The Suicide Squad (dir. Gunn)

Image: The Suicide Squad on mission [Source: GoogleImages]

★★★☆☆

Supervillains Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker and a collection of nutty cons at Belle Reve prison join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X as they are dropped off at the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.

Director: James Gunn. Starring: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Sylvester Stallone [15]

After a series of old jokes were resurfaced on twitter, the mob swiftly ended the colourful career of James Gunn. Marvel having sent the prodigal son to the dogs before regretting their decision once the same twitter mob granted Gunn mercy. DC were then quick to scoop up the director to add some much needed life to their cinematic universe. And where better to put the director of group comedy flicks than behind the recent dumpster fire that was Ayer’s Suicide Squad, collectively thrashed by fans and critics alike.

So the former Guardians of The Galaxy director that helped spring the career of Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and made Groot as recognisable as Iron Man. Now had the task of bringing DC’s attempt at an extended character roster to their cinematic catalogue. Or at least do it with a bit more punch. Lets not give him all the credit here though, Margot Robbie was in my mind, idyllic casting choice from Ayer to begin with but Margot Robbie has not only brought the character to reality with the first film but also gave her so much needed heavy hitting punches with the stand alone feature. She does this again ten fold in this outing. Harley and Robbie are just so much fun and ecstatic character to these films and DC’s character roster in general, it lends every production that much more gusto.

The rest of the cast here are on top form also, Gunn sure knows how to pick em and get the best from them. Especially in terms of their casting, not only is Idris Elba his typical stoic bad ass but he has some superb comedic timing and knows how to bounce his character off the others with as much precision as his character. Cena is equally as pitch perfect as extremely hell bent gun wielding manic who will literally stop at nothing for peace. Gunn’s direction and choice of characters/cast is just superb, they blend together perfectly and the chemistry is off the charts, what at first as the intention is, might see like a pulled together of completely different people from different walks of life, both characters and cast adapt together and bond. It’s a truly sensational feat that Gunn can turn a ragtag group of individuals that may not be able to carry a solo project into a solid group who entice us with profound interest in their individual stories. But unlike Guardians were these characters end up feeling like staples to what we want more of, here they feel far more true to themselves in some sad irony as they feel completely expendable.

Harley being the only one to escape it as she has cement a firm base beneath here, she largely feels like she is around to lend credibility. It might have helped these characters if the narrative itself had more to say and life to it beyond just the gimmicky fun and joy of admittedly an exuberant fun fair of a ride. And it is just that, from start to finish, Gunn does not let up for more than a couple moments, so its non stop fun and games from opening to close. It’s said so much in the direction of the plot, opening with a literal team of expendables for the film itself, cameo drop ins to make for a loud opening that does touch on the feeling of these teams being throw aways in the context of the narrative. Part of the point being that while these characters are seen as throwaways, they and Gunn want you to find attachment and joy in these characters by the end. It’s shallow waters for Gunn to be honest. Guardians, even in its first outing I felt had a much stronger emotional impact and had more to say about the rag tag group flying around in space.

While The Suicide Squad doesn’t boast of anything larger than itself or climb the heights of Guardians of The Galaxy. Gunn still shows off his impressive ability to create tangible, connecting characters full of charm and wit, depth and growth out of “throwaways” and the monsters they are seen as both literally and figuratively. But like the characters it sports this picture while a great laugh and a joy ride, is as expendable as its characters.

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