Written and Directed by: James Gunn
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures / Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Runtime: 132 minutes (2 hours 12 minutes)
Certificate: 15 (UK)
Budget: $185 million (estimated)
The Suicide Squad is a second attempt by Warner Brothers to bring a group of ‘unlikely heroes’ to the big screen after their first attempt in 2016 was a flop, though we know now that’s mostly due to the studios’ interference with the film, thinking they knew better than the director himself and turning what could have been a great film into what is in my opinion, a decent film, but more importantly in the opinions of so many other possible fans, a crap film.
I enjoyed Suicide Squad for what it was, and for giving us a hell of a cast, that was able to bring the characters to life, but after the backlash they received, they gave it a few years of breathing room before trying again. This time, they brought new characters to the screen and people were eager to see if James Gunn could really pull this off with the characters he’d chosen.
Task Force X, also known as the Suicide Squad has been given a mission in Corto Maltese, to break into a highly enforced Nazi-era laboratory, so that they can destroy any and all evidence of something known only as “Project Starfish”. However, upon arrival, the Squad are met with heavy resistance, and a heap of trouble along the way as the Government of Corto Maltese is being overthrown by an Anti-American regime.
The Task Force is split into two teams (unbeknownst to them at the time), with the first team consisting of Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman reprises his role from the 2016 film), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie reprises her role from the 2016 film), Weasel (Sean Gunn), Javelin (Flula Borg), Mongal (Mayling Ng), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Savant (Michael Rooker), and T.D.K. (Nathan Fillion), but after being faced with a large force of the Corto Maltese military, Harley Quinn is captured and Rick Flag goes A.W.O.L.
The second squad consists of Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), King Shark (Physical performance by Steve Agee, Voiced by Sylvester Stallone), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), and Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian). Bloodsport doesn’t seem to get on with anyone at first but definitely doesn’t get along with Peacemaker, as both seem very stubborn in their own reasons for doing what they do best, killing other people.
This roster of villains turned heroes against their will, will have to put aside their differences and work together, following the commands of their terrifying overseer, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), in order to complete their mission and destroy everything related to “Project Starfish”, and I mean ‘everything’.
James Gunn manages to tell us a story that whilst brilliantly funny, also packs a lot of heart with some really impactful messages and themes. The film gives all of the characters enough screen time to make you care for them all which is no easy feat in a movie of this magnitude and even the villain is given a sympathetic angle that makes you feel almost sorry for the big Starfish before he starts destroying things and horrifyingly taking over the city.
The film feels very much like a war film, and the trauma you see unfold on screen is very graphic, not just in the beach sequence at the beginning of the film, but throughout the rest of the feature as well. It is very much a war film overall with elements of comic book silliness and brilliantly written humor to lighten the mood. Though the behind-the-scenes featurettes in the extras menu of the blu-ray prove that not all of the humor was written, with some of it being improvised, which proves just what this story brought out of the cast themselves, as they all seemed to love and respect the characters they were portraying within this messed up world.
Cast & Characters:
Speaking of the cast, James Gun brought together an exceptional cast to bring these bizarre characters to life. Even those who get less screen time due to the events at the beginning of the film are memorable for their performance. Flula Borg is brilliantly charming as Javelin, Pete Davidson is humorous in his role as Blackguard and as before in the 2016 film, Jai Courtney’s witty banter as Captain Boomerang is a scene-stealing performance.
Now, of course, we all loved how adorable King Shark was throughout the film, which wasn’t Gunn’s initial intent for the character but it can’t be helped. Though some fans might argue that they made King Shark too adorable and not as intimidating as he is in most comics, it cannot be denied that with the incredible CGI work to bring Nanaue to life in a live-action film that’s filled with practical effects, using Steve Agee’s body performance (using a specially molded body spacer and a helmet with ping pong balls attached) combined with Sylvester Stallone’s deep vocal tones, and not forgetting, of course, the simplistic brilliance of his dialogue written by James Gunn himself, it’s hard not to fall in love with the giant, not-so-intelligent, land shark who just wants friends.
However, the standouts in this film for me personally were Daniela Melchior and David Dastmalchian as Ratcatcher 2 (Melchior) and Polka-Dot Man (Dastmalchian), who in my opinion were the very heart of this film. Both of them stood out from the rest because they weren’t killers by choice, they were forced into a world as villains because of troubled pasts and both performers portrayed that idea exceptionally well throughout the film.
Seeing Polka-Dot Man cry out “I’m a Super-Hero” is something you won’t forget in this film because Dastmalchian delivers it with a perfect tone and emotion that just echoes in your head. Meanwhile, Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2, delivers an emotional performance of a young orphan trying to survive in a world of monsters and men. Along with her little rat companion Sebastian, she seems so much more innocent in this team of villains than any other character. Melchior ensures that her performance tugs at our heartstrings with such perfect expression that you’ll be by her side every step of the way when she is on screen.
Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2 David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man
There are over eighty minutes of extras included on this blu-ray, which vary from alternate trailers to deleted/extended scenes and bloopers, to behind-the-scenes documentaries about the making of the film and of course a documentary about who the characters of the Suicide Squad are and their origins. All of which are fantastic in my opinion. Digital media may try to be taking over physical media, and some digital releases grant you access to the behind-the-scenes/making-of footage, but one thing you have to love about physical media is all the extras.
There are some deleted/extended scenes that were taken out most likely for the usual reasons editors cut scenes, which is for pacing reasons. The pacing of a film is important but honestly, a couple of the scenes wouldn’t have been too bad on the pacing. One of them for example sees The Thinker talking to Polka Dot Man, trying to use his own emotions against him to hand him the gun that Polka Dot Man has pointed at him. It results in Polka Dot Man shooting The Thinker in the ear which explains why after the extraction from the club scene going into the scene on the rooftop about the plan to break into Jotunheim, you can clearly see that The Thinker now has a bandage on his ear, which goes unexplained in the final edit of the film.
A lot of the behind-the-scenes featurettes give us a glimpse at just how much fun the cast and crew had on set, but nothing screams fun more than a gag reel. The gag reel for this film is as brilliant as you might expect, with comedic actors such as Flula Borg, who portrays Javelin, taking the spotlight for funniest moments on the gag reel. His conversation exchanges with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn as hilariously funny, showing that despite the stresses of a job in filmmaking, there can be moments that remind people exactly why they love making movies.
The Way of the Gunn is a featurette about the cast’s experiences working with James Gunn, most of whom agree he was the perfect choice to make this movie, along with pretty much any comic book movie that ever gets made. Gunn has already proven his talent of bringing lesser-known names from comics to the big screen and turning them into household names that people now care about when he made the Guardians of the Galaxy film in 2014, along with its sequel in 2017. James Gunn proves himself to be a comic book fan making comic book movies and being true to the source materials as much as possible, whilst also allowing for his own visionary ideas to come to life that brings the whole film together and makes them all work. After the studio interfered too much with David Ayers’s attempt at bringing together the Suicide Squad in 2016, it seems they learned their lesson somewhat when it came to James’ turn to create a film. This film feels a lot less studio controlled and allowed James the privileges of bringing his film to life, which Ayer didn’t have the pleasure of, much to his fans’ disappointment. It is said and shown that James Gunn runs a very fun set with his cast and crew but just as importantly, his set and his visionary directing is functional to ensure that everything is done right.
Gunn also talks about how he had a vision of what he wanted the costume designs to look like, so that each of the characters was comic-accurate, whilst still having his own real world take of them, but keeping them as recognizable as possible to fans. For example, Harley Quinn dons her classic red and black costume design, wearing the leather jacket that fans recognize from the pages of the comics (at least in some stories). As a fan himself, Gunn knows that getting anything wrong about these characters in his film would be a disservice to the fans, and whilst not all fans agree on whether they like certain aspects of the film or not, I personally think he’s created one of the best comic book movies of the past few decades.
The Suicide Squad is a must-see for comic book movie lovers. It’s a brilliant mashup of comic book silliness, emotional rollercoaster moments, and action. Starro seemed like an unlikely villain to ever have made it to the big screen, and so did characters like Polka Dot Man and Weasel, but James Gunn, along with the exceptionally talented cast and crew, did it and pulled it off spectacularly to create what is quite possibly one of my favourite comic book movies of all time.
The blu-ray is a fine addition to anyone’s collection with plenty of fun extras to keep you entertained and interested, with behind-the-scenes info and a hilarious gag reel to keep the laughs coming.