Written by James Gunn Starring Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Daniela Melchior, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, & Peter Capaldi RATED R!!
Now, we're back into seeing movies on the big-screen (as well as the small screen), and Marvel have hit the post-pandemic (post?) film world running with Black Widow, and so the run of strong films from that comic book franchise continues.
However, during our enforced lockdowns, DC released the Snyder cut of Justice League after the first iteration of the film failed so hard it made other films in the franchise fail along with it. So, the DC Extended Universe had to come up with something special to keep that momentum going.
What they did was give us The Suicide Squad.
This film is rated R! It deserves the rating! Not a film for children!!
For those wondering how I got pictures – I asked a friend in the USA who saw it on HBO-Max to get me some pictures. Thanks and shout-out to Kevin.
So, anyway, they clearly said to James Gunn, here's money, have fun. Zack Snyder and his wife were two of the executive producers, the studio was kept at bay and what they delivered was a film where I was thoroughly entertained for two hours and ten minutes of sheer and absolute insanity. Is this film going to win a bunch of Oscars? Or any awards? I would guess not (maybe special effects?). But is this film a great film to sit down and enjoy?
Oh, yes. A thousand times yes.
The first attempt at Suicide Squad (note the lack of a The) in 2016 was beset with studio interference, poor writing, dull villains, nonsensical structure and the absolutely shocking use of a non-diegetic music score (though this film does indulge… like Johnny Cash opening the film). But it had Will Smith in full-on Will Smith mode and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, so it wasn't all bad. Actually, truth be told, it was not a terrible film. It was more meh.
This film makes up for it.
Oh, and don't go into the film expecting many survivors. The term "suicide" is actually there for a reason.
The plot (SPOILERS AHEAD!!) involves the titular squad attacking a South American island nation to stop some information getting out. In fact, there are two squads. The survivors meet up, kill a bunch of good guys, attack the nation's capital, kill a bunch of bad guys, let loose a kaiju-like extra-terrestrial starfish monster and then save the world.
There are themes about doing what is right for the right reasons that are sort of shunted aside at the end. There are themes about friendship and acceptance that are sort of carried through to the end. And even the big bad monster's demise, at the very end, is sad when it manages to articulate its situation, making you ask who are the bad guys? Is this film a veiled critique of US foreign policy? Maybe. But those are the sorts of questions you only think about long after the film is over. In the end, really, this is a big dumb film that is a gang of fun with some amazing special effects and some laughs.
Some laughs? Okay, that's an understatement. I laughed out loud so many times. The quips come fast and loose. When Bloodsport and Peacemaker have their shoot-off in the guerrilla camp, it is incredible. Harley getting out of the prison is amazing, made all the weirder by the flowers (you will have to see it to understand), Polka-Dot Man's mother issues are just freaky, and Sylvester Stallone as King Shark is awesome. And, for the first time, I really enjoyed seeing John Cena in a film – it was like they took his wrestling persona, upped it to 11 and then made him a (to quote the film) "douchebag". And rats. So many rats. What can I say? This is a film where you turn your brain off and enjoy the spectacle.
And, speaking of the actors: Margot Robbie steals this film. It's like she was born to play Harley Quinn. Her performance makes her look incredible… and she is as scary as anything.
However, I will say this – it is violent. It is gory. There is a lot of swearing. There is a little bit of nudity. The plot itself is silly at times. There – those are things that could be considered negatives. I didn't care. But even the stupid story beats which normally make me grab the chair in frustration didn't affect me this time. Even the tired cliché of every character getting a chance to exposit their sad backgrounds worked (most of the time). I loved every single moment of this film. I thought Zack Snyder's Justice League was the pinnacle of the DCEU – The Suicide Squad is now my favourite movie in that franchise.
So, it looks good, it's for adults, it does not let up for 130 minutes, and it I recommend this for those who just want to escape reality for a few moments.
Showing now at cinemas everywhere. And on HBO-Max for a month if you have that streaming service option.
Shame about the rating on this one and the obvious degree of violence. It saddens me that film makers see a need for this or even that the need exists. I wonder if the story could be told just as ell without the gore.