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The Suicide Squad Review | Redemption, Magical Realism, & Good Shots

The Suicide Squad Review | Redemption, Magical Realism, & Good Shots

The Suicide Squad is a dark, yet fun-filled romp through the comic streets. A film TRULY made for adult comic book lovers and those that they deem able to appreciate the on-screen action. If you didn’t know that this film was from the mind of James Gunn, the backdrop of music and stylistic transitions would be a dead giveaway.

The Suicide Squad - Promotional Poster

The Suicide Squad Review

From writer/director James Gunn comes Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero action-adventure “The Suicide Squad,” featuring a collection of the most degenerate delinquents in the DC lineup.

Welcome to hell—a.k.a. Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst Super-Villains are kept and where they will do anything to get out—even join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X. Today’s do-or-die assignment? Assemble a collection of cons, including Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2, Savant, King Shark, Blackguard, Javelin, and everyone’s favorite psycho, Harley Quinn. Then arm them heavily and drop them (literally) on the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Trekking through a jungle teeming with militant adversaries and guerrilla forces at every turn, the Squad is on a search-and-destroy mission with only Colonel Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave…and Amanda Waller’s government techies in their ears, tracking their every movement. And as always, one wrong move and they’re dead (whether at the hands of their opponents, a teammate, or Waller herself). If anyone’s laying down bets, the smart money is against them—all of them.

The Suicide Squad - Prepare for a plane jump
Jessica Miglio/™ & © DC Comics
(L-r) NATHAN FILLION as T.D.K., PETE DAVIDSON as Blackguard, SEAN GUNN as Weasel, MICHAEL ROOKER as Savant, JOEL KINNAMAN as Rich Flag, JAI COURTNEY as Boomerang, FLULA BORG as Javelin, MARGOT ROBBIE as Harley Quinn and MAYLING NG as Mongal in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure “THE SUICIDE SQUAD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

The movie opens strongly. Before the title card is shown the action swells to a cacophony and then silence as we’re given way to the plot behind what just happened. It’s amazing.

We’re immediately introduced to Savant played by Michael Rooker, and let me go ahead and tell you right now, if you’re an animal lover, the scene won’t be your favorite. Even knowing that no real animals were used in the film it’s a tough open. As usual, Amanda Waller, played by the amazing Viola Davis, the tough old broad that she is in her sensible flats and power suit, is walking through Belle Reve prison the same way someone may walk through a grocery store with their children. Picking and choosing prisoners to outfit her Task Force X by any means necessary. Using bribes, not-so-veiled threats, and sheer intimidation, she’s not moved by any of these killers. They’re all in jail for something heinous, including putting Superman in the hospital with a Kryptonite bullet.

Most of them have found their routine. Cleaning up the prison that they now call home, bouncing racquetballs from wall to wall to keep their accuracy tight while passing the time. They are the world’s most evil criminals, but they all want to shave time off of their sentences. At least most of them do.

The first 15 minutes are definitely action-packed, as we get to know an all-new group of Suicide Squad members, including Savant, Blackguard, Weasel, Mongal, Javelin, T.D.K, and Harley Quinn. Led again by Colonel Rick Flag, they are on a mission that could very well result in their deaths. They are introduced as they’re being flown to the island of Corto Maltese. How are we controlling a group of ruthless killers? With implanted bombs of course! Waller makes sure to stay in their ears – literally – about the fact that she owns them.

Havoc is wreaked almost immediately and we see just how smart Waller is. We also see just how ruthless she is. Not above using family members and threats of destroying their lives to get just what she wants. A 5-minute scene is performed passionately by Storm Reid’s Tyla and Idris Elba’s Bloodsport. If you’ve never seen teenaged angst thrown in the face of a deadbeat dad still struggling to figure out just how he got himself into such a precarious position, James Gunn is going to put it front and center for you.

The transitions in the movie are amazing. Gunn uses bits of background pieces as title cards and it works for this movie quite well I think. It goes a long way to keep the comic book feel throughout a film that comes in hot and heavy with gruesome killings and loads of crude language and behavior. There’s a scene where the blood of a victim creates one of these very title cards and I gasped because it honestly is so unexpected.

Gunn also chooses to create great scenes that partner dialogue with action without sacrificing either. Most of it happens between all characters and John Cena’s Peacemaker. Cena is fantastic in this comedic role that he takes very seriously. He’s all about peace no matter what he has to do in order to obtain it. Even if it turns him into a maniacal serial killer made to live out his days doing the bidding of Amanda Waller.

The Suicide Squad - Bloodsport and Amanda Waller
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/™ & © DC Comics
(L-r) IDRIS ELBA as Bloodsport and VIOLA DAVIS as Amanda Waller in Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero action adventure “THE SUICIDE SQUAD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

The Women of The Suicide Squad

Almost every single woman with billing in this movie is important. I’m not joking. Even the women whose names we don’t know.

The Suicide Squad - Harley Quinn
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/™ & © DC Comics
MARGOT ROBBIE as Harley Quinn in Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero action adventure “THE SUICIDE SQUAD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

The three main female characters are Amanda Waller, Harley Quinn, and Ratcatcher 2. We’re all aware of the backstory of Harley Quinn, played all too well by Margot Robbie, and we get a bit of a backstory with Ratcatcher 2, played exceptionally by Daniela Melchior. We still haven’t seen on screen why Amanda Waller is as cutthroat as she is, and I’ll go on record saying I would LOVE to see an origin story for her.

The Suicide Squad - Ratcatcher 2
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/™ & © DC Comics
DANIELA MELCHIOR as Ratcatcher 2 in Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero action adventure “THE SUICIDE SQUAD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

The women and their storylines are allowed to exist without the need for a strong male to come and save them. They do the saving themselves and they work cohesively with others in order to make things happen.

Does The Suicide Squad Earn its ‘R’ Rating?

Yes. Yes, it does fully and gleefully. Between the on-screen deaths the two full-frontals of both men and women, and the colorful language sprinkled through the film, the ‘R’ rating is well earned. It’s right along the lines of Deadpool and even as someone who doesn’t swear, it makes me happy to have a comic film that my children won’t be tagging along to the show to see with me.

Yes, I’m aware they can watch it on HBO Max, I’m not stupid. I just won’t pay a premium price to cart them along.

The anti-hero heroes

Idris Elba as Bloodsport gives us the cranky unapologetic bad guy we want. He acknowledges that there is no good in him and seems content with living that way. The character that won’t let him get away so easily is also a character he really hates and their continued battle through the movie makes for a nice little arc. His scenes with John Cena’s Peacemaker are some of the most laugh-out-loud scenes I’ve had the pleasure of viewing in a theater. There’s an expected who’s a better shot conversation that may last a smidge too long and give a lot of who has the bigger…well, you know, but with both actors deadpanning their characters as they deliver lines, it works well.

You will see cheesy slow montages and you will feel a little something for characters you shouldn’t really like. However, the fun of the movie is for once we get to root for the bad guys and maybe outwardly condemn the good ones.

Blink & You’ll Miss

Sylvester Stallone as King Shark. Listen, I SAW his name, and I KNEW which character he was playing, but King Shark was such a loveable carnivore, Stallone’s voice disappeared into the character.

The Suicide Squad clocks in at 2 hours 12 minutes and it doesn’t feel lagging at any point. The action and dialogue do a good job moving you from point to point. There are some weird cuts that we know come from post-editing, but it doesn’t take much away from the final product.

The Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 6 and will stream on HBO Max for 31 days from theater release.

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