'The Suicide Squad' Slices Open the Superhero Genre

Directed by James Gunn

Starring Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Pete Davidson

BY Marriska FernandesPublished Aug 5, 2021

James Gunn's unique filmmaking style and cinematic vision explodes to life in The Suicide Squad as he employs a wacky crew of brilliantly cast villains in a fun, R-rated action flick, giving us the theatrical experience we've been craving.

Robert DuBois a.k.a. Bloodsport (Idris Elba) is serving a sentence in Belle Reve prison before government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) offers him 10 years off his sentence if he agrees to go on a mission to the island of Corto Maltese to destroy a dangerous government entity known as "Project Starfish." To sweeten the offer, she dangles the fate of his daughter, who is about to be sentenced for petty theft.

He agrees and brings along a team of misfit villains including Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) and Peacemaker (John Cena). However, once they arrive on the island, they run into unexpected problems and are soon joined by Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) – the only survivors of another one of Waller's brutal missions.

The tagline "they're dying to save the world" gets literal as Gunn – whose previous work includes Guardians of the Galaxy – brings violent and gory deaths that are displayed so stylistically and with such flair that one can only marvel at it all.

Even the characters that haven't had much screen time leave an impression – more so with the theatrical deaths that are quite memorable. If you happen to share Gunn's dark sense of humour, you'll get a kick with every elaborate kill.

Yes, it's a violent, gory film – but were you expecting anything less? It's a much, much better entry than the poorly received 2016 film. This new version leaves no stone unturned as Gunn turns all the rules on their head. The performances by the superbly cast group of actors, massive action set pieces, carefully crafted stunts and cheeky dialogue that often hints at a double meaning are what make this a film a success. It's funny, unexpected, over-the-top and takes you on a wild, R-rated ride.

The opening scene is a full-on bloody massacre – Gunn immediately lets the audience know to hold onto their seats for an unexpected adventure. And Gunn delivers. He takes the ("mostly boring") superhero genre, and slices it open with his own twisted version of supervillains who, from the very beginning, are disposable. Nevertheless, Gunn makes every character an investment.

The film does slow down when it shines a spotlight on Harley Quinn, but that was a much-needed scene. While Harley was sidelined in the 2016 film, this time she is given a meatier role. She isn't waiting on anyone to save her, and is more kickass. The action sequence she is given is impressive, and Margot Robbie carries it out with flair, reminding us why she deserved her own solo film. Decked in a ball gown and combat boots instead of her usual ensemble, Margot gives a knockout performance in a scene-stealing action sequence.

Idris Elba gives a much more grounded performance, as does Viola Davis. Elba's portrayal of Bloodsport offers emotional depth in an otherwise action-heavy film, especially in his scenes with the millennial villain Cleo Cazo a.k.a. Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), who reminds him of his daughter. Cleo is the glue that holds the crew together, being the heart in a group of otherwise heartless villains.

John Cena fits the bill as Peacemaker, nailing every one of those killer punchlines in a deadpan manner and proving he's very much got the comedic chops to crush every scene. Watching him go head-to-head with Elba's Bloodsport is downright hilarious.

After the year we've had, we need an explosive film to remind us of our love of theatres, and this dark, destructive film does exactly that.
(Warner Bros.)

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