'The Suicide Squad' Spoiler Review

 After the massive success and popularity of Guardians of the Galaxy, I never thought James Gunn would work with DC.  I figured Marvel would keep Gunn very busy, but after some old tweets that Gunn made several years ago surfaced by a right-wing group looking to take down people that were mean to them.  Gunn was fired by Disney, and he became a free agent, it did not take DC long to pounce on Gunn and hire him to make a sequel/reboot of Suicide Squad.  Disney's knee-jerk reaction was their loss and Dc's gain, Disney has since rehired James Gunn to continue working on MCU films.  It was a crazy couple of months, and now three years later we are finally seeing the result of all that craziness.  The Suicide Squad was one of the best DCEU films so far, was much as I enjoyed Zack Snyder's Justice League it is an epic film, but not always a fun film.  James Gunn gave The Suicide Squad a heaping amount of heart, humour, and violence.  When I ranked the DCEU films I placed Shazam! third out of eight, but I think The Suicide Squad would be third (or maybe second) if I was to revise the rankings.  The Suicide Squad had a great opening and ending, there were also some surprises along the way and a lot of deaths.  James Gunn tried to keep his film closer to the comic book series that John Ostrander did, the Suicide Squad was made up of B-level villains who often died unceremoniously.  Many members of Task Force X die in this film, some deaths are funny, some are meaningless, and some are heartbreaking.  This film is a lot of fun, but it is also a film that will get you emotional for characters you never thought you would care about.  

When James Gunn was hired to write and direct Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG), it was a curious choice since Gunn was not considered to be a family film type of writer/director.  James Gunn's made two films before GOTG, he wrote and directed both Super (2014) and Slither (2006).  Both Slither and Super were gloriously vulgar and violent films, that also had heart and humor.  With GOTG, Gunn showed that he had matured as a filmmaker and we see a more family-friendly film, but in The Suicide Squad Gunn was able to combine the warmness of GOTG with the violence and vulgarity of his earlier films.  The humor really works so well in The Suicide Squad, the film is really funny, and I think John Cena was used perfectly.  Idris Elba and Margot Robbie gave great performances that combined a little bit of everything.  James Gunn has such a great sense of how to make an audience react, in both Suicide Squad and GOTG we are constantly feeling something while watching.  There were some members of the cast that got very little screen time, but Gunn made the most of that limited time with almost every character.  The Suicide Squad made us care about characters, we didn't know or didn't think we could ever care about.  A perfect example was Polka-Dot Man (played fantastically by David Dastmalchian), and Ratcatcher 2 (played by standout Daniela Melchior).  Both characters are not likely characters you would ever be expected to root for, but by the end of the film, I would be shocked if both character's storylines don't pull on your heartstrings.  


The film opens with Michael Rooker as Savant who is throwing a ball around a confined outdoor space, he is brought back inside by Amanda Waller (once again played by Viola Davis).  Savant is being prepped for a mission, joining him on the mission is Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), TDK (Nathan Fillion), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Javelin (Flula Borg), Mongal (Mayling Ng), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), Weasel (Sean Gunn) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).  The mission starts out badly as they drop from the transport into the water and we find out Weasel can't swim, Savant attempts to save him, but he has drowned ,and his body is brought to shore.  Blackguard reveals that he has tipped off the army of Corto Maltese who are waiting for them.  Blackguard is killed by the army and the rest of the squad jumps into action.  TDK stands for The Detachable Kid, and he detaches his arms and sends them after the troops.  It is an ineffective choice as all it does annoy the troops, they shoot his arms disabling him.  Javelin is also quickly dispatched, and before he dies he tells Harley Quinn to take his javelin.  Mongal jumps onto a helicopter and attempts to pull it down, she not only kills herself but also Captain Boomerang.  Flag is able to escape into the jungle, but Harley Quinn is captured by the army.

We then meet Bloodsport (Idris Elba), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), and Peacemaker (John Cena) have arrived at the other end of the island.  The first team was a distraction so that the second team could move more freely, we get a flashback to just before team 2 left.  We see Bloodsport refusing Waller's offer, Waller then informs him that his daughter was arrested for theft.  Bloodsport gets a visit from his daughter, they argue, but they end the visit on a heartwarming moment.  Waller uses Bloodsport's daughter as leverage, Bloodsport agrees to join Task Force X.  Bloodsport and the rest of team two have a mission briefing, we learn the total mission here.  Corto Maltese has had a coup d'etat and the new military regime is more of a threat to the world (America).  There is a scientific facility there which team two is tasked with infiltrating the facility and destroying it.  They are to make it to the city and locate the lead scientist at the facility Gaius Grieves also known as The Thinker (played by Peter Capaldi) who they can use to gain access to the facility.  

