02nd Aug2021

‘The Suicide Squad’ Review

by Alex Ginnelly

Stars: Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, John Cena, Idris Elba, Michael Rooker, John Ostrander, Nathan Fillion, Sylvester Stallone, David Dastmalchian, Jai Courtney, Flula Borg, Mayling Ng, Pete Davidson, Sean Gunn, Daniela Melchior | Written and Directed by James Gunn

After the first attempt to bring The Suicide Squad failed 5 years ago, the film has now been placed in the hands of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, who seems to understand every projects he’s thrown at. The formal this time has some similarities to his other tangle with comic book characters and also a lot of similarities to his other movies, Super and Slither.

It’s James Gunn’s understanding of the task in front of him that leads to the newest instalment of The Suicide Squad becoming a success and a lot of fun at that. I can’t remember the last time I watched a live action comic book movie and thought to myself, this feels like a comic book. It didn’t feel like a comic movie, like the formula the marvel movies have taken, but like an actual comic book. It had frames and scenes shot so well, so colourful and with so much imagination that you can picture them drawn on to the page of a comic book. Some of my favourite moments were when the film frames so perfectly, and a text appears on screen, it felt like the film had been broken down into issues, each issue getting its own title page of glorious wonder.

Other sequences in the film flare up with colour and unique imagination that you start to question just what you’re watching. Whether it’s violent, crazy, or ridiculous the moments of madness never seem to end. Fans of James Gunn’s work will be use to the violence and gore, his previous pictures, the ones before he jumped into the Marvel Universe, were chock full of violence and gore, sometimes over the top gore than can catch you off guard. He seems to blend the blockbuster with art house gore to a new level in this film, and in the first ten minutes lets us all know the ride we’re in for.

It’s a testament then to the writing of Gunn that is another highlight of the film. He sets up characters, situations and the world so fast. He doesn’t waste any time catching us all up, he throws us straight back into the world of The Suicide Squad. It’s a great way to keep you wrapped up in the fun of the world and delivers the fun we were promised 5 years ago with the first attempt at the film. He manages to keep that fun up, all the while keeping us entertained and invested in the characters we follow through the mayhem.

It’s in these characters where Gunn seems to always be spot on, like his Guardians of the Galaxy movies, he makes each character feel unique and alive. They each have a refreshing personality and he manages to establish those personalities from the get go, so we know right away who we’ll like and who we’ll dislike. The main core of the team feels like a team, and they grow as the movie goes on, having their personalities grow stronger as we spend more time with them, as the film goes on their connections within the film grow stronger and what starts as a disjointed team grows into a real superhero team that never feels forced. It’s something that Gunn has done so well but this time he does it at a faster pace, anyone else would seem to struggle to keep up this much fun and have the developed characters we end up caring for. It’s a hard task that Gunn has managed to pull off. It’s one element the previous attempt really struggled with, there never felt like any main characters we could focus on a care for, this time the whole team feels like that.

Within this team comes the performances and the whole cast do great. From Sylvester Stallone as a talking, walking shark, Margot Robbie back and just as great as ever as Harley Quinn, David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, John Cena in his most impressive role yet as Peacemaker, all the way up to the two stand outs for me, Idris Elba as Bloodsport and Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2. Idris and Daniela both managed to bring heart to their characters and a connection between the two that lends to a real focus of the film and something for the audience to really care for while the craziness of everyone else goes on around them. Another special mention has to go to Joel Kinnaman, who reprises his role as Rick Flag, a stand out from the first instalment, this time he’s just as good and in Gunns hands he was better than ever and a member of the team that felt more alive than ever before.

Overall The Suicide Squad is a great lot of fun and felt more like a comic book than anything else in the last ten years, it doesn’t reach the level of heart that Gunn’s previous superhero adventure achieves but in-between all the fun and carnage it still manages to find some heart and some touching moments that allowed great characters to shine through the blood and gore. It establishes these characters, no matter how obscure, as all good enough to carry on this team or their own movies, and I’ll be there to see whatever they do next.

**** 4/5

The Suicide Squad is in cinemas now.


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