Suicide Squad ★★★½

Cluttered, overstuffed, but solidly entertaining, David Ayer's "Suicide Squad" is capable action epic that is not without its share of issues. Featuring DC's stable of second-tier villains, along with the comic producer's most royally evil couple, the film boasts intriguing characters who elevate the entire experience beyond its bloated sensibilities and lackluster narrative.

Revolving around a clandestine attempt by government and military operatives to assemble a team of imprisoned meta-humans to battle large-scale threats, "Suicide Squad" is better at observing that team than the reasons why the team is put together. There is not much to the squad's mission, but its members are compelling; and they are worth the narrative's price of admission.

That narrative unfolds in fits and starts of back story and villainous origin tales that make it all feel disjunct and haphazardly pieced together. The production is able to find its way when it observes its characters and their unique personalities, and, though their world is a dour and colorless place, the characters produce more than enough electricity. Ayer stages some sharp action sequences, but the muddled nature of the script is reflected in the film's execution. Editing can not completely salvage the story, but the cutting does its best to create a sensical progression of story beats and scenes.

Sets feel unpolished, costumes are tattered, and characters are coated with grit. Here, the clutter works, and the tainted morality of the film's players makes for heady, provocative popcorn drama. Those players are well-cast and exude dark charm and downcast human zest. Though there may be one too many of them, as the most known villain here serves zero purpose, the Suicide Squad is a compelling bunch.

"Suicide Squad" is a clear case where entertainment and enjoyability are derived from characters and their interactions, not story or its construction. The potent charms of Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jay Hernandez, and the rest of the cast elevate and make impactful an experience that could have rated as the superhero canon's most remarkable misfires had it been left to story alone. Thankfully, it all makes for a good-enough experience.

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