MOVIE REVIEW: Margot Robbie is a knockout in Suicide Squad
THE superhero genre is a competitive one at the moment, and it's fair to say Marvel is dominating the space.
DC's characters, via Warner Brothers, are making a comeback but it the latest instalment, Suicide Squad, feels a bit rushed.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been expanding on the big and small screens for more than a decade, and we had several films (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America) to get to know the gang before they assembled.
DC's highly anticipated Suicide Squad, a sort of anti-hero answer to The Avengers, attempts to introduce a slew of damaged yet lovable villains, bring them together, establish relationships and then test their resolve in a fight against a formidable foe in the course of just two hours and 10 minutes.
While Jared Leto is new to the role of The Joker, we do know his character; in this case he's called J by his sycophants. We have also already met Ben Affleck's Batman. But both of these men don't get that much screen time in Suicide Squad.
Movie-goers are instead left with a bunch of new characters to get to know and a convoluted, and at times confusing, plot.
The US government is looking for a way to combat any future 'meta-human' threats in the event another Superman-like being coming to Earth and not playing nice.
A bunch of dangerous criminals, some with special abilities, are apparently the answer - aka The Suicide Squad.
The ragtag group, held on a leash by super soldier Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) and shadowy government big-wig Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), is played excellently by an A-list cast.
Margot Robbie is a stand-out as the sweet yet lethal Harley Quinn. I wish she and Leto had their own movie as a set-up to Suicide Squad, rather than a rushed run down of their history via flashbacks.
Will Smith's Deadshot is a hitman with a conscience (the moral compass of the group) while Jai Courtney gets to use his native Aussie accent as Captain Boomerang, who appears to be there more for a bit of comic relief than to do much heavy lifting during the action scenes.
The ancient, magical being they're called in to defeat is again, not very well explained, and to enjoy the film you really need to put logic aside and just go with it.
The biggest missed opportunity of the film is its M rating. With a bunch of baddies, I think it would have been a much funnier film if it had been MA 15+ or, even better, if it had gone down the R-rated trail blazed by Deadpool earlier this year.
The film feels like it's trying to be edgier and darker than the traditional superhero romps, but doesn't have the full license to do so.
Suicide Squad is beautifully shot, the soundtrack is great and there are some great moments but as a whole it doesn't quite live up to the high standard set by Joss Whedon's Avengers.
I hope the upcoming Wonder Woman solo film, starring Gal Gadot, helps to get the DC franchise back on track before Justice League (Batman's team of superheroes) hits our screens next year.
Suicide Squad opens nationally tomorrow.
Stars: Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jai Courtney, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman.
Director: David Ayer
Verdict: 3/5 stars