With the familiarity of the word “reshoot” Suicide Squad has, this film takes it to a whole new level. You can dress The Suicide Squad however you like; you can call it a standalone sequel if you like, but let’s be honest, this film is a redo. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a situation in cinema where a film was received so negatively that it had to be reimagined. The common thing to do would be to leave a property on the shelf to gather dust, but DC must have still seen the potential of this licence and have enough trust in James Gunn, who did a magnificent job bringing Guardians of the Galaxy to the mainstream, to realise that potential. So, is it realised? Well, I never had much hate for the 2016 Suicide Squad, honestly, I though in was pretty average, but it becomes pretty clear early on that James Gunn’s style has made this film the superior rendition.
James Gunn has had a very exciting twist in his filmmaking career. If there was ever a filmmaker that personified the phrase “fortune favours the bold”, he is the one. He’s gone from writing the abominable Scooby-Doo live action films to becoming the sweetheart of the superhero genre. Much like how J.J Abrams united Star Trek and Star Wars fans with The Force Awakens, Gunn is now uniting Marvel and DC fans with his fun, relaxing comedic style. Watching Suicide Squad, you can immediately get the sense of a fun filming environment, where everyone was on board with the direction of the film.
My biggest fear with this film came when I saw just how many characters this film was initially willing to commit to. There were so many interesting characters with interesting abilities to juggle around in a two hour screenplay, I think it wasn’t too irrational to think that there were way too many to commit too. The Suicide Squad however finds a way to ensure a steady hand with its characters, and the audience will form an unlikely attachment to some thought to be very minor characters. In this case, audiences will absolutely have a warm heart towards Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) and King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) because of how impossibly wholesome they are. Ratcatcher 2 is the least villainous of all the villains on display, she doesn’t actively seek to bring chaos to people, she is just someone who lost her father, and her army of rats is a reminder of her bond with him, the only glimmer of hope this character has had. King Shark on the other hand is just a charming doofus, and who doesn’t love a charming doofus.
When it comes to returning characters such as Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), you can see that they have much bigger freedoms to portray their characters. Margot Robbie pretty much embodies the clown princess of crime and Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag isn’t the generic soldier stereotype from the 2016 Suicide Squad but instead someone with an actual personality. But by far the most improved upon character is Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) the director of Task Force X. In the 2016 rendition, much like how Rick Flag was a generic soldier, Amanda Waller was a generic government official. However, James Gunn has injected the character with a coldness that has such a presence, her evil could outweigh all the other villains put together. She is single minded who will go down any avenues to blackmail villains into joining Task Force X. To recruit Bloodsport (Idris Elba), she threatens to move his daughter from juvenile hall to the prison where he is being held, where she would most certainly be killed.
Harley Quinn has her own little side story in which we look into her continuation of dealing with the breakup between her and her Mr J. Margot Robbie’s passion for this character is possibly the reason why the character has gone through a responsible evolution. From being a manipulated submissive to being independent still chained to tragedy is wonderful to explore. With her side story, we see what she sees. In one sequence the blood of the bad guys is replaced with flowers, showing us the character at her happiest, which also acts as a clever juxtaposition with the violence.
Now this being the superior rendition, you’d think that this film would have washed its hands of all the mistakes made from 2016’S Suicide Squad, but that isn’t entirely the case. Bloodsport, although acted amazingly by Idris Elba, is pretty much this film’s replacement for Deadshot. He has the same skillset, same backstory, the only thing that changes is the intimidation that Idris brings with his acting.
If you are the kind of person who doesn’t like being mislead by a film, The Suicide Squad is your idea of hell. The clue is pretty much in the name, characters are going to die, but what you may not be expecting is how many characters are killed off before you see “Warner Bros. Pictures presents…”. James Gunn love to use the old bait and switch technique on his characters, so it’s best that you don’t have a favourite or you run the risk of being let down. It’s pretty amazing how oblivious we can be to the plethora of warning signs this film had put out before it’s release to warn us not to get attached to characters.
I feel as though a lot of praise for this film has come about because people are comparing it to the 2016 suicide squad instead of the superhero genre as a whole. But even with that perspective, The Suicide Squad is quite the entertaining film. James Gunn’s style incorporates lots of freedom to do things just because it feels right, the chains have been broken on this film and it benefits from having that trust between studio and director. the fun balances out the maturity of the violence and although the film does fall into a few pitfalls of the genre, for the most part, you’ll neither care nor recognise when it does because of how much of a blast it is. It feels like a collection of ideas done for the hell of it that have a perfect marriage with each other.
Final Result: 8/10 – Very Good
Have you seen The Suicide Squad? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: The Last Letter from Your Lover