Review by Sean Boelman
(L-r) KING SHARK, DANIELA MELCHIOR as Ratcatcher 2, JOEL KINNAMAN as Colonel Rich Flag, IDRIS ELBA as Bloodsport, MARGOT ROBBIE as Harley Quinn, JOHN CENA as Peacemaker, PETER CAPALDI as Thinker, DAVID DASTMALCHIAN as Polka-Dot Man and JULIO CESAR RUIZ as Milton in Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero action adventure “THE SUICIDE SQUAD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/™ & © DC Comics.
The first film having made a lot of money at the box office but receiving not too warm of a reception, it’s no surprise that DC brought on fan-favorite filmmaker James Gunn to breathe some new life into the Suicide Squad property. Exactly as expected, this movie is a ton of fun to watch, even when it is nowhere near as smart as it thinks it is.
In the film, a group of supervillains are recruited to go on a suicide mission to destroy a secret weapon in Corto Maltese, surrounded by enemies at every corner. What Gunn has created is essentially a war movie, but with B-list comic book characters, and it delivers on the promise of excitement and bloodshed.
It’s nice to see the movie lean more heavily into the inherently comedic nature of this storyline. The Suicide Squad arcs in the comics are always a bit tongue-in-cheek, and while Gunn’s zaniness definitely takes it to the extreme, there’s definitely something funny about a group of unsuccessful baddies becoming heroes.
The other thing that is a vast improvement in this film over its predecessor is that the movie has actually something to say. Viola Davis’s character Amanda Waller is given much more development here, serving as a representation of the corruption in the American government. What the film has to say might not be anything new, but it’s more substantial than there was before.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the movie is that the main protagonist, Bloodsport, was obviously an afterthought. The character is so similar to Will Smith’s Deadshot from the previous film (Idris Elba actually signed on as a last-minute replacement), and one wonders why they couldn’t have done at least a bit more to differentiate it.
That said, the other new additions to the team really shine. David Dastmalchian’s Polka Dot Man is just as absurd as comic book fans would hope. Sylvester Stallone is absolutely adorable as the lovable King Shark. And the unexpected MVP is Daniela Melchior, whose Ratcatcher 2 has some of the best moments in the movie.
On a technical level, the film is very rough-around-the-edges, for better or worse. It definitely seems like this movie was rushed through production, but at least it has a coherent style, unlike the first film’s haphazard editing. And the addition of R-rated levels of gore is welcome and gives the movie a very entertaining dose of carnage.
The Suicide Squad isn’t quite the best film to come out of the DC Extended Universe, but it’s definitely one of the more entertaining and cohesive entries. Those who have been missing the big screen action of blockbusters will certainly find this a great reason to make a trip to the cinema.
The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max on August 6.