Finally, after some admittedly brilliantly edited and fun trailers, the finished article is here. I had been anticipating this for a long time and I’m not even much of a DC nut. With all these expectations I feel that, whilst it’s much better than Martha vs. Martha: Dawn of Justice, it’s still a messy disappointment.
Fearing what could happen in the aftermath of Superman’s ‘death’, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) wants to assemble the baddest of the bad to combat any world threatening forces. Amongst her wishlist are superb hit-man Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Chato Santana aka El Diablo (Jay Hernandez). Headed up by Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) this villainous and deranged group are tasked with stopping some magical cronies.
What I did like about this superhero…or perhaps anti-hero movie is the frenetic colourful style that runs through it. The look of the characters are also effective in creating identity and a cool mark of branding for the film. The Joker with his slick green hair and many tattoos is a special spin on the comic book baddie we all know, Harley will be everywhere by Halloween, what with her easily identifiable and mad get up. The characters, when grouped together light the film up in a way that rivals El Diablo’s power, especially when near the end they’re fighting in slow motion and showing just what they can do.
The intrigue is also sort of there, or at least director and writer David Ayer attempts to put some in amongst everything else but the kitchen sink that’s already walloping the screen. In a way the shady dealings and talks of official Amanda Waller are dealt right, you feel the political greyness of her world but at the same time it gets lost underneath the rest of this insane world. Everyone feels like a villain at some point as Ayer tries his damnedest to make us actually like the supposed bad guys, the whole witching hour of destruction is another case of flimsy story and loud noise syndrome to include CGI and a third act dilemma.
In a way I liked the psychotic nature of Harley Quinn, her clear knowing of her sex appeal and mad behaviour vamped up to the eleventh degree is all well and good and you can find it fun to a point but then it gets too much and her crazy becomes crazily tiresome, even a last ditched try to throw in some emotional loss her way feels too little too late. The main problem with all the characters is they feel very thin, the majority are written with some sob story backdrop that keeps coming back as if straining to have some heart in this feature.
Steven Price of the beautiful ‘Gravity’ music scores this in a way that feels less than his talent. I can’t even remember much of his work because it’s drowned out by a barrage of songs that feel like a broken jukebox shuffling through hits from The White Stripes to Eminem. The character’s introductions are so fast and backed by differing songs that they feel more like snippets from music videos. In general this is the issue with DC, they’re rushing through their universe and setting up so much that a huge portion gets forgotten and muddled. Glimpses of the Justice League people once again show up like that’s enough to warrant their own movie next year after only just having set up that whole ideal.
Margot Robbie is obviously having fun playing her part as the excitable and fearless baseball bat wielding Harley Quinn. She’s one of the stronger parts of the movie along with Jared Leto. He ensures The Joker is maniacal and unhinged but sadly he’s underused and doesn’t get to shine so much. Viola Davis is pretty good to, convincing as the shadowy government figure using these freaks as her own circus of tricks. Will Smith is alright, he’s bad-ass and gets delivered a larger chunk of the screenplay what with his asides, snips of jokey dialogue and daughter infused drama. Killer Croc, Katana and Slipknot are already dwindling in my memory with how little they do.
Without any hesitation, this is the best film to come out of the DC extended universe so far, it’s fast, humorous in places and quite different but it’s a disappointing movie striving to be edgy and all feeling rather hollow.