Can the Suicide Squad save the day… and the DC Cinematic Universe? Kevin O' Mahony reveals all.
Film Title: Suicide Squad
Director: David Ayer
Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez
Running Time: 123 min
Now lets be honest: this summer has been a real disappointment on the blockbuster front. With the avalanche of sequels and reboots failing to captivate, all heads turned to this summer's latest arrival, Suicide Squad, with many regarding it as a beacon of originality in an otherwise decidedly dull summer schedule.
Like its DC Extended Universe (DCEU) sibling Batman v Superman, this film also arrives on our screens following a huge hype-campaign by Warner Bros. which began almost two years ago.
Since that time, we have been treated to several high profile trailers and teasers, all of which showed varying signs of promise.
We were promised a rip-roaring dark and edgy romp, containing some truly infamous DC villains.
The premise sounded fresh and exiting: dangerous criminals form together to fight an unknown threat.
Many said that the premise was too offbeat and couldn't work. Others argued that there was no appetite for a comic-book movie that didn't feature any superheroes. Nevertheless, Suicide Squad was on its way, and audience expectation grew.
Two major events have happened since the announcement of Suicide Squad in 2014 that would go on to have major ramifications for DCEU's latest behemoth.
Firstly Deadpool's unforeseen megabucks earlier this year; nobody really saw Deadpool doing as well as it did, both with the critics and at the box-office. It was an undeniable hit.
It was risky, adult and most importantly it felt fresh. Suddenly, studios were scrambling to re-shoot some of their movies in order to inject some of that 'Deadpool-factor': consisting of knowing, irreverent humour that didn't take itself seriously or preach piously to the audience.
The second thing to affect Suicide Squad's trajectory was the release of the aforementioned Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
That film was supposed to cement the DCEU as a serious project. However, it is now safe to say that BvS did not achieve its goal.
It was neither a critical nor a financial success, with many pointing to its distinct lack of humour and joviality as a major flaw. It was – in fact – crying out for some 'Deadpool-factor'.
And so stories started to emerge after these two events that Suicide Squad was going to have some expensive re-shoots, with the sole purpose of 'making it funnier'.
Soon after that, similar stories arrived of two competing edits of the film – one more humourous, the other more serious – that were duking it out in front of test audiences.
Some felt that this was a clear indicator that all was not well in camp DC, and that the studio held a distinct lack of confidence in its villainous caper.
A new question started to emerge: was Suicide Squad going to be a fortuitous hit or an epic disaster?
The answer, it must be said, is somewhere in the middle. The film is by no means the BvS train wreck many predicted (and many reviewers have claimed), nor is it Deadpool level of wit and cool.
Suicide Squad promises so much, and for the first half of the movie it delivers as it rockets along with aplomb.
The pop-rock infused soundtrack works surprisingly well as each character is introduced with snazzy OTT titles, and in keeping with graphic novel traits, it all takes place over one long night, which is to be applauded.
The main rouges do well with their screen-time, with special mention to Margot Robbie as the sexy-psychotic Harley Quinn and Will Smith as the ultra-cool Deadshot.
Viola Davis also does well as the film's sinister government official and Jai Courntey almost steals the show as Captain Boomerang.
However, the other members of the team are not serviced well, either by script or by performance. And the less said about Jared Letto's Joker cameos the better. Really.
Sure, its not perfect and the third act descends into the usual by-the-numbers blockbuster stuff, but all in all, this is a very enjoyable popcorn comic piece.
It's flimsy, it doesn't always hit the mark and it could have certainly benefited from being a few notches up on the certificate scale, but in comparison to the recent drudge in the cinema, this is a surprise winner.
Go with your mates/significant other/fellow nerd, load up on snacks, check your brain at the door and prepare to be entertained.