The Suicide Squad is not quite a reboot but a kind of sequel to David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad. The original had a lacklustre reception, to say the least, so this sequel had a lot of negativity to overcome. But with Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn at the helm, any concerns were clearly unwarranted and what he has delivered is a raucously fun and hugely entertaining film.
Once again, the film follows the convicts from Belle Reve prison as they’re recruited into Task Force X by ruthless director Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). As well as returning members Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Task Force X has a whole host of new recruits including Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), Peacemaker (John Cena), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone), TDK (Nathan Fillion), Savant (Michael Rooker) and Weasel (Sean Gunn).
The team are headed to Corto Maltese, a remote island where a military coup has risked the exposure of Operation Starfish, a secret weapon that could be used to destroy entire civilisations including the US. Task Force X is sent in to invade Corto Maltese and destroy Jotunheim, the facility housing Operation Starfish controlled by deranged Doctor Gaius Grieves (Peter Capaldi).
Needless to say, chaos and an incredible amount of blood and gore soon follow the moment the team sets foot on the island. The opening scenes are truly spectacular, in most parts due to Gunn’s merciless manner of killing off pretty much half of the cast in hilarious horrific ways within the first 10 minutes alone. And this sets the tone for the entire film, making it pretty clear to the audience that this is not a film that takes itself too seriously nor is it afraid of killing off some major characters.
As well as directing, Gunn also takes writing credits and aside from a few cheesy, cringe-worthy lines, the script is hilarious with a lot of quips and one-liners. The humour may get a little crass early on (mostly courtesy of Cena’s petulant teenager-like Peacemaker), but never to the point of offensive and I lost count of the number of times I laughed out loud watching this. What’s even better is that all of the characters, even those a little less obviously oddball like Kinnaman’s Flag, get a chance to shine and show their funny side. It’s strange to see a film with such a large ensemble cast where I didn’t dislike a single one of them. The action scenes too are fun and exciting, and they’re helped by an incredible amount of blood and gore that is surprisingly humorous (or maybe I’m just a little disturbed…)
I do think that some characters are lost here far too soon, and it would’ve been nice to see more of them as I think they could’ve upped the humour and entertainment value even more. The lack of a central villain or purpose is a strange move and I think this could’ve been tackled better, but fortunately thanks to the script and fast-paced action it’s not a big issue. Especially as the final act brings us Starro (voiced by Taika Waititi), a big bad so comical that you wish he’d turned up earlier. There are some moments in this film too that appear to go off on a tangent, like flashbacks to the team member’s backstories and Harley’s capture by the President, and for me, these were the biggest issues because they brought the tone of the film down to something a little less funny and too serious. If you’re going to make something as ridiculous and off the rails as this, go the whole nine yards and keep this going throughout – forego the heartwarming stuff as it isn’t necessary.
The Suicide Squad is exactly the kind of raucously entertaining film we needed to see after emerging from a tough and crazy year. It’s gory, demented, hilarious, absurd and so good that the previous film is now nothing but a forgotten memory.
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A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!