to choose from (give Black Widow her own film already!). We know their back stories after hours to get to understand them, to know how they tick, to become fully rounded characters. But, with the exception of the joker and a brief appearance by Batman, all these characters are new to us. We get a very brief outline of each of them within the first half hour, but its just not enough to care. Basically they’re bad guys who did something wrong and ended up imprisoned. That’s all you really get.
So unless you know the comics (apologies I’ve never really read one!) then you won’t get all the inner jokes or the Easter eggs. Now for die hard fans, this film may be amazing and a truly wonderful interpretation of a well established franchise. But if you aren’t then the humour and effects just aren’t enough to make up for the lack of commitment. It simply lacks that certain something that spurs superhero films on. It’s darker than the likes of the Avengers, but the whole plot just seems pretty pointless.
All in all if you’re into kick-arse superhero films, you’ll enjoy it. It’s easy going, you know the plot and you know how it will end – this time (spoiler alert) the baddies turned good guys will beat the even baddier bad guy/girl. There’s no surprises, no shocking twists, just a run of the mill superhero film. The fact we’re asked to support these evil people isn’t too far of a stretch. After all they’re represented as people we can understand. Like Deadpool (2016), we can route for these misunderstood villains/ heroes. But it’s not nearly as clever or as funny as Reynold’s alter ego. It’s just another alright superhero film, and Robbie, Smith and co, can’t save it from being nothing more.
Needless to say, I remain a Marvel fan. Nice try DC, better luck next time (how many more next times can you actually afford?… I’ve seen too many superman and batman films to last a lifetime…). The world still awaits the round up that will join the Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) with the (now split) avengers. They’re simply more rounded and more interesting. To invest in such a back story may be expensive, but Marvel has proved this tactic as a gold mine. Trying to separate themselves from the Marvel route may just have been DCs downfall.
So thanks again for trying but please leave the comic film franchise to the experts and, for the love of God don’t make another superman. Henry Cavil may be gorgeous, but after so many Superman films, we’re really bored. And Batman should have stopped with Christian Bale – no one can match his performance or Nolan’s direction. Stop trying for a decade or so and we may actually care about another re-boot, but for now let Marvel have their day and retire gloriously before you botch another superhero film. We’ve been through enough.
Director: David Ayer; Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Cara Delevingne. 15 cert, 123 mins.