by Sarah Cook
The first outing for these villains turned heroes was lacklustre at best. David Ayer’s attempt at immortalising the popular Suicide Squad had fantastic marketing, but a dull end product. The only good thing it did was launch Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn into the DCEU. Though Ayer would protest it wasn’t his edits or final product, it was clear that the whole DCEU spin-off needed a makeover.
In the hands of director-writer James Gunn, famed for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 & 2, Slither, and Scooby-Doo, The Suicide Squad finally gets an outing it deserves.
Seeing the return of characters such as Amanda Waller, Rick Flagg, and everyone’s favourite Harley Quinn, The Suicide Squad revolves around a select group of criminals who are hired for really dangerous missions. This time the gang includes Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Ratcatcher 2, the Polka-Dot Man, and King Shark. But could this mission be too much for those involved? And how much blood is Waller willing to spill?
Gunn’s brand for off-beat characters and truly impressive kills means that The Suicide Squad is an entertaining time from the first face that is blasted off the screen. The bloodiness comes thick and fast, with some of the most entertaining deaths I’ve seen on the big screen. Mixed with the brilliant quips and jokes, and The Suicide Squad becomes a rip-roaring time.
Though there are a lot of characters on screen, Gunn zeros in on this plucky band of misfits similarly to how he brought together the bunch of A-holes in Guardians of the Galaxy. That might mean that Harley gets a bit overshadowed here (although she has a fantastic escape sequence), as does Peter Capaldi’s The Thinker, it does mean we get a group of supervillain/heroes who you actually want to root for. Including a monosyllabic Shark-God-Man and the nicest rat since Ben.
Who knew that Idris Elba could be so impressive? Not me! As Bloodsport aka Robert DuBois, Elba is thrust into the leader of the gang unwillingly. Thanks to Waller threatening his daughter, superb marksman DuBois has to go on this mission and risk his life repeatedly. What Elba brings to his character is a gruff charisma that makes his exasperated deliveries as on point as Bloodsport’s shots. From dick-swinging his talent with Peacemaker to his fear of rats, Bloodsport is the exhausted Dad of the whole piece.
Which makes Ratcatcher 2, aka Cleo Cazo, the daughter, and therefore the heart of the peace. Played by Daniela Melchior, Ratcatcher 2 is a rodent loving big-hearted character who sees friends in the strangest of places. More of a hero than a villain on a mission, Ratcatcher brings meaning to the film – showing that even the most despised and lowly creatures have a place in this world. Melchior’s almost childlike way of playing is sure to make her a crowd favourite.
Added to this roster is John Cena whose comedic timing is impeccable and the sad, morose Polka Dot-Man played by David Dastmalchian whose arc is as brilliant as it is tragic.
The Suicide Squad is not without its faults and some of the jokes fail to land as spectacularly as they should. The difficulty here is finding a balance of true antagonists to root against. In a movie where the supervillains are the superheroes, it’s hard to pinpoint an actual bad guy to aim your hate towards. The loveable rogues therefore have to confront a monster whose biggest crime was being kidnapped from outer space.
Of course, Starro isn’t really the culprit, and the movies does a haphazard job of shrouding the film in politics. Especially when it is so quick to drop it for some kickass sequences. With Ratcatcher 2 being the heart and soul of the film, plus freedom fighters, and the anti-war (America) politics, The Suicide Squad makes attempts at a deeper meaning. It is one of the few shots made that misses its mark.
Yet if you are looking for a good frolicking time, then look no further than The Suicide Squad. Just expect to leave willing to sacrifice your life for King Shark and Sebastian the Rat.
Unleashed in the 15 rating, James Gunn truly threads together all of his expertise: inventive blood-splattering horror, the outsider superheroes, and absolute hilarity.
This particular squad is, as the kids say, goals.
The Suicide Squad is in cinemas now!