James Gunn’s R-rated version of The Suicide Squad is exactly what you would expect it to be. Yes, the humor is still there. Yep, the zaniness is off the charts. But this is Gunn with the kid gloves resoundingly off. The first ten minutes of the film are ludicrously violent and he never takes his foot off the accelerator from there.
That’s not to say I didn’t like it–I liked The Suicide Squad very much!
Gunn perfectly understands the premise of this group. These are very bad criminals literally on suicide missions in the hopes of reducing very long prison sentences. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.
However, Gunn also appreciates the fact that these are comic book characters. Peacemaker looks like he stepped right off the page, yet it makes total sense with his character. Javelin, Savant, Weasel, King Shark, Mongal, Polka-Dot Man–they look almost exactly like they do in the comics. Yet, somehow, Gunn made them loveable, intense, disturbed, and dynamic. Well … some more than others.
Speaking of which, The Suicide Squad lives up to its name. Gunn takes his cue from Cormac McCarthy and doesn’t get too attached to any of his characters. I’m not a fan of killing off characters for shock value, but with a name like Suicide Squad, you kind of have to expect someone to die, right? Frankly, some of the deaths surprised even me.
My only complaint is Bloodsport, played by Idris Elba. Elba is a fine actor, and Bloodsport is a cool character, but he seemed so similar to Will Smith’s Deadshot in terms of storyline and abilities that it felt almost like they were hoping the audience wouldn’t notice these were two different characters. Bloodsport is an expert marksmen trying to help his daughter while finding the goodness within. Sound familiar? I liked Ebla just fine, but there’s a classic Suicide Squad character out there called The Bronze Tiger that probably would have been a better choice. The Bronze Tiger is an expert martial artist and former member of the League Of Assassins. His character could have been a good way to set one of the lead characters apart from Deadshot.
The core characters of the movie were fun to watch, especially John Cena’s Peacemaker. Though an incredibly violent man, they played Peacemaker for a lot of laughs and Cena pulled it off by playing it as straight as he could. King Shark looked amazing and, like Peacemaker, spurred forth much of the humor even as he was literally tearing people in half. Joel Kinnaman once again had to be the straight man but Gunn even allowed his character some breathing room and moments of levity. Of course, Margot Robbie is Harley Quinn and brings something unique to the screen every time she plays the character. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller? Chilling.
However, James Gunn completely won me over with the last act of the film. I won’t spoil it in case you somehow missed it, but the last act of the movie is about as bonkers as you can get and I couldn’t believe I was actually watching it unfold. Gunn said Warner Brothers let him do whatever he wanted, and I believe it! I never, ever thought I’d see a certain monster from DC Comics in a blockbuster movie, but there he was, and he looked both terrifying and ridiculously silly–in a good way!
So as you can see, I had a fun time watching The Suicide Squad. There were so many jokes coming so fast with so much going on all of the time that I definitely need to watch it again. Luckily, it’s so crazy and fun that I won’t mind doing so at all.