The Dark Herald Recommends The Suicide SquadThe Dark Herald
I hate to break this to you but it’s a good movie.
Yeah, I know James Gunn is a vomitable little twat. And no one will ever look at John Cena the same way again after his Chinese hostage video. That’s irrelevant. This review is about Suicide Squad itself.
This discussion will be reasonably spoiler-free. I’ll do another one later in the week where I go into spoilers.
This is easily the best DC Comics movie. I was going to caveat that and say since the Dark Knight but then I thought it over and came to the conclusion that Dark Knight was a Christopher Nolan film, not a DC Comics movie. This is the very first movie that gets the vibe of DC Comics right. To be exact it gets 1980s DC right and frankly, that was the apex of DC storytelling.
There are some really interesting caveat articles coming from shill media on this picture’s box office performance. By that I mean there are a lot of articles that are saying, this is a good movie BUT it isn’t doing any better than Birds of Prey. Which is another way of saying this non-Woke movie’s numbers are no better than Woke DC’s.
Conveniently overlooking the fact that COVID didn’t exist back then or that we are in the middle of the Delta Variant fear porn spike.
And Suicide Squad is very definitely not-Woke.
James Gunn is absolutely an actor’s director; you can tell that by the number of familiar faces he drags with him from production to production. But he does get better performances out of them than any set-piece director would. He is also very much a comedy director which anyone who saw Guardians of the Galaxy would have already known.
And speaking of the first movie, its existence is barely acknowledged in this one. The only reason it could be considered a sequel at all is the presence of Margot Robbie and Viola Davis. Davis’ turn as Amanda Waller was chilling, she was clearly the most ruthless villain in the whole story despite being the official “good guy.” Gunn made the decision to assume that the audience knew about how the Suicide Squad works. I suppose there are one or two people who might have gotten lost along the way but on the whole, the work is improved by not rehashing the origin story.
Gunn went deep to find his rather disposable villains for this film. I had to do a lot of googling to find some of them. One of them, TDK, I’m pretty sure he made up, despite the fact that his power strongly resembles an obscure character from the Legion of Superheroes in the 31st century. I’ve run into TDK’s ability in other comic lines, and it is a pretty stupid superpower. James Gunn’s casting choices for cameo roles strongly reflect a genuine geek’s tastes. In Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Ben Browder played the blink and you miss it role of the Sovereign Admiral, Nathan Fillion had the tiny part of TDK in this film.
Peacemaker was originally one of the old Charleton Comics characters that DC picked up in the Eighties when they bought out Charleton. Alan Moore was using Peacemaker plus a few other notables for a limited series intended to compete with the emerging Indy titles. In mid-production, he was told he’d have to rename the characters. Which was how Peacemaker became the Comedian in Watchmen. Peacemaker has been a well-meaning villain ever since then.
Cena played his usual bombastic, bellowing character that he has been bringing to the party since he first climbed into the ring twenty years ago. Although, I will grant that he brought a few moments of subtle remorse to Peacemaker that I really didn’t think he could manage. He was able to hold his own opposite the vastly more experienced Idris Elba.
Peter Capaldi was much more in his element as the evil Thinker than he ever was as the Doctor. I mean look at his eyes he’s one of nature’s freaking blackguards. He’s delivered a much more riveting performance for Gunn than he ever managed for Moffat.
Rat Catcher2: Shut up! Unless you want a hundred rats running up your ass?!
Thinker: My answer to that might surprise you.
If Margot Robbie is going to be remembered for her turn as Harley Quinn at all, it will only be because of this performance. Gunn is the first filmmaker to get her character right. She’s not a female empowerment figure, she’s not a girl who is trying to make her way in a Man’s World, she’s a psychopath. Joker didn’t turn her into a monster, he just unleashed what was already lurking deep down inside of her.
Harley Quinn, for a wonder, was not the centerpiece of this movie. She was prominent and had a few top-notch scenes that were very much within her character, but she wasn’t front and center the entire movie. It made sense to give her the amount of screen time that Gunn did. Robbie for her part seemed to be grateful to have a story that for once knew what it was supposed to do with Harley Quinn and she ran with it. For once the actress really seemed to be loving the part. This was what she thought the role would be when she first signed up for it. That said if you lifted Harley Quinn’s plot out of the movie it wouldn’t have changed much of anything.
Idris Elba isn’t typically a comedic actor, but Gunn was able to make him work as that in this role. I actually laughed at Idris Elba and I never thought that would happen. Elba is playing… (googling to make certain)… Bloodsport (NOT Deadshot), although frankly, the only difference between the two is that Will Smith was playing pretty much the exact same role in the first movie. Elba very handily anchored this jet-black comedy. He’s never had trouble with tough-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold roles but I was rather surprised to see he could do physical comedy, which despite its low-brow image is about the toughest row to hoe.
Bloodsport (I keep having to check) is a father who actually does care enough to try and stay away from his daughter. The reptilian Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) has no trouble exploiting this weakness. Elba completely nails this relationship and its concomitant motivations in less than five minutes of screen time.
However, the absolute show-stealer was Sylvester Stallone’s, King Shark. Stallone portrayed him like Lennie from Mice and Men. An almost innocent criminal who didn’t really understand why the things he was doing were evil. In a lot of ways, King Shark was the dark side of Groot, they were almost the same character except King Shark really likes to eat people because he thinks human sushi is the best.
That brings us to what will be the deal-breaker for a lot of people, gore. This is an extremely gore-drenched film. Characters are being shot, stabbed, and torn apart during the film’s run time. It’s not a just bunch of blood bags like in a Verhoeven flick, people are constantly and graphically exploding in this film.
There is also some full-body nudity, although these are all background extras. Margot Robbie isn’t doing that anymore so don’t get your hopes up. It absolutely earns its R rating.
The real pity here is that such a great movie was made by such a walking pile of horse dump like James Gunn.
Regardless, when I separate the art from the artist then this film is not Woke silly, ridiculous, blood drenched fun.
The Dark Herald Recommends with Confidence.