Suicide Squad ★★★½

David Ayer's Suicide Squad skirts with excellence, but settles for entertaining. It serves up fun through the characters, the expansion of this universe, and the promise of a new vibe with its "bad vs. evil" pitch. And it almost gets there. But despite laying out its grey sense of morality, the movie doesn't always utilise the "bad" nature of these people with a lot of depth. Ideas go a little cold. Emotional beats don't land quite as hard as they should. They're there; they just need more punch.

Suicide Squad's central concern is its uneven pacing, stopping and starting without always feeling fluid. It's noticeable during the film's extended prologue, and even moreso when the (unfortunately slim) narrative commences. Ayer's handling of the action is slightly underwhelming, too, lacking standout moments.

The cavalcade of criminals here are an enjoyable bunch, with Will Smith's Deadshot and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn the clear focuses. The team members are distinct and well-characterised, though there are moments where motivations are too murky to fully grasp. Special mention to Jai Courtney, who gives the performance of his life as the beer-guzzling Boomerang. The antagonistic element is definitely undercooked, but Viola Davis improves things with her highly satisfying take on Amanda Waller (the woman commanding our titular squad).

It's a shame that this film falls short in places, because there's a manic energy lurking inside every scene... it's just not capitalised on enough. Ayer's bold visions are held back by the confines of a pedestrian plot, and a structure that feels as wild as its characters.

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