One of the most highly anticipated films of the year, Suicide Squad is jam-packed with action, star power and mayhem, but a little restraint would've gone a long way.

On paper, and in the trailers, it looks epic - so many larger-than-life characters and big names in one feature - but in reality it comes off just a bit too busy.

The Suicide Squad are a band of villains brought together to form a covert task force that will work with the government in exchange for time off their prison sentences. But they're the bad guys, right? Well, in this movie, no, not really. They retain all of the intrigue and enthral that comes with their villainous pasts, but you'll find yourself rooting for them more than Batman this time around.

And yes, Batman shows up, and if you stay 'til the end credits roll, you'll see a nice little teaser for the Justice League movie.

The beginning of the film is strong and really gets the adrenaline pumping as we are introduced to each Squad member and become acquainted with the paths that led them to this point. The soundtrack and the vibrancy of their worlds really drive this along and you're immediately hooked.

As the Squad get to know each other, figure out their allegiances and get going on their first mission, things go a little off the wall. The story just isn't really there - it's all a spectacle from this point. The CGI is out in full force and the set pieces are huge, but it never goes too deep into any one character and this is a real shame.

I would have much preferred to explore fewer characters in greater detail, but I can only assume there are a dozen or so spin-offs, sequels and origin stories in the pipeline to tackle this, with the stories of the Joker (Leto) and Harley Quinn (Robbie) crying out in particular.

The Joker and Harley were the two characters I was most excited to see on the screen, but unfortunately they were so heavily teased in the trailers and promo material that a lot of their best stuff was already out there. 

This doesn't detract from Leto and Robbie's performances, though: they are both solid. Leto, especially, had a lot to prove here and his Joker is maniacal, unnerving and incredibly stylish. Seriously, the costume department has played a blinder.

When you look past the tenuous plot, Suicide Squad is still very much worth the watch, but it's been over-hyped to the point that expectations might be a bit too hard to reach.

It was always going to be an ambitious project, especially following its disappointing DC Comics Extended Universe predecessor Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but they simply bit off more than they could chew. In a similar way that Dawn of Justice was a preamble to the Justice League movie, this is definitely just a taster of what is still to come down the line.

Sinead Brennan

Check out our interviews with Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney and Jay Hernandez, Jared Leto, Cara Delevingne and more here: