Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay ★★★☆☆

The phrase ‘Suicide Squad’ is one that sadly makes me grimace when I hear it, thanks to Warner Bros. Pictures and their dismal efforts at producing a DC anti-hero team film. Not all is lost though, as the latest DC animation to grace our screens is ‘Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay’, the 10th instalment of the DC Animated Movie Universe. Whilst it’s not the best animation I’ve seen from DC it’s the best representation of Suicide Squad that I’ve seen so far, and infinitely better than its live-action counterpart (to this day I still haven’t met a single person that enjoyed it).

Amanda Waller (Vanessa Williams), brings together a group of prisoners and tasks them with locating a highly desirable item that everyone wants to claim for themselves. Deadshot (Christian Slater) takes the lead, with Bronze Tiger, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost, and Copperhead following close behind. Due to the nature of the task, it’s completely off the books, meaning that they are without their usual resources and instead have to travel the city in a beaten-up campervan, mimicking some of deranged family road trip. Things escalate pretty quickly as the team realise that they’re up against some of the most powerful enemies who also desire what Waller wants. 

We’ve got an interesting range of anti-heroes here, from Bronze Tiger (Billy Brown), who’s arguably a fairly justified and balanced man but with a violent past, to Captain Boomerang (Liam McIntyre), who we all know isn’t the most moral and upstanding citizen one could run into.Harley Quinn (Tara Strong) is quite a big focus within the team, as per usual, although I struggled to understand what her real purpose was within the story, given that she didn’t seem particularly useful in a race against time for a supernatural item. She provides a lot of humour, but that seems about all she’s there for so I would have liked to have seen her character developed more. A lot of the humour also comes from Copperhead (Gideon Emery), and even though he’s definitely shown as more useful, I again would have liked to have seen more character development and backstory for him.

The actions scenes were the highlight of the film, with some effective and streamlined editing and a lot of violence and gore. The storyline itself is actually really interesting, and it gave me a sense of great relief to see character after character being killed off (as harsh as that sounds, it’s often more powerful for the viewer). Unfortunately, the ending was a tad predictable, but this didn’t put me off following the plot as it was still enjoyable to watch.

One problem I had was the humour - the animation is pretty dark, but I didn’t feel the comedy matched this all the way through. Some of it is incredibly witty, but it’s mixed with a few slightly cringey one-liners that fell flat. If anything I felt it would have worked better removing those examples, as at points they detracted from the grimness of the plot. 

Not everything works, but it still works enough to make ‘Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay’ an enjoyable animation that will hopefully change your opinion of the ‘Suicide Squad’ franchise and lure you back in with its intriguing characters and unforgiving storyline.

Hannah Read

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay at CeX

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