Team two is now in the jungle and they are tasked with finding and saving Rick Flag, they are directed to a rebel camp.  Team two makes it to Flag and kills all of the camp guards, but Flag is fine, and he is now working with the rebels who also want to overthrow the new government.  With help from the rebels the team is driven to the city where they must wait for nightfall to locate Grieves who is known to attend the local strip club.  Harley Quinn who was captured by the military is brought to the new president who wishes to marry her.  Harley is smitten with the president, but when he announces his plan to kill a lot of people including children Harley kills him.  Harley is then arrested and tortured by the general who is now president.  At the strip club, the team locates Grieves and attempts to take him, but the military shows up looking for Americans.  Flag, Bloodsport and Peacemaker surrender themselves to allow Ratcatcher 2, Polka-Dot Man and Grieves to escape.  The transport carrying Bloodsport, Peacemaker and Flag crashes after they get free and kill the guards.  They reunite with the team, and they learn that Harley is also alive, and they head to the palace to free her.  Harley gets free on her own and escapes the palace where she sees Flag, Bloodsport and Peacemaker attempting the rescue.  

The full team now heads to the facility, and they gain access using Grieves, inside the facility, they start planting bombs.  Grieves leads Flag, Ratcatcher 2 and Peacemaker to the heart of the facility.  They learn that Project Starfish is an alien starfish (Starro the Conqueror) that was captured and releases spores that take control of the host and make the Starfish grow.  They see a lot of people with the starfish spores on their faces, and they see the starfish is now gigantic.  Grieves then tells them that Waller has sent them here to clean up her mess, the facility was created by American intelligence agencies to experiment on Starro.  Flag is angry and dismayed so he attempts to take the hard drive containing the research and he wants to release it to the press.  An explosion happens and the facility starts to crumble causing chaos.  Peacemaker though has been given the mission of making sure the secrets stay secret, so he and Flag have a vicious fight.  The fight ends with Flag being stabbed in the heart by Peacemaker, Ratcatcher 2 witnesses this and takes the drive and runs.  Peacemaker catches Ratcatcher 2 and is about to shoot her when we get a flashback to what caused the explosion.  Bloodsport, Harley and Polka-Dot Man are near the top of the facility when they encounter guards, Polka-Dot Man sends his destructive polka dots at them, but they also hit one of the bombs which explodes.  As the building starts to collapse Bloodsport is on a chunk of the building as it falls, it hits the lobby just as Peacemaker was about to shoot Ratcatcher 2.  Peacemaker and Bloodsport have a standoff that results in both shooting, but Bloodsport's bullet goes through Peacemaker's and hits Peacemaker in the throat.  They leave Peacemaker for dead, but Starro has broken free and takes most of the military as hosts.  Starro is not interested in Task Force X and says that Corto Maltese is now his.  Waller says the mission is complete and to leave, but Ratcatcher 2 encourages Bloodsport to stay and help the citizens of Corto Maltese.  Waller threatens Bloodsport with the explosive bomb in his head, but before she can activate it her own staff has knocked her out.

The team takes on Starro, but Polka-Dot Man is crushed after he hurts Starro with his polka dots.  Ratcatcher 2 calls all of the rats in the city to help, the rats protect her and Bloodsport while also attacking Starro.  Harley takes advantage of Starro being distracted and plunges the javelin into Starro's eye letting in the rats which kills Starro.  Bloodsport then threatens Waller with the information on the drive.  There are two post-credit scenes, the first one involves Weasel who we thought was dead come back to life and run off into the jungle.  The final post-credits scene sees two of Wallers staff going to a hospital, they are there to check on Peacemaker, who has survived the bullet to the throat.  


The film crams a lot into its just over two-hour runtime, there are not a lot of wasted scenes or boring moments.  James Gunn has a distinct love for misfits, he managed to take very minor characters in the DC universe and give me a reason to care about them.  I hope we get Kite Man (hell yeah!) in the sequel; DC has an almost endless supply of mediocre villains who can join Task Force X.  Ratcatcher 2 was probably the biggest surprise of the film; Daniela Melchior is an actress I never heard of, and she delivered a star-making performance.  Taika Waititi had a few scenes in the film playing the original Ratcatcher, and the father of Ratcatcher 2.  Taika delivers one of the most powerful lines in the film, "Rats are the lowliest and most despised of all creatures, my love.  But if they have purpose, so do we all".  The Suicide Squad and GOTG are just so similar, but there are enough differences that I feel that I am watching something different.  I feel like between Shazam! and The Suicide Squad the DCEU is in a better position than it previously was in.  The Batman, Black Adam, The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom are all coming out in 2022.  All those films have me very excited for 2022, and I am really excited for a sequel to The Suicide Squad and the Peacemaker TV series.

John Cena was another standout performer for me, he was fantastic as Peacemaker as he was both funny and dangerous.  In my review of F9, I said I did not think Cena was very charismatic, but after watching his performance in The Suicide Squad I was wrong.  Cena can be charismatic, but in F9 his performance was limited by a poor script.  There is a reason we are getting a Peacemaker series; James Gunn saw potential in both the character and John Cena.  I don't think I would have been as impressed if John Cena's performance in F9 was not so bland.  When Peacemaker was shot in the neck, I assumed the series would be a prequel leading up the events of The Suicide Squad.  The end credits stinger reveal that Peacemaker survived the bullet to the throat, it means there could be an appearance by Cena in a sequel.  The box office was not as expected, the film dropped on HBO Max the same day as it opened in theatres, there is another surge in covid cases, and the fact that the film was rated R could have all contributed to it underperforming.  I hope the R rating is back for the sequel, I think Gunn's style and the material works better with the R rating.  I know there has been some criticism about the violence in the film being too graphic, but I would argue that Gunn's style was always like that, and that the violence makes the film feel less real in a good way.  If all of the violence in the film was not so over the top it would feel a lot heavier, and the tone would not have balanced.  

The characters of Bloodsport and Harley Quinn were both great in the film too, but I have not talked about them as much.  Idris Elba and Margot Robbie are both great actors and I was not surprised by the quality of their performances, though I did find that Bloodsport felt a little too similar to Deadshot from the first Suicide Squad film.  Both Deadshot and Bloodsport are fathers that are trying to do right by the kids, both are very good shots, and both stepped up into leadership roles over the course of the films.  I think when James Gunn started to write the script, he was writing with Deadshot and when Will Smith confirmed he would not return then Gunn changed Deadshot to a similar character in Bloodsport.  I am not meaning to sound down on Bloodsport or Idris Elba, I thought Elba brought a lot of gravitas to the role and the character design (specifically his helmet and gun) was incredible.  I also really like Harley Quinn's role in the film, even though we have seen her in two previous films her portrayal in this film felt similar but also different.  I thought her arc of falling for the President only to realize he again had some serious red flags was good character growth.  Harley also showed a lot of strength in escaping from her imprisonment and her defeat of Starro.  I hope for the sequel they can work Deadshot back into the mix, I think there could be something interesting in having him return in the sequel.  Deadshot does not necessarily need to be on Task Force X, they could encounter him while he is on a mission for himself.  

There was only one thing that actually disappointed me, I did not like the portrayal of The Thinker in 
The Suicide Squad.  The casting of Peter Capaldi was great, I kept waiting for him to unleash a verbal tirade (if you have seen In the Loop or The Thick of It then you know what I mean).  The Thinker is supposed to be smart; I would have expected him to give the team more trouble.  Capaldi did an okay job, but I think the character he was playing was not given enough material to work with.  How fun would it have been to watch him out-think everyone but Peacemaker or King Shark, they would be too dumb to predict what they would do.  There is a case to be made that the film lacks a true villain, Starro was an alien that was brought to earth and experimented on.  The Thinker was not an antagonist to our main characters, and the military General was not very interesting.  The large cast and great performances distracted me from the villain issue, but I hope the sequel delivers a great antagonist.  

The Suicide Squad is easily one of the best DCEU films we have seen yet, the cast was great, the characters were interesting, and the action was entertaining.  James Gunn was able to put an R-rated spin on his GOTG formula with The Suicide Squad and in my opinion, it worked to great effect.  I would give the film an A or 9/10, it balanced entertainment, humor and heart really well.  I will be looking forward to seeing more of the characters in this film.  Polka-Dot Man was made to be a character we could care about, and the other new characters were all great too.  There is probably going to be a lot of work needed to be done to make me rethink my opinions on this film, to me it is fantastic.  The film fully embracing the R rating is one of the things that made me so happy, this will not be for everyone but for the violence and language really made me happy.  I hope that you enjoyed the film or that my review has made you interested in watching The Suicide Squad.

Thank you for reading and please let me know what you thought of The Suicide Squad.

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