The Suicide Squad

The Suicide Squad ★★★★★

Quick thoughts:

The Suicide Squad is the latest R-rated superhero romp set within the DC Extended Universe, written and directed by James Gunn. The government sends the most dangerous supervillains in the world -- Bloodsport, Peacemaker, King Shark, Harley Quinn and others -- to the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Armed with high-tech weapons, they trek through the dangerous jungle on a search-and-destroy mission, with only Col. Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave. The road leading up to this movie is a wild one. The film's inception is the direct result of that infamous 2018 debacle in which Gunn was unceremoniously fired from Disney. Every studio entered a bidding war to fund his next project, and the winner was WB Pictures, who gave him carte blanche to do whatever the hell he wanted. And as it turned out, The Suicide Squad is everything he wanted. To simply call this better than the 2016 film would be underselling it, when there is so much more it has to offer. For starters, the team dynamic is perfect. Idris Elba always excels at playing "the leader," and his performance as Bloodshot puts a nice little twist on that archetype. Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, and Margot Robbie reprise their roles as Amanda Waller, Rick Flagg and Harley Quinn respectively, and this time they're given much better material. But the two characters that stole my heart were Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher II, and David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man. As a filmmaker, Gunn's approach can be quite divisive, especially when there's nothing holding him back. I'd say your mileage may vary depending on which of the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films you prefer. Those who lean more towards the first may feel as if he's gone too far with the bloody, gory violence, and more jokes miss than hit. However, those who prefer Volume 2 (including myself) may welcome this film's more singular voice, it's ambition to push past the limits of your typical superhero film, while still fully embracing the genre's weirder aspects. The fact that the roster is primarily made up of C and D-list supervillains leaves Gunn with more room to stretch his creative legs. The reason I haven't talked about John Cena's Peacemaker yet is because my thoughts surrounding him breaches spoiler territory, and we'll have plenty of other opportunities for that discussion. For now, I'm simply fascinated by how one builds an entire series around this character. On the whole, The Suicide Squad is just a fun time at the movies. I wouldn't say it's better than Zack Snyder's Justice League, but what both have in common is that they're perfect examples of WarnerMedia allowing the directors' full, un-compromised vision to be realized. The Suicide Squad is now playing in theaters, and available to stream on HBO Max.