DC seem to have made the decision to scrap their shared universe and focus on telling good stories in stand-alone movies with their vast array of fantastic characters. To this end James Gunn has been allowed to create the Suicide Squad movie he so clearly wanted to create, which means with Aquaman and Justice League on one side, we get the sweary, gory, hilarious and at times very crude The Suicide Squad on the other.
This isn’t a gimmick though, or used purely for shock value. This is the perfect tone for this particular series and these particular characters. These are the B-Grade villains (at best) and perfect for mocking, ridiculous humour and stupid situations. From the outset you have a human/weasel next to a beer-swilling Australian boomerang expert. The tone is set and captured perfectly.
Which means The Suicide Squad is first and foremost, very funny. The film has everything from clever sight-gags, great dialogue and one-liners and running jokes with fantastic pay-offs. Although some characters stand-out for the “funniest” moments, everyone gets their time to shine and everyone gets a chance to raise a smile.
In fact, for a movie so heavily ensemble-led, Gunn does a great job of balancing every character and ensuring everyone matters. There is not one character you don’t care about. Even the characters who ultimately (and unexpectedly) become nothing more than cameos get enough of a story to actually matter. This also means that every death (and with a title like The Suicide Squad, there are plenty) also matters and there are plenty of deaths to shock and surprise.
For each of those deaths to matter, you have to know about the characters and Gunn ensures everyone gets their moment. Some are more meaningful or heartfelt than others but Gunn fleshes out their back-stories well and you get some great pay-off later in the film. One moment, purely a flashback/memory, will tug at your heartstrings, which in a film like this is no small feat.
Of course, the characters would fall apart if the actors playing them weren’t up to the job. There are far too many key people to mention everyone but some stand-out. Idris Elba seemed to be taking the Will Smith role from the first film but his character is different enough (and written much better) that he holds the film on his shoulders well. Supporting him is the heart of the movie in Daniela Melchoir as Ratcatcher 2 while David Dastmalchian is perfectly creepy as Polka-Dot Man. As for returning characters, Joel Kinnerman, Viola Davis and Margot Robbie all return from the first movie, slipping into their characters comfortably and adding some continuity. They get the least “back-story” but are treated no less importantly and Robbie almost steals the whole movie again as Harley Quinn.
That would be if the film didn’t include John Cena as Peacemaker. Cena throws himself into the role, being crude, obnoxious, bad-ass and cool, all in one character. He gets the best lines, coolest moments and becomes one of the characters you care the most about. This being a James Gunn movie, there is also a small rat and a huge talking shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone) that you will be rooting for too.
Unlike the first movie, the story matches the great characters. Its not complicated but doesn’t need to be as Gunn manages to add layers to the plot, complicating each facet ever so slightly so that this doesn’t become the “a to b to c” type plot which hampered the first movie. Even when the film takes a slight left-turn and becomes very silly, it still manages to hold itself together and works as the action/comic book movie its designed to be. Gunn leans into this heavily as well, with some great title-cards and subtle nods to the comic book roots of the characters.
Overall, The Suicide Squad is perfect example of how to take a great comic book and transfer it to the screen. It has the right tone, all gore, swears and violence while being hilariously funny. The characters are fantastic, each getting enough for you to care about them, while the actors match their roles, with John Cena being a particular stand-out. This is by far the best DC movie and one the best comic book movies.
Rating – 5!
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)
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