The Suicide Squad
“The Suicide Squad” gathers a group of baddies who are summoned to take on a highly sensitive mission to destroy a seemingly dangerous scientific laboratory in the small South-American nation of Corto Maltese. By taking part in the suicidal (surprise!) mission, they get years taken off their prison sentence. Written and directed by James Gunn (“The Guardians of the Galaxy”), the film debuted with praise and so far, has done well at the box office. Members of the group include Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Polkadot (David Dastmalchian), Bloodsport (Idris Elba) and Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior).
The opening scene is a classic “what on Earth is happening”. It is confusing, fun, and surprising. It rains noise and gore everywhere and you understand what the “suicide” in “Suicide Squad” stands for. One of the best aspects about the film was Idris Elba’s acting. By playing Bloodsport, Elba firmly planted his feet in both Marvel (Heimdall, guard of the Asgardian Bifröst bridge) and DC Universes. Bloodsport is a character known for being able to weaponise pretty much anything- in “The Suicide Squad”, he has a suit made up of weapons that he seems to be able to deploy almost instinctively and instantly when needed. Although originally rumoured to play Deadshot, who in the previous “Suicide Squad” film was played by Will Smith, James Gunn had a change of mind and gave Elba his own character. With Bloodsport, Elba is serious, funny and cynical, and the backbone of the film.
Margot Robbie does a good job as she reprises her role of Harley Quinn, and so does everyone else. A notable mention goes to Daniela Melchior, who plays Ratcatcher 2, a sweet, naïve and sleepy young woman, who doesn’t seem to understand how using an army of rats in a robbery might qualify as arms. Joel Kinnaman also did a good job as Rick Flag, the captain of one of the suicide missions, a character who brings some seriousness and common sense to the group.
The issue is that the characters don’t have any chemistry and their dialogue doesn’t glue. It’s seems like an awkward “truth or dare” that everyone found themselves dragged into and no one wants to be playing. Words and replies fly all around, trying to connect into a cohesive dialogue, but more often and not we get some disparate sentences that are seemingly connected.
The film is fun, undoubtedly, and manages to be spontaneous at times; even the minor turns of plots which are predictable, are still enjoyable. Gunn’s directing style is clear and recognisable, as several aspects remind the audience of “Guardians of the Galaxy”, chiefs being the music and situational comedy.
“The Suicide Squad” is both better and worse than expected. Even though it is fun and has notable aesthetic moments (see Harley Quinn’s “rampage” scene), it often feels like the punches stop short of what could have been a real heavy-weight of a film. Sometimes, there are sparks of intelligence, a bit of “more than meets the eye”, a subtle social commentary. Is it the villain’s fault for wreaking havoc? It didn’t ask to be put in that position. However, this all risks being buried under a cartoon-ish appearance that is meant to be funny but seems to mock itself. In not taking themselves too seriously, the characters end up being clownish at times and I am not sure we are always laughing with them.
Seeing as Marvel has kicked off Phase 4 of their universe this year, it could be that from the DC side we will be seeing more of the remaining (alive) suicide squadders in the future, although nothing has been announced yet.
Grade: Somewhere between a 6 and a 7, depending on what scene you think of.