Sunday, August 8, 2021

The Suicide Squad

Of the DCEU films that I’ve seen, the Academy Award winning 2016 film Suicide Squad is easily one of the worst, which was sort of a misguided attempt to emulate Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, only with a haphazard and forgettable story thanks to heavy executive meddling. When I heard the announcement of a sequel known as The Suicide Squad, I already wasn’t sure about it since I had been burned the first time, however my hopes were raised when I learned James Gunn himself was attached to direct, during the brief period in which he was not working for Disney (I will not get into why). Though it was one of several movies affected by the ongoing pandemic, I awaited this movie as the release date approached in the hopes that Gunn would be able to salvage the original film. After watching it on HBO Max as part of their day-and-date programming, I found the movie to exceed my expectations, even being a vast improvement over the original.

Task Force X, informally known as the Suicide Squad, consists of supervillain inmates at Belle Reeve penitentiary who are sent out on dangerous missions in exchange for lightening their prison sentence. Robert DuBois, aka Bloodsport (Idris Elba), is chosen for one of these missions, with Task force X director Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) getting him to accept by threatening to throw his daughter in the same prison for theft. Once he does, Bloodsport is put into a team consisting of himself, Peacemaker (John Cena), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) and Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) with the objective of infiltrating the island nation of Corto Maltese.

Though the plot hits some similar story beats to Guardians of the Galaxy, it manages to work in the movie’s favor. Much like Guardians, James Gunn proves his ability to make the audience care about obscure DC villains like Polka Dot Man, as well as Ratcatcher 2 and her rat sidekick Sebastian. Though definitely much bloodier and gorier than Gunn’s contributions to the MCU, this is balanced out with some great humor and dialogue, as well as a far more conceivable threat for the Suicide Squad to defeat. That said, however, much of the film’s cruder humor fell onto the character Peacemaker, and frankly the movie could have gone without said humor.

Helping this is the acting performances from the main cast. Of note is Viola Davis as the fearless and badass Amanda Waller, as well as Idris Elba as Bloodsport and David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man. King Shark can be considered this film’s equivalent to Groot, and, much like Vin Diesel in that role, Sylvester Stallone really brings out the nuances of the character even behind little dialogue. This is also probably one of Margot Robbie’s best performances as Harley Quinn, as the script allows her to fully explore the emotional depths of the character and make her more compelling in spite of said character’s mental instability.

The visual effects are especially stunning, with a good balance between practical and computer effects without too much of a reliance on the latter. King Shark is animated in a way that is expressive (as far as one can take with a CGI shark man) and that he fits in with the rest of the group, as is the CGI Sebastian and the rats that Ratcatcher 2 controls. There’s also some very interesting camera shots and creative scene transitions that fit in well with the movie’s bright color palette, in stark contrast to Zack Snyder’s Justice League earlier this year.

The Suicide Squad is one of those rare movies where the sequel is actually better than the original and is well worth watching for both James Gunn fans and DCEU fans. For those who aren’t fans of the original Suicide Squad, this film is written in such a way that you can safely skip that one and not miss anything.

No comments:

Post a Comment