The Suicide Squad movie review: James Gunn’s DC movie is a bloodbath crazy genius | Hollywood
A ruthless dismantling of the Bush administration, a touching fable of friendship, and arguably the most expensive exploit photo ever made, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is like The Dirty Dozen populated by DC characters.
Divergent in both the tone and texture of director David Ayer’s poorly edited 2016 original, from which Gunn borrows only a handful of actors and the basic premise, the new Suicide Squad is a total sensory assault. . Characters die willy-nilly, F-Bombs are dropped with more regularity as the DC Extended Universe changes creative direction, and not a single moment is wasted distracting cameos and building franchises.
Watch the trailer for The Suicide Squad here:
The Suicide Squad is a standalone exercise in maximalist storytelling, which we rarely see. This is perhaps the most deviant mainstream superhero movie since Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok.
He’s making a blind appearance here – I know what I just said about cameos, but it’s not the kind of “guest appearance” that will elicit a sharp Leonardo DiCaprio reaction from you. It also helps that Gunn saves Waititi for one of the film’s most emotional moments. There are several, each more surprising than the next, mainly because they tend to arrive seconds after someone has been brutally mutilated to death.
Violence, oddly enough, has a way of disarming the public. But subversion is a game Gunn has mastered. He sets up the story as one thing, but over the course of two skillfully plotted hours, transforms it entirely into something else; much like the characters – at least the ones who make it through to the end. And even a couple who don’t.
Like the first movie, which, if you’ve been following this kind of news, was snatched from Ayer’s hands “and turned into Deadpool,” Gunn’s Suicide Squad opens with shady government agent Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis and his famous spit) blackmailing bad guys into bidding. She justifies a mission to infiltrate and neutralize a Nazi-era laboratory in South America as being in the best interests of the United States, but she knows she is simply abusing her power.
Almost as surprising as the emotional intensity of the film is Gunn’s decision to go into politics. Warner Bros did a neat (and perhaps understandable) job of keeping this a secret. But The Suicide Squad is essentially a giant starfish-shaped finger for incursion-oriented US foreign policy. Although in the film, a weapon of mass destruction does exist.
I don’t know what that says about the film’s perceived geopolitical position, but the film’s socio-politics are more lucid. Consider the character of Ratcatcher 2 (there’s an explanation why she’s a human sequel, don’t worry), an immigrant who came to America in search of a better life, to be treated unfairly by its justice system. In many ways, she is to this film what El Diablo was to the original – a wild card with a heart of gold.
And while Margot Robbie gets the headliner and an entire 10-minute narrative corner for herself, Idris Elba, as Bloodsport, is the leader, not only in terms of screen time, but also because this is the most gracefully pronounced character arc. Elba delivers just the right amount of pathos and pessimism, plus, of course, his natural ability to grab audience’s attention through the scruff of the neck and weaken them in the knees, simply by triggering a growl.
There is, however, a lingering suspicion I have as to whether Bloodsport was the result of a hasty rewrite following Will Smith’s refusal to return as the Bloodshot of the same name from the first film.
Luckily for Joel Kinnaman, however, he was also invited this time around. His Colonel Rick Flag doesn’t look at all like the exhibition dump robot the character wrote like in Ayer’s movie. In it, Flag even gets a moment to shine in the final set, in a scene that also involves John Cena’s hilarious Peacemaker, who is designed, I imagine, as the kind of guy who would take on a leadership role. in the capture of the Capitol.
It’s an airtight script from Gunn, thinner and meaner than anything he’s done in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and more in keeping with his gonzo origins. It essentially takes place over three days, but shifts cleverly through time; always one step ahead of the public.
And as he reported in his previous collaboration with cinematographer Henry Braham, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Gunn is also evolving as a visual storyteller. There are moments in this movie that are breathtakingly beautiful, once you’ve wiped the layer of blood off the lenses, of course. I was particularly impressed with a shootout streak with Harley Quinn, which compensates for a misstep of a scene that appears almost like a contractual obligation.
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But that’s a minor complaint about an extremely entertaining movie. The Suicide Squad, as it’s probably supposed to be, is a great redemption tale, and that theme comes down to a line of dialogue delivered by Bloodsport in the middle of the climactic action scene. “Harley, take to the heights,” he commands. She does. And we should too.
The suicide squad
Director – James Gunn
To throw – Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Daniela Melchior, David Dastmalchian, Peter Capaldi, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis
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The author tweets @RohanNaahar