Cert – 15, Run-time – 2 hours 12 minutes, Director – James Gunn
A team of killers and villains is put together to destroy a sinister lab on a small South American island
As Michael Rooker’s Savant wipes a crushed bird’s blood from a ball he’s been throwing around his prison cell onto his trouser leg writer-director James Gunn makes clear that The Suicide Squad is an intensely different affair to DC’s 2016 misfire, Suicide Squad. Set as a standalone-sequel-reboot we see a similar formula of a taskforce of, some familiar, imprisoned killers and villains assembled to complete a deadly mission for the US government. In this case Task Force X (otherwise labelled the titular Suicide Squad) is sent to Corto Maltese, a small island in South America, to destroy Jotunheim, a mysterious lab run by The Thinker (Peter Capaldi) with a sinister experiment hidden inside the towering building.
With plenty of violence and fore within the explosive action Gunn never appears to cross a line with his film. Body parts fly across the screen – scene-stealer King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) can be seen casually gnawing on a human skull if he’s not proclaiming “nom nom” while eating a person whole – as characters often literally show off their skills and try to one-up each other. There’s a constant battle between reluctant member, and father, Bloodsport (Idris Elba) and over-patriotic Peacemaker (John Cena). Their feud demonstrates that Gunn recognises that despite the seriousness the characters are trying to display, they’re still characters in (often) odd, brightly-coloured costumes. It’s also nice to see the welcome return of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn – embracing and continuing her much more colourful, not to mention entertaining, egg sandwich loving Birds Of Prey side.
The Suicide Squad stands out from many other comic-book adaptations of recent years. It feels unique in its style. Amongst the action and humour – of which there’s plenty of both – there’s a sense of threat and darkness running throughout it. Much of it coming from Viola Davis’ returning Amanda Waller, who recruits and sends out the team in the first place. She runs with the extra detail her character is given in this feature, creating a dark, almost antagonistic presence; certainly one that creates a slight fear factor. An angered figure who asserts her authority at every possible second, eyes on the mission; without concern for others. It’s a tense, biting and, again, dark determination that contrasts greatly with that of the squad itself – who simply want to get their task over and done with, preferably alive by the end of it. Alongside a strong sense of mission within this film there’s also a clearer sense of a team unit, albeit one of people initially pushing others for the sake of their own survival. You find yourself forming a bond with a number of the on-screen figures, leading you to be further unprepared for the various twists and turns that the narrative takes.
Gunn has created a film where literally anything could happen to anyone at any time, and very often does. There’s a rush of excitement when it comes to the chaotic and unpredictable outcomes. All adding to the thrills and surprises that the film provides around plenty of its corners. It forms a truly unique piece of work amongst other blockbuster films of recent years. With The Suicide Squad, James Gunn, alongside his cast and crew, has created a bold achievement, the likes of which we might not see another of for a long time.
Bold, explosive, unpredictable and very gory and violent The Suicide Squad has a subtle yet sparkling dark streak within its action and humour. Never forgetting the fact that it poses not so serious characters in an explosively serious situation.