The Suicide Squad
Wild, gory and loads of inappropriate fun, James Gunn has managed to make one of the best DC movies to date with The Suicide Squad. This take on Task Force X is full of murder and mayhem, with Gunn delivering shock and awe around almost every corner.
Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn makes the jump from Marvel to DC amongst personal controversy to direct The Suicide Squad, an R-rated reboot/sequel that mostly ignores David Ayer‘s outing, aside from borrowing a few characters. Gunn’s version of Task Force X is deeply disturbing, yet bursting with Gunn’s trademark humor, having more in common with Slither and Super than his more recent Marvel output.
Government official Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is yet again in need of some expendable baddies to carryout an unofficial top-secret mission. She enlists her trusty soldier Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) to lead a team of B-grade degenerates, otherwise known as The Suicide Squad, which includes the infamous Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), and a half-dozen other rejects, including a creepy-looking weasel, on a mission that will surely kill them, yet if they are successful, will shave off ten years of their prison sentences.
The Suicide Squad is for all intents and purposes a reboot, with writer/director James Gunn carrying over a few key characters from David Ayer‘s adaptation, but otherwise executing a complete shift in tone and approach.
Ayer’s (or should I say WB’s?) version of Suicide Squad leaned heavily into a darker presentation, despite featuring punchy intro cards and enough backstory on each individual character to drive just about anyone mad.
Still, Ayer’s Suicide Squad had its memorable moments and standout highlights, including the introduction of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Will Smith delivering a performance that is on another level when compared to the rest of the gang.
Gunn’s take skips the introductions and dives right in, delivering chaos and destruction first-hand as Task Force X starts the film out on a beach doing battle with dozens of heavily-armed soldiers. The rest of the film spends a fair amount of time jumping back-and-forth between present and previous moments, with Gunn and his editor using creative transitions that are stylish and playful to indicate the point in time.
This helps keep the story moving forward and never really stoping for air, which is something you might think you need in a James Gunn film, but not really as Gunn is hell-bent on delivering death after death in the most disturbing and gory fashion, all for the sake of storytelling, but occasionally for that shock and awe factor that is definitely there, but never distractingly so.
What I mean by that is that Gunn is all about getting those emotions from his audience, whether that means a laugh, a smile, a tear or a gasping WHAT THE F$%^?! But he does this without ever sacrificing the greater story.
People are going to be beyond surprised with how high the bodycount is in this film and with how Gunn decides to utilize his characters to their very best potential.
The Suicide Squad does such a great job balancing tones and characters in a way that’s both dark and disturbing, but still somehow bursting with color and humor — Gunn is no stranger to rag-tag team-up films, having delivered both Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for Marvel and now essentially giving us the complete opposite with DC’s assortment of bottom-shelf villains.
I love that The Suicide Squad feels like the complete opposite approach when compared to a Guardians film, yet Gunn still understands how to infuse what works in his “men/women on a mission” films in the sense that he knows how to capture the emotion and solidify a heart-filled core, which is a bit more family-oriented and obvious in Guardians, yet rotten and acidic in The Suicide Squad, but it still resonates in a way that comes from the heart all the same.
I’d love to point out performance high-points, but I really don’t want to spoil the film. I will say that I am totally on board with a Peacemaker show as John Cena has finally found his edge as a comedic brute that’s as idiotic as he is deadly. Also, Idris Elba is finally playing to his strengths as a brilliant marksman that’s just lacking that leadership push needed to get him to the next level.
Robbie, Stallone, Courtney and the rest of the squad are all handing in meaningful and engaged performances that turn just about any throwaway villain into something memorable that I definitely want to see more of.
I’m glad James Gunn was able to let loose and take full creative control of The Suicide Squad, especially after all of the drama that went down between him and Disney. Sometimes, you just need to let off some steam, while also delivering one of the very best DC movies to date.
The Suicide Squad is no doubt going to blow people’s minds by showing them just how crazy James Gunn is as a filmmaker, allowing him to channel some of his usual trademarks and techniques that just weren’t fitting for a Marvel film, while also making a worthwhile comic book adaptation that feels like the very best of both worlds.
Please, continue to give James Gunn all of the money to make whatever the heck he wants for the rest of his career.