Review: 'The Suicide Squad' (2021) Dir. James Gunn
Acting as the the tenth film in the DC Extended Universe and sequel to 2016s 'Suicide Squad', MCU vet James Gunn brings dark humour and bold action to a new roster of DC villains...
A.R.G.U.S. director Amanda Waller (Davis) expands her Task Force X - also known as the Suicide Squad - to take on a dangerous mission to keep a top secret alien weapon out of anti-American hands.
Led by Rick Flagg (Kinnamen) and newcomer Bloodshot (Elba), the team includes Peacemaker (Cena), King Shark (Stallone), Polka-Dot Man (Dastmalchian), Captain Boomerang (Courtney) and the wild-card Harley Quinn (Robbie).
Trusting each other is one thing, but the squad must use their abilities to the best they can to navigate a dangerous path that leads them to a volitile nation intent on using the weapon to bring the world to it's knees...
Any comicbook film that opens over credits to the toe-tapping tune of Johnny Cash and 'Folsom Prison Blues (Live)' is automatically going to shake things up with bold attitude and dark humour. We waste no time in joining an updated Task Force X - otherwise known as the Suicide Squad (degrading) - an established unit first introduced to cinematic audiences in David Ayers lukewarm 2016 Suicide Squad. Marvel hot-shot James Gunn sits in the directors chair this time for a sequel that takes everything you expect from DCs roster anti-heroes, shakes it up tenfold and spits it out for a vibrant, violent and vivid adventure.
Launching with a wonderful DC equivalent to Saving Private Ryan, Gunn throws in some unexpected moments from the off but then goes right back to a classic "3 days earlier..." title card to begin the story and introduce some of our new characters including John Cena's Peacemaker, Daniela Melchior's Ratcatcher 2, Idris Elba's new squad leader Bloodsport (similar yet different to Will Smith's Deadshot) and CGI King Shark voiced by Sylvester Stallone. But of course we have established favourites such as Joel Kinnamen as Rick Flag, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, tough as boots Viola Davis as Amanda Walker and ever bubbly Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn fresh from Birds of Prey,
The chemistry is there right from the off thanks to a star roster of talent, not afraid to inject 110% into their tongue-in-cheek roles to make them nothing but beleiveable and instantly engaging. There is high number of characters to fit into the squad, some you know will not make it to the end, but Gunn isn't afraid to keep you guessing and not play things as expected. Even the smaller squad members like the brilliantly animated Weasel, Nathan Fillion's detachable T.D.K, Peter Capaldi's sinister The Thinker and David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man with his mother issues. Many you've never heard of before, but who are all given a moment to shine and add something to the dynamic of the group or the threat of the story without being totally disposable.
In fact, Gunn brings so many little charming moments for the characters that add a level of absurdity to things only expected from a comic book adaptaion. Elba and Cena really shine with their prickly relationship and macho competing against eachother, Robbie continues her off-the-wall energy as fragile but fiesty franchise leader Harley, Stallone brings a loveable warmth to his brawn over brains man-eating shark and Melchior adds real heart to these otherwhile stone-cold killers.
Gunn has the magic touch with ensemble superhero films and directing fantastical action, yet never forgetting to let audiences have a damn good time whilst watching.
It's a perfect mix of cast members and a brilliant array of quirky, but believeable and often humane, characters from the comic book world. It does nothing but whet your appetite for seeing these DC villains get a chance to go up against some of our DC heroes.
Our dysfunctional family are tasked to infiltrate former Nazi experiementation facility Jötunheim on the secluded island of Corto Maltese, ruled by anti-American dictators who are potentially holding a secret alien weapon that could spell certain doom for the West and free world as a whole.
It's a simple story but flows really well at just under two hours from a script by Gunn who understands how to keep things interesting and retain the pace and energy and, thankfully, keeps things practical in terms of sets, costumes and action with no excessive use of neat CGI except where obviously necessary. When things need to get a little darker, Gunn isn't afraid to take us there especially in the bowels of Jötunheim, once again adding some meat on the bones to our characters faced with great adversity.
The story presents a playground of chaos for the team to get stuck into ranging from stealth takedowns in a jungle, secure compound infiltrations, highway truck chases and all out hand-to-hand / gun battles. While filmed in a very tongue-in-cheek and fun way with great cinematography and stunt performance, the violence is up there for this very adult adaptation. Blood splurts and flows freely, limbs are sliced and diced, bodies are mashed, faces are shot off, bones are broken...all to a cool soundtrack and ditzy comic-book logic.
With dreamy animated sequences that help reflect the thoughts and feelings of our anti-heroes (mostly Harley!) and an overall well paced, well cut and well shot story that doesn't try to be anything it isn't; as action and superhero films go, this has it all.
It's nothing but entertaining and often heartfelt for all the right reasons with a stellar cast and spot-on production.
More depth, more fun, more violence, more humour. 'The Suicide Squad' encapsulates all that works for a modern action / adventure, proving superhero films work for adults just as much as kids.
'The Suicide Squad' is a co-production between DC Films, Atlas Entertainment & The Safran Company