There are two things that James Gunn can do better than anyone else in the world: On the one hand, he makes brilliant mega-budget superhero films that still march to the beat of their own drum (e.g. « Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ”), and the other makes exaggerated gore festivals so disgusting that they break the line between indie cinema and outsider art (e.g. the dark-satirical“ super ”, which in retrospect appears like a model). Gunn may be the only person who directed blockbuster tentpoles for both Marvel and DC, but he’s still the guy who wrote Troma’s « Tromeo and Juliet » at heart. And when the opening credits of “The Suicide Squad” are spelled out in the blood of the freshly exploded skull of a supporting character, it is clear that he always will be.
The funniest and least depressing superhero film in a very long time, Gunn’s insane ultra-violent « The Suicide Squad » bears the yoke of its genre with an ease that allows it to loosen, if not shake off, the usual limitations altogether. It must be liberating to mulligan $ 150 million (give or take) to a widely maligned disaster that still grossed nearly $ 1 billion despite becoming a punch line along the way, and that’s exactly what this crazy carnival of R-rated cartoon chaos means at the end of the day: No reboot or a sequel to 2016’s “Suicide Squad”, but rather a second draft.
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In the short but purgatory history of superhero films – which once brought us three different Spider-Men within nine years – we never really had the opportunity to see so different views of the same characters, from several of the same ones Actor, in the same cinematic universe. And while the tone of Gunn’s film is not far from that of its ill-advised predecessor, it actually has the chutzpah (and creative freedom) to make amends for Harley Quinn’s whole « We’re bad guys – this is what we do. » Routine. Sometimes the difference between a strike-out and a home run is just a little harder swing on the ball and the help of a giant alien starfish that grows bigger every time one of the hideous flying pods it excretes from its body gets a new face hugs victims and indoctrinates them into swarm consciousness (or beehive … central nervous system). But we’re going to get there.
First we need to establish a premise and team up, and Gunn’s script leverages – and undermines – genre expectations on both fronts. Most of these films start out with a jumble of incoherent nonsense before the main story gets underway, but « The Suicide Squad » strolls out the gate with the confidence of a film perfectly comfortable in its own skin (even if that skin is a colorful patchwork of glowing, dotted tumors). Once again, the action begins at Belle Reve Prison, where the ruthlessly fed Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) uses the local people as her personal drafting pool to recruit black ops teams of supervillains to do the dirty work that the American Government would rather deny it. “I would do anything to get out of this hellhole,” one of the inmates torments. “Welcome to everything,” replies Waller.
And that’s it. What more do you need? The next thing you know is a long line of insane killers walking up to a military plane in slow motion, waiting to be dropped off on the beach in a fictional Central American country called Corto Maltese (a moody role split between Panama and Pinewood) . Studios). Why are they going there? They don’t know, and some of them won’t survive long enough to find out; The bank of C-Comic book characters that Gunn has put together here is so deep that his film can blow half of them into small chunks without missing a beat.
Needless to say, a team, too owned by a humanoid weasel (Sean Gunn) and Pete Davidson, the gallery of the silly villain from « The Suicide Squad » is much closer to the Mystery Men than to the posing group of amoral badasses featured in the previous film; If you’ve ever wanted to see the DCEU take on some of the sarcastic, wide-eyed, « Am I really fighting alongside a murderous raccoon? » Guardians of the Galaxy energy, this is definitely your lucky day. But here Gunn is able to move the envelope much further than he was on the other side of the fence, and while some of his characters are more convincing than others, all are dressed with a level of moral compromise that the Avengers and Her friends only wore her as a cosplay.
That starts with John Cenas Peacemaker, an almost parodic swollen mega-patriot who behaves like a lovable cross between Captain America and Madison Cawthorn and says things like “I value peace from with all my heart – I don’t care how many men, women, and children I have to kill to get it ”(Gunn’s attacks on US foreign policy are not exactly subtle, but at least he never backs down from them) . Cena’s strongman comic strip is so much funnier when it disproves a certain weakness, and « The Suicide Squad » uses it more effectively than any movie since « Blockers ». Though one would have to go back to the end of “Akira” in 1988 to set a precedent for the “cool but immediately catastrophic” