Released: 5th August
Seen: 2nd September
You may have noticed that for a few months not I’ve not been able to do any reviews for films currently in cinema. In fact, the last film I even got to see in a cinema was In The Heights way back in June. Why? Because I live in Australia and I live in a state that’s had such a bad covid infestation that we’ve been in lockdown for over 2 months.
Obviously “Hobbyist reviewer can’t see films in a cinema” is a problem worthy of the tiniest violin in the grand scheme of things but it’s still the reason why I’m about a month late seeing The Suicide Squad and why films like Candyman, Shang Chi, Respect and Free Guy haven’t been reviewed here. If I can somehow rent them, or the lockdown ends soon, I hope to get to them but that’s why this blog is even more out of date than it normally is… but now I’ve seen The Suicide Squad, time to ramble on about how awesome it is.
The Suicide Squad (inevitably destined to be confused with the 2016 Suicide Squad movie) follows a task force made up of criminals who have been sent to the island nation of Corto Maltese to find out what they can about Project Starfish and bring it to an end. A simple sounding mission at first that soon becomes next to impossible once you realise just what kind of team has been sent to accomplish this.
This team, which consists of characters like Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), Peacemaker (John Cena), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) and Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) among a slew of other characters must work together despite their differences in order to not only figure out what Project Starfish is but also to potentially overthrow a government and save one of their own from certain danger… all while trying to keep King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) from eating everyone because humans are apparently very tasty.
From pretty much the moment the opening credits popped up on screen after an opening sequence that can only be described as “Glorious batshit insanity”, The Suicide Squad had me in the palm of its hand and didn’t let go for the entire 2-hour runtime. If ever there was an argument for why James Gunn needs to be handed dump trucks of money to make whatever he wants from now until the end of time, take a look at what he pulled off with The Suicide Squad. He took this property and created one of the most brilliant and insane comic book movies in recent memory, which is a high bar considering how many of those we’ve had recently.
If you could describe The Suicide Squad in one word (which would probably make for much easier to read articles than the stuff I write), it’d be “unapologetic” because I have never seen a film that commits so hard to whatever tone it’s changing to without a single care about what anyone else thinks. When this film wants to be silly, no one’s going to be sillier. When this film wants to be action-packed, it delivers action scenes so beautiful it’ll make your eyes water. When this film wants to be vulgar… I mean, it’s always a little bit vulgar but it even does that better than most other films that want to have a little bit of raunchy humour in them because it never feels forced. It’s naturally disgusting and filthy, which is the best way.
From start to finish, The Suicide Squad delivers in ways that elevate it above its cinematic brethren. Sure, other films might have little title cards to show locations or how much time has passed but this one will have the scenery itself from the text of the title card. Hell, every other minute there was a shot that was so beautiful in such a weird way that you end up wanting a poster of it. Things like King Shark tearing someone in half, another character swimming through eye fluids or a massacre in a small village aren’t the things you expect to be visually impressive but here? Oh my god, absolutely impossible to look away from.
The Suicide Squad is so good that you could’ve cast pieces of cardboard in all the roles and it would still work, but the cast of this one is absolutely incredible. Margot Robbie has basically cemented herself as the only person who is allowed to play Harley Quinn in live-action form from now on, and this film is just her confirming that. Idris Elba and Joel Kinnaman have incredible chemistry in any scene they share together that you know there’s an entire lengthy history there, and both of them are incredible. John Cena keeps stealing every single scene he’s in, I’ve been waiting patiently to see him in a superhero movie because I knew he’d fit right in and sure enough this is the role he was born to play.
The unexpected emotional hearts of The Suicide Squad are Daniela Melchior and David Dastmalchian who are here almost intentionally just to make you cry. If you had told me at the start of this movie that Ratcatcher 2 and THE POLKA DOT MAN were who was going to have me sobbing the hardest, I would’ve called you a liar, but they do it with ease because they are just that goddamn compelling.
There isn’t a moment of The Suicide Squad that doesn’t work, it’s just so good from start to finish. If you aren’t into it within the first 10 minutes, this isn’t the kind of film for you so just stop right there and save yourself some time but if you finish that opening scene with a big dopey grin plastered on your face then buckle the fuck up, you’re in for a good time.
The Suicide Squad is the dark comic book movie I have been waiting for DC to do, something big and dark and shocking and bombastic as hell and god damn it, they pulled it off. I am so glad that Disney was very stupid and let James Gunn out of their grasp just long enough for WB to grab him in order to make this happen because this is one of the best goddamn films of the year. Easily.