Sort of a sequel to Suicide Squad (presumably the next will be titled Thee Suicide Squad) this madcap rollercoaster almost defies you to dislike it with enough thunder to kick up quite a cinematic storm. The premise is the same as the first film with some more wayward superheroes added into the mix yet some of the lessons of that first film have not really been learned. Its overcrowded and shouty with a Big Bad so preposterous that when I type it after the break I will not believe I am actually typing it nor that I actually saw it. Though macho arrogance is the movie’s calling card the best performances and the most interesting characters are all female. Sparks of intelligence are snuffed out by repetitive violence. Yet out of this melee there is a film you can definitely enjoy at least while you’re watching it.
A giant multi coloured starfish. Moving
around on it’s appendages (arms? legs? tentacles?) wrecking the capital city of
a small island state recently overcome by a military dictator. As despatched by
tough Amanda Waller (Viola Davis, terrific) the so called Suicide Squad are
sent to restore legitimate government and if they deviate bombs planted inside
them will explode. For succeeding they will get ten years off their lengthy
sentences. The first half of the film is better, sharper. It opens with a scenario
that progresses until the rug is swept away to reveal where the film is really
going. It’s a clever, fun diversion and promises much. Soon after, the film’s
best gag occurs as the squad raid a jungle camp slaughtering dozens until they
discover that actually these were the rebels they were supposed to help!
This comedy with extreme violence runs
throughout but as the film progresses it becomes a weary trick. Gradually he movie’s signatures start to pall and as with almost all superhero films it’s
a good thirty minutes too long. By the time our remaining heroes are grappling
with mad science and a collapsing multi storey stone building violence fatigue
has set in for the viewer. Its all done really well its just that we’ve already
had a ltot of this sort of stuff.
There are however bright spots especially
when the squad’s moral loyalties are tested. Not really sure that such criminal
types would wrestle each other to the death over what should or shouldn’t be
revealed to the public over the horrific experiments they’ve discovered in this
tower but that debate, punctuated by combat, provides a more interesting scenario
than the travails of escaping more collapsing debris and more gun toting
soldiers. The story also takes some political pot shots at the American establishment but these come too late into the narrative to really make the impact they should. The rampage of the giant starfish is as mad as you like and at this
point you just shrug and imagine you’ve eaten too many prawn cocktail crisps.
Harley Quinn remains the most interesting
character of this particular wing of the DC Universe and Margot Robbie’s central
scenes radiate especially when she appears to agree to marry one of the
dictators. I don’t know whether DC have any sort of plan at all because I was
hoping they’d continue with Harley’s own strand rather than yank her back into
jail. Idris Elba, David Dastmalchian, Peter Capaldi and Joel Kinnaman also have
their moments but it is Daniela Melchior who almost steals the film as Ratcatcher
by giving a quieter, more subtle performance than her shrill colleagues. She
brings a much needed conscience to proceedings.
Visually the film is as fast as any and though there is considerable skill in every aspect of staging these kinetic almost balletic fight sequences they are now so commonplace in films that you long for an awkward fight where both participants are actually not that well trained. Do all superheroes and supervillains attend the same fight club? James Gunn does try and differentiate by presenting comic strip style signs from whatever is around and there’s a funny visual gag about Polka Dot’s mother. Fans of this sort of film will love it and there is quite a lot to like. It is a better film than the first one but would I want to see a third? Erm…probably not