Suicide Squad is DOA for missing comic's tone
SUICIDE SQUAD (PG 13)
Action / 123 minutes / Opens today
: A secret government agency forms a team of super-villains to take on powers
like Superman or other aliens who may come to Earth.
But a mystical enemy surfaces and the motley crew of anti-heroes - Deadshot (Will Smith),
Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) - are called into action.
TWO comic-book series turned into cinematic properties show that you can mess up a movie in two ways - by ignoring the tone of the source material, and also by sticking to it.
If you come into Suicide Squad thinking that because it has anti-heroes, it will be edgy and adult-oriented, you will be wrong.
Squad's anti-heroes are only a few shades more morally deviant than high-school kid Ferris Bueller from Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986).
An all-too-brief segment introduces Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Enchantress and others, explaining why they are criminals. It turns out they are not really bad people at all - surprise, surprise - just misguided or too much in love or some other movie-style rationalisation.
Except for human flame-thrower Diablo and the spell-casting Enchantress, the rest of the team lack real superpowers.
They are highly skilled - at sniping (Deadshot), gymnastics (Harley Quinn) or throwing a curved piece of metal (Boomerang).
The government goes through an awful lot of trouble forcing them to take on a difficult mission. Even by comic-book rules, their recruitment makes little sense.
Jared Leto's Joker is the most interesting character, by blending the posturing of Marilyn Manson with the swagger of a gangster rapper. When a character from a side-plot like the Joker steals the spotlight from the main players, your movie's in trouble.
Squad's writer-director David Ayer has made excellent studies of manly men under pressure - cops in End Of Watch (2012) and tankmen in Fury (2014).
Here, he plays down the source material's playfulness and focuses on the male hero Deadshot, when Ayer should be paying attention to moments of deepest kitsch.
When Delevingne's Enchantress is at her most evil, she does a snake-hips-wavey-arms hula dance out of a 1950s Bob Hope comedy. What on earth made him think this could work?