August 6th, 2021
MOVIE: THE SUICIDE SQUAD
STARRING: IDRIS ELBA, MARGOT ROBBIE, JOHN CENA, JOEL KINNAMAN, VIOLA DAVIS
DIRECTED BY: JAMES GUNN
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
It’s hard to pin down James Gunn’s version of The Suicide Squad. This is unlike any comic book movie we have seen before, which is what we should have expected from the guy that made the misfit crew of The Guardians of the Galaxy succeed, but not like this. The stakes, the gory blood, the in your face attitude, that’s an older school version of James Gunn and all of it is just the tip of what audiences will get in The Suicide Squad. The narrative concept is easy, where a crew of bad guys are given a trip out of prison to complete the covert missions of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). Most of the jokes are hit or miss, as well as the action, which will wack audiences in the face because you won’t see it coming. For some, that will be a good thing, where The Suicide Squad is anything but a boring experience. For others they are in for an emotional mixture of shock and awe, with a dash of strange that I like to call, “the surprise of the absurd”. Everything else depends on what you’re up for, because audiences will never be ready for The Suicide Squad. They will never be pinned down.
Unlike the David Ayer 2016 Suicide Squad, what’s impressive about this Suicide Squad is that it’s not wasting our time, and it’s trying- and succeeding- at being different from comic book adaptations we’ve seen before. One of the major differences is that it’s rated R, so there is a good amount of bloody violence. What is also missing from The Suicide Squad is a stuck up or cautious approach from director James Gunn. This is his movie and he is telling it his way. There’s a lot of characters, all briefly described through Waller’s serious tone of cold distance, and prepping the audience for the big mission at hand. There is Gunn’s eclectic taste for music, but no songs that hit on the nose of the narrative, and then there is Gunn’s writing, which is a mixture of his delightfully disturbed brand of humor, injected into characters that don’t fit the bill of “superheroes”. Watching this installment made me wish this was first and Ayer’s version was second, alas that was not the case.
The group of main characters are the machine-like gunslinger Bloodsport (Idris Elba), leader of the pack military man Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman reprising his role), the silver masked Peacemaker (John Cena), and the show stealing Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). The objective for them is to infiltrate the island of Corto Maltese, help take out a corrupt government leader, find out what secret science projects they are running in the town’s Chernobyl-esque power plant, and save the day…or something like that. They are hoping it will go easy, adding a new collection of oddballs, such as Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior)- she has the power to summon all rats-, Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), and a half shark-half man voiced by Sylvester Stallone that goes by the name- King Shark. With a rogues gallery of characters, it’s no surprise that The Suicide Squad is a wacky and incredibly unpredictable movie, and I’m not entirely sure if it always works, but I am certainly glad that it exists.
What I appreciated the most out of The Suicide Squad was the variety of it all. It’s a mixture of comedy, The Dirty Dozen, charging into a universe that feels foreign to any other comic book story. The moments where the narrative is truly humming is during any scene involving Polka-Dot Man, King Shark, and the undefeated Harley Quinn. Robbie is not just great as this character, she’s bordering on worthy of an award for her portrayal. The other stuff is a mixed bag. I found the humor to be hit and miss, which is why I want to give The Suicide Squad a second look, but long after the fact, it started to sink in that this movie was on it’s own island, separating itself from the status quo, which reminded me of a film such as Cabin in the Woods. It’s also a fact that the third act of The Suicide Squad is so strange, I can’t believe it even happened. There’s a giant starfish alien, there’s a destruction of buildings on a Godzilla vs. Kong level, and there’s an ending that fits perfectly with these characters and the company they keep.
The Suicide Squad can’t be accused for being standard or timid. It’s easily one of the most outrageous movies of 2021, following its own path, and being led by the wild mind of James Gunn. If the jokes and humor are strange to you, that’s because it is. This is a movie with a talking shark, a deranged looking weasel man, a character that has a head the size of a watermelon, and the irreplaceable Harley Quinn. When I write it all down there’s nothing about The Suicide Squad that should work. And yet, It walks to the beat of its own drum. These superheroes hold nothing back and they’re taking us with them.
THE SUICIDE SQUAD IS IN THEATERS FRIDAY AUGUST 6TH
Written by: Leo Brady