Did you like Suicide Squad back in 2016?
Honestly, back then, the only good things about that film were Will Smith’s portrayal of Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Cut to 2021 and writer and director James Gunn has dished out The Suicide Squad, not to be mistaken for its 2016 counterpart written and directed by David Ayer, which Gunn doesn’t disrespect. The new film in a nutshell contains various expendable anti-heroes, a random javelin, crimes against birds, lots and lots of rats, multi-coloured spots, and many, many fucking starfish. Is it good though?
Unearthing lesser-known DC characters, the film follows a newly formed squad consisting of Robert DuBois otherwise known as Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone as the voice-actor and John Economos, who played the character on-set), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) and the return of characters, Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and last but not least, terrifying task force director, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). Their mission is to infiltrate the fictional island of Corto Maltease and to destroy Jotunheim, an unauthorised facility that contains ‘Project Starfish’. Like the previous film, there are a lot of hiccups and challenges along the way.
The acting in this film is top notch, all the way down to even the minor characters, everyone in The Suicide Squad brings their ‘A’ game to the big screen. While I did thoroughly enjoy Idris Elba’s Bloodsport taking over the reigns of squad leader, I felt his character was very similar to Will Smith’s Deadshot. Although, at the same time, I didn’t mind this at all. I felt Idris Elba’s Bloodsport to be unexpectedly refreshing, relatable, someone you want to root for, and I thoroughly enjoyed his bickering and small rivalry with John Cena’s Peacemaker, even with all the collateral damage. John Cena also impresses, mastering the perfect balance between humour and solemnity. I love Idris Elba and John Cena respectively just as much as the next person, but together they have a remarkable natural and energetic chemistry that you cannot tear your eyes away from. And why would you want to?
Margot Robbie is a joy to watch as Harley Quinn with her scene stealing moments and effortless comic timing. There isn’t much of an evolution to her character in this film, but this is forgivable, considering Harley Quinn already has her own damn movie (it’s brilliant and must-watch if you haven’t seen Birds of Prey already). Newcomer Daniela Melchior is a surprising delight as Ratcatcher 2. I was so thoroughly impressed by her performance, I want to watch her back catalog and I’m excited for her future endeavours.
Joel Kinnaman is great as Rick Flag. Honestly, he wasn’t one of my favourite characters from the previous film and appeared to be just another man with power and a gun. Admittedly, I may even have groaned when I saw his return in The Suicide Squad. But James Gunn does the character justice, allowing for Kinnaman to showcase his true talents and strengths, as well as shifts in Flag’s attitude and moral compass. Soon enough, Rick Flag became a character that I was happy to have return to the film franchise. I did have a few questions regarding the detail and background of his story since the last feature, but these questions were quickly forgotten due to the swift and smart pacing of the film that hits the ground running and is strictly business.
Meanwhile, Viola Davis’ character didn’t have any growth per se, but Amanda Waller is still super intimidating and scarier than ever. Special mention to Jai Courtney returning to the big screen as Captain Boomerang, who is the same cheeky reckless shithead we’ve all come to unexpectedly love and adore.
What I love about The Suicide Squad is that James Gunn has reminded us of all the things that you only get to see in a DC Extended Universe film; super powers, lots of jokes, humour and remarks that would be a bit too rude for the kids, stylish and colourful eye-popping costumes that would be a joy to cosplay, a variety of characters with obvious baggage and grit, and there’s also heaps of violence and blood that is completely entertaining. This film has the best actors, special effects, make-up, costuming, cinematography and choreography that money can buy, and it isn’t afraid to obliterate the scene. Needless to say, The Suicide Squad isn’t just good, it’s a hot mess in the best kind of way and is bloody fantastic (literally).