The Suicide Squad – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi
In cinemas July 30th
This is not to be confused with 2016’s Suicide Squad. It is not a remake and is in fact a “sequel” to that, albeit a standalone offering that has very little to do with the first movie. While a few characters reappear just to remind us that we are still in the same movie universe, other than the always delightful Harley Quinn (Robbie), the focus is very much on new anti-heroes from the hit comic book series.
In a nutshell, imprisoned convicts with special powers are offered time off their sentences and other incentives if they undertake a deadly mission for the government. How deadly I hear you say? Well, they have to invade a South American Island called Corto Maltese to destroy a laboratory called Jotunheim which houses a giant starfish. Yep, you heard me right. The “baddie” here is a giant alien telepathic Starfish who reproduces from its armpit (do Starfish have armpits?). It might sound like a poor man’s Alien but actually, it all strangely makes sense.
That is down to Gunn who has the ability to take even the most obscure and sometimes derided comic book offering and make it cool. Remember how he turned Guardians of the Galaxy into a blockbuster when everyone expected it to be a little B movie offering? He works that same magic here selecting extremely interesting characters from the comic book series and writing them with real heart. The casting helps too. Elba is suitably brooding but layered as the unofficial leader of the group Bloodsport, a deadly mercenary with a super-powered suit. Robbie has the maniacal Harley Quinn down to a tee at this stage and here Gunn allows her to actually expand on the role and bring more depth to it. Hell, he even manages to get a somewhat decent performance out of the usually chronically wooden wrestler turned actor John Cena as Peacemaker – who is basically the anti-Bloodsport character.
He sets this up with laughs from the off and peppers it with plenty of suitably gory and in your face comic-book violence. Be warned – these are not cutesy set pieces. People get ripped in half and there are a lot of graphic scenes. All this probably makes it unsuitable for children but does lend it a very grown-up feel which adds to its charm.
This is the film the first Suicide Squad wanted to be. It is entertaining, witty, visually impressive and memorable. It is loud and silly and unapologetic – everything you want a summer blockbuster to be!