Looking for a huge blockbuster to watch over the coming days? Then you are in luck, because this weekend is a big one for movies.
Not only is Disney’s Jungle Cruise finally playing in cinemas and on Disney+ Premier Access, but Warner Bros. Pictures has released the highly-anticipated comic book movie, The Suicide Squad. The film is a loose sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad, and sees yet another gang of misfits and mercenaries called into action to take on a deadly mission which they may not survive.
Written and directed by James Gunn (he of Guardians of the Galaxy fame), The Suicide Squad stars Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Viola Davis, and Sylvester Stallone. The film is in UK cinemas from today, or if you live in the US, you can watch The Suicide Squad in cinemas or through HBO MAX from August 5th.
Similar to its predecessor, the film concentrates on Task Force X – a rag-tag bunch of convicts (Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker, etc) who are sent on a mission with very high stakes. On this occasion, this mission leads the team to the South American island of Corto Maltese, where they are tasked with destroying a secret laboratory containing a telepathic alien starfish, called Starro.
Of course, things don’t go quite to plan, and the team encounter trouble. Alliances are forged, team mates are killed, and James Gunn takes the DC Extended Universe to a level of bizarreness that it has not experienced before.
Although I am a big comic book fan, and of course I love comic book movies, I was not a huge fan of 2016’s Suicide Squad. For me, the humour fell flat, the editing was patchy at best, and there were some odd choices.
Watching the film in a cinema back in 2016 became something of a disappointing experience, and before the screening was over my desire to see a sequel to that movie evaporated. However, fast forward to late 2018, and my interest in a follow-up started to rematerialize, when it was announced that James Gunn was taking over as writer/director on the next project.
Hiring Gunn for Suicide Squad 2 seemed like a very smart movie. His Guardians of the Galaxy pictures for Marvel Studios were highly enjoyable, and proved he could balance an ensemble cast of unknowns, alongside a good story, plenty of action, and an awesome soundtrack.
And do you know what? That’s exactly what he has done once again with The Suicide Squad.
This film not only demonstrates that Gunn was the right person to take on this sequel, but also the person capable of throwing together some of DC Comics’ most obscure villains, and making them instantly watchable. I seriously never thought we would get to a point where Polka-Dot Man and King Shark were leading a big budget, live-action movie, and yet here we are.
Polka-Dot Man and King Shark are just two characters in what is a pretty large ensemble – and if you’ve seen any of the marketing for this movie, you will know that The Suicide Squad features a sizeable cast. There’s a reason for this and yes, it is what you are think – many of the characters don’t make it out alive.
No spoilers here, but it’s fair to say that a number of members of Task Force X don’t survive the mission. This film is a bit of a blood bath, with plenty of casualties.
James Gunn is not afraid to kill off his cast, and this adds a degree of suspense and tension to the picture. He is also not afraid to chuck buckets of blood and gore at the screen – and this is something which becomes apparent very early on.
When characters are killed the scenes are brutal. No punches are pulled, and while it is a little shocking at first, it certainly demonstrates that he means business.
Gunn has a background in working on bloody pictures, including some Troma films, and while the film doesn’t go quite up to that level of gruesomeness, it is most definitely a step along from what he delivers in the Marvel Universe. This is a Suicide Squad movie designed to stir things up a little, which means plenty of eye-popping scenes, although it still contains all of the signature fun and humour audiences have come to expect.
The Suicide Squad is filled with jokes, with all of the key players are given an opportunity to shine. Many of the laughs come from King Shark, but of course, Harley Quinn gets some hilarious moments too.
Although, it should be said that Harley’s presence in this picture seems greatly reduced when compared to her involvement in Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey (2020). Yet, whenever she is on screen she still manages to deliver, so even a little Harley goes a long way.
Margot Robbie continues to prove time-and-time again that she is exactly the right actor for this role. Regardless of whether she is the main focus or merely part of the ensemble, she always brings something magical (and maniacal) to the screen.
Although I am a big fan of The Suicide Squad, and I think I’ve made that clear, not everything about this movie works perfectly, and I do feel that it struggles a little with pacing, largely due to a flabby mid-section. The film seems to wander a little at times, and a rejig in the middle might have improved things.
However, this doesn’t detract from a strong opening and a fantastic finale. The big showdown at the end of this movie is bonkers and for me is the stand-out part of the film.
The Suicide Squad is a vast improvement on the previous entry and gives this series a much-needed jolt back to life. Should James Gunn be given the opportunity to return for another entry, and should he want to take up that job, then I would certainly be happy to see more from Task Force X.
Oh, and should Gunn simply want to tackle a solo Harley Quinn movie, I am here for that too. Just chuck some money at him and let him go to work, he clearly knows what he is doing.