PLOT: Something deadly is happening courtesy of a horrifyingly powerful project that could wipe out much of civilization if released. Thankfully, the ragtag and deadly Suicide Squad are ready to risk life and limb to make the world a better place. This time they do it with an R-rating, incredible script, and a kick-ass eating machine of a shark!
REVIEW: Let’s not waste any time here. James Gunn’s THE SUICIDE SQUAD improves on every single thing it possibly can from the previous entry. The new flick is not a sequel, and it’s all the better for it. Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman, and Viola Davis have all returned. And there are a plethora of new and familiar faces. The latest features the talents of Idris Elba, John Cena, Michael Rooker, Alice Braga, Nathan Fillion, David Dastmalchian, Pete Davidson, Sean Gunn, Freddie Stroma, Mayling Ng, Peter Capaldi, Flula Borg, Jennifer Holland, Daniela Melchior, and even Sylvester Stallone voicing a walking, talking, eating machine of a shark. Yes, this is The Suicide Squad. It’s a film that relishes the weird and wonderful, allowing the filmmaker to create his vision in the most hilariously funny feature of the year.
Something big is brewing. And it’s not good. Far off, on the island of Corto Maltese, a plot has been hatched, one that could destroy America and any other country that fights against this deadly enemy. With the challenge of this mission being as dangerous as it is, there is only one group of men and women crazy enough to take it on – it also helps that they don’t have a choice. And that group of crazies makes up the Suicide Squad. After “convincing” Bloodsport (Elba) to lead the charge, the mission is on. Those involved include everyone from Harley Quinn (Robbie), Peacemaker (Cena), Rick Flag (Kinnaman), Savant (Michael Rooker), Javelin (Borg), Ratcatcher II (Melchior), and a giant shark that loves a good nom-nom, and the strange Weasel (Gunn). It’s a big mission, but one with a ton of surprises and shocks, so this review is going to be majorly spoiler-free.
The first thing you hear as the film begins is the sound of an audience cheering on Johnny Cash before the classic live version of “Folsom Prison Blues,” and the scene accompanying it sets the stage for what’s to come. It features Michael Rooker in prison. He is tossing a ball, and it comes across as an uproariously twisted homage to The Great Escape. After that, the action hits very early on. A team is gathered and sent to their destination. Gunn doesn’t waste much time, yet even still, he ably gives the viewer a sense of the characters that we’re about to join for a couple of hours. Even if you know nothing about this film, revealing too much about specific adventures may give away too much. With a cast that is this huge, they aren’t all getting out alive. The uncertainty of who will make it is aggressively entertaining. However, there is a small crew of survivors that takes on the majority of the storyline. I’m not going to be the one to narrow that down any more than the trailers or perhaps other reviews are likely to do.
We all know what Gunn did with both Rocket Racoon and the goofily charming Groot. The filmmaker certainly steps it up even more with The Suicide Squad. Stallone and Steve Agee – along with an impressive effects crew – created one of my favorite characters in the film, King Shark. And yes, all hail King Shark! As well, you have an adorable little rat that wants to say hello, and a Weasel that Sean Gunn inhabits. And I haven’t even gotten to the final half-hour and the wonderfully colorful nightmarish enjoyment it brings. The creature design here is stunning. Every single one of the CG creatures – even the tiny and adorable rat that Ratcatcher II loves – offers a little extra to the eye-popping feature.
Creating a story that can utilize this entire cast must have been a challenging endeavor. Thankfully, that’s another plus to this crazy feature film. The body count is high – it wears its R-rating like a badge of honor – and yet all the actors involved bring something to the table. If you are checking this movie out for a specific actor that you are a fan of, they, unfortunately, might not have a whole lot of screen time. Yet even still, all the actors involved have something unique and fun to bring to the party. Again, you have to credit Mr. Gunn. The script beautifully handles all the layers that help craft one of the most original and refreshing big-screen superhero adventures of the past few years. And yes, this script takes on such weighty issues as an abusive mother, a drug addict father, and a world where we realize folks we hope will make better choices don’t.
The real story behind The Suicide Squad is simply that James Gunn was allowed to make exactly the film he wanted to make. It is his movie. He brought these characters to the forefront – seriously, he and David Dastmalchian help make Polka-Dot Man a funny and fascinatingly complex character. James brings his bloody good humor that is reminiscent of his early years at Troma. And much like he did with Guardians of the Galaxy, he adds a refreshing amount of humanity, and he still manages to bring his very darkly wicked sense of fun into the mix. One sequence that a character realizes she must make a “deal with the devil” is impressively twisted, so much so that it took me a moment to process what just happened. Every choice that Gunn makes here feels fresh in the world, and he’s not afraid to get ridiculous, but he does so with purpose. What a fun fucking film this is!
The Suicide Squad is a magnificent masterpiece of mayhem. I loved every single minute of James Gunn’s bold new entry into the DC Cinematic Universe. Every single actor fully embraces the brazen insanity without holding back. The laughs are consistent. And the creature design is impeccable. Do I even need to mention that he once again brought together a gloriously impressive set of songs to enhance his feature? Sure, if you aren’t a fan of Gunn’s outrageousness with a heart, you may not find the gleeful enjoyment of this feature. Yet that’s also what makes this film so damn batshit entertaining. It is Mr. Gunn’s voice here in every scene, in every blood-soaked encounter, every brilliantly placed song, and every moment of humor and heart it’s because of James Gunn – as well as the incredible talent he brought with him. The Suicide Squad arrives in theatres and HBO Max on August 6th, and my oh my, does it look fantastic in IMAX.