The Suicide Squad
If there is a greater admission of failure than making the same film twice, it is surely adding a definite article to the second attempt: “2016’s Suicide Squad didn’t count,” Warner Bros seem to be saying, “this is THE Suicide Squad”. It even opens with an extended meta-joke about the original outing being a disaster, before recasting its black ops band of criminals and sending them to limbo underneath the low bar set by its predecessor. Sure enough, they succeed in making a film this time, albeit quite a bad one that does little to rectify the ugly aesthetics and weak characters of the first instalment.
One lesson the studio has learnt, however, is non-interference. Rather than cut the movie beyond all tonal and narrative recognition – and perhaps buoyed by the relatively positive reaction to the Zack Snyder’s Justice League – the producers have wisely allowed James Gunn to fulfil his weird vision. As a result, it’s easy for viewers to identify the piece as a comedy as it features the squad (including Idris Elba, Margot Robbie and John Cena) battling a giant starfish. The outcome is basically The Expendables, except Sylvester Stallone plays a biped shark; the flailing suckers are much the same.
The flipside of fully embracing the director’s creativity is that this sequel/reboot/wrestling match/feature-length episode of Street Sharks veers uncannily close to his Guardians of the Galaxy movies with its misfit camaraderie, CGI animal characters and jukebox soundtrack making the piece feel like a forgotten clone of the MCU version. The inclusion of The Fratellis is particularly jarring, though it may provide them with the boost they need to place above Italian restaurants in Google searches. Gunn also relishes the opportunities afforded by a 15 rating, for instance by deploying a gag about the protagonists accidentally slaughtering a village of unarmed South Americans.
Aside from the decidedly Ghostbusters creature climax (given away far too early in the film), The Suicide Squad is more of the same feelingless fodder from the DCEU. The team is literally dropped into each scene where they stand around making bad jokes until Viola Davis tells them what to do, this then ends with Elba swearing or shaking his head as if to say, “what are we like?” Unsurprisingly, Robbie’s breakout character is the most engaging component by far and without Harley Quinn the picture would be like watching a second coat of paint dry.
The Suicide Squad is released nationwide on 30th July 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Suicide Squad here: