With Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, David Dastmalchian, Viola Davis
Directed by James Gunn
By this point, you’ve probably heard of it The suicide squad described as one of the craziest films of the year. But calling it crazy doesn’t even begin to do it justice. The suicide squad is one of the most hyperactive, brutal, and utterly insane blockbusters you’ve probably seen in a long time, and it could also be one of the best movies in the DC Extended Universe. Writer and director James Gunn has presented viewers with a truly original and subversive take on the superhero genre that both hardcore fans and casual viewers will love.
Serves as an independent continuation of the critically vilified 2016 Suicide squad Movie, The suicide squad sees a mismatched group of former supervillains head to the island nation of Corto Maltese to infiltrate and destroy Jotunheim, a facility believed to contain an alien threat. When the team arrives on the island, it soon encounters resistance from the local militia and it gets more and more violent and insane from now on.
Idris Elba plays Bloodsport, a former mercenary who acts as the reluctant leader of the team of inappropriate villains. Gunn clearly wanted characters with conflicting personalities, and Bloodsport was constantly at odds with John Cena’s peacemaker, with the former simply wanting to serve the mission to protect his daughter and the latter wanting to fight for peace at all costs, even if few civilians become on the Killed away. Peacemaker also has a disagreement with Rick Flag, who was again played by Joel Kinnaman, as the two characters have moral conflicts over how far they will go to ensure peace. The leading actors’ strong performances helped sell these scenes, although it was left to the viewer to choose which side when it came to the real moral debate. Morality is consistently prevented in very black and white The suicide squad, and the script, fortunately, never preaches to us about the nature of right and wrong. To make it easier, it was also amusing to watch Bloodsport, who has a rat phobia, constantly grapple with Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) as she literally has the power to control the filthy rodents.
On the flip side, Margot Robbie also delivers another wonderful performance than Harley Quinn, and while she didn’t have as much screen time here as in the two previous films she played the character in, Quinn was nonetheless given a lot of character here. At one point, she even reluctantly kills the President of Corto Maltese after he agrees to marry him for telling her he will kill the whole family of anyone who dares speak out against him, and she sees the killing of children as a red flag. We knew all along that for all her violent craziness, Harley Quinn really had a good heart, and moments like this remind us that she really isn’t that bad after all.
But the real breakout star here was Nanaue / King Shark, a walking humanoid shark who tries to eat anything and everyone he encounters. Though he didn’t have a lot of dialogue, Sylvester Stallone was utterly hilarious as the character’s voice, with his outspoken and almost childlike lines that helped make King Shark an insanely personable super villain. Comparisons to Groot from Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy films are likely inevitable, though King Shark makes Groot look like Baby Yoda. Because it is not an exaggeration to say that King Shark has a predilection for human flesh, which we are constantly reminded of The suicide squad.
For all of their obvious flaws and imperfections, each member of Task Force X turned out to be adorable in their own way, as Gunn clearly has a knack for writing personable but flawed characters. This is a movie that pulls our hearts by literally showing a key figure being stabbed in the heart (yes, there was literally an indoor shot of blood pouring out of his internal organ). So Gunn clearly isn’t doing any subtlety, but he certainly knows how to make us feel emotionally attached to his characters. Most viewers probably wouldn’t have expected to empathize with an obscure character like Polka-Dot Man (played by David Dastmalchian), but if we want to learn his tragic backstory and reasons why he joined the team, we want to we immediately that he makes it on top.
Viola Davis also returns as Amanda Waller, the factual director of the Task Force X program, who directs the team from her headquarters. Waller is clearly thought to be very unsympathetic as she threatens to send Bloodsport’s daughter to a notoriously violent adult prison unless he agrees to lead the team and also has bombs implanted in the skulls of Task Force X members to keep them from disobeying their commands. Watching Waller’s subordinate knock her unconscious with a golf club when she was about to hit the kill switches was one of the most satisfying moments in the entire film, though Waller survives and isn’t too pleased when she gets to it.
Needless to say, this is a movie that absolutely takes its R-rating, so whether it’s King Shark literally tearing a guy in half or cutting Captain Boomerang’s title weapon through a soldier’s head, The suicide squad is probably one of the bloodiest superhero films you will ever see. At a time when the superhero genre has unfairly developed a reputation for children’s entertainment, watching Peacemaker’s exploding ball literally blow its enemies to pieces is so incredibly satisfying. Gunn even seems to want to do everything possible to fill his film with as many gruesome images as possible at every opportunity that presents itself. Similarly, it was also a relief to hear that R-rated speech was used constantly throughout the picture, as opposed to the adjusted speech we usually get in superhero movies.
If you’ve paid any attention to marketing, you know this The suicide squad ends with a sequence with Starro the Conqueror, a giant alien starfish monster who runs a Godzilla-style rampage across Corto Maltese. Although it’s also available on HBO Max in the US, The suicide squad absolutely must be seen on the big screen, as Starro’s rampage and most of the other action set pieces throughout the film must be experienced in a theatrical setting. Who wouldn’t want to see a giant starfish destroy a city on the largest possible screen?
The suicide squad takes the well-known superhero genre and completely erodes all expectations and delivers a fun, exaggerated and extremely violent adventure that will be cherished for years to come. James Gunn has once again put his unique stamp on the genre, and The suicide squad will likely be remembered as one of the absolute best superhero films of all time.
With his insane action set pieces, the strong performance of his lead cast and a lot of blood, The suicide squad could easily be one of the best superhero films of all time.