After seeing this one, James Gunn can write and direct as many DC Comics films as he wants!
A sequel that’s more like a reboot which tries to refresh the first dumpster fire that was the 2016 original simply titled, Suicide Squad, The Suicide Squad (emphasis on the “the”), written and directed by the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker, James Gunn, sees a new version of the infamous team dubbed Task Force X take on a threat bigger and more dangerous than ever before. Following a new ragtag group of villainous misfits including Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), and last but not least, the one and only Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), this new squad is being tasked with a mission that would probably give even the Justice League a run for their money. Dispatched by their captor/leader in the ruthless Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), Task Force X is on the trail of a mysterious operation conducted at the remote laboratory of Jotunheim on the far off island of Corto Maltese called “Project: Starfish,” an operation that’s more important — and dangerous — than anyone on the team can possibly comprehend. Cue the jokes and the gore because the Suicide Squad is saving the world with plenty of both!
Filled with more blood and guts and curse words than you can shake an R-rating at, The Suicide Squad is first and foremost a far better film in quite literally every way compared to the trash original. From actual humor and a vibrant color palette that perfectly gets across who these misfit characters are, to an inherent darkness and sense of violence that’s as equally over-the-top as it is appropriate, to the overall quality of the filmmaking being just plain fun to watch, this follow-up is what the original movie wanted to be (and should have been), while also giving a template as to how DC-related films can successfully put out mature content and continue to be a part of a more lucrative PG-13 shared movie universe.
Guided by writer/director James Gunn who now seems to have the superhero genre down to a science, the script for this film is one of the best things it has going for it, matched only by the strong sense of direction and proper tone for a movie such as this. Entertaining as all hell whenever an action sequence pops up, the sheer balls this movie has (especially in the first fifteen minutes) is something to be admired, laughed over and applauded all at once, giving fans a film that admittedly has its flaws, but is a wild and enjoyable ride throughout, regardless.
Yet for as good as the film truly is (I especially dug the way the story was structured in what amounted to continuous “chapters” almost like a Tarantino flick), the script is also where its faults lie. Genuinely well written in a technical sense, there’s a lot to love with what Gunn has done here, and outside of some pacing issues that sprout up when bullets aren’t flying, most of the problems are not with the script itself but the story; specifically that there isn’t all that much of one. Now, being a bit thin on plot and heavy on everything else (there’s also lots of character development happening here that mostly works) might be a bad thing in anyone else’s hands, but as it plays, Gunn is able to avoid being completely derailed by his own script’s issues simply due to the fact that he’s so good at doing everything else surrounding them.
Most definitely taking more than his fair share of cues from his own two Guardians of the Galaxy films (King Shark’s schtick is basically Groot in all but name and the attempt at making every song in the movie a “thing” is as prevalent as ever), Gunn still differentiates The Suicide Squad enough to make it a successful take on a team that deserved better the first time around, and sits comfortably in the middle of the outstanding first Guardians film and the decidedly less amazing Guardians Vol. 2 in terms of quality. And although it can’t be denied that it might be slowly paced in spots and lacks any meaningful storytelling beats that aren’t related to each individual character’s backstory, there’s so much bombastic R-rated fun to be had that it’s hard not to call this film a win in every sense of the word.
Entertaining, vulgar, violent and very well made, The Suicide Squad is a movie that is as good as it should have been coming from the mind of James Gunn, and while it most definitely has some issues, this one is hands down one of the best DCEU films out there, despite it’s “adults only” affair. James Gunn can come back to DC anytime, but for now the wait for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 begins!