The DCEU has struggled to find their footing early on, but it seems like they have started to find their groove with their recent fare, especially with their latest feature The Suicide Squad. As a standalone sequel to the 2016 supervillain team-up Suicide Squad, it is a different film altogether even though they share the same concept and a couple of the characters. Directed and written by Marvel’s own James Gunn, The Suicide Squad gives a bloody colorful piece of art that is violent and insane at its finest. It may be somewhat unbalanced, the movie certainly delivers with some great action and memorable moments with this new iteration of Task Force X.
Just like the previous film, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) leads the Suicide Squad program where supervillains are brought in to take on impossible missions in exchange for reduced sentences. Much of these missions can be the death of these super-powerful criminals, so anyone can be disposable. The film takes a new ragtag team of criminals into the island of Corto Maltese where a civil war has broken loose between its people and the government. We see the return of characters like leader Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) alongside some new recruits like Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), and Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior).
Once they arrive at their destination, the group figures out that the government has been safely guarding a secret known as Operation: Starfish — a mysterious extraterrestrial being that can possibly destroy all life on Earth. The team’s mission is to head to the island, capture the crazy mad scientist who leads the program, The Thinker (Peter Capaldi), and destroy this weapon. However, it’s easier said than done when the team has to face an entire militia, helping out a band of rebels, and trying to trust one another without killing each other.
The Suicide Squad is visually stunning, creating some beautiful set pieces in its action sequences. Gunn makes good use of adding comedy to some of the emotional moments with the characters. Also, the film does get weird and silly for most of the trip, but it is clearly the kind of film to expect from the mind of Gunn as he creates this landscape of supervillains trying to get along and making some mistakes as well. The opening sequence with the previous team taking on the mission jumpstarts the film and gives you an idea of what to expect, which is that anything goes. When it comes to the visual effects with the creatures like King Shark and Starro, it is remarkably good CGI that’s been used to render them on screen. With so much detail given to their appearance, it is quite impressive to look at and how a movie of this caliber can pull it off.
This all-star cast each stands out on their own merit. There are a lot of characters in the film, but only because it is. A film like The Suicide Squad functions better as an ensemble piece. The chemistry with the actors is what makes the film work. Cena can be menacing but also very funny as Peacemaker just be being himself. Elba also comes out as a serious guy who happens to have some vulnerability to things like rats. We also get some hilarious moments with Stallone and Dastmalchian with their characters as we see more of their humaneness. The heart of the story really does go to Malchior as Cleo Cazo aka Ratcatcher 2. Robbie has gotten a lot of the spotlight in the previous films, but not so much here, which is a good thing. Small doses are enough to see how much insanity runs in the mind of Joker’s former ladylove because sometimes we often forget how crazy she can be.
The Suicide Squad is a welcome addition to the big cinematic universe that Warner Bros. has put out with these DC characters. There’s certainly a lot that happens on screen, sometimes it can be silly and ridiculous. However, Gunn’s writing is enough to ignore those faults with its clever and wicked dialogue. The story lends itself much to the comics that the film is based on with the flare that Gunn is known for in his films. The Suicide Squad is not just a great superhero movie, it’s also one of the best summer action-packed theatrical experiences audiences will get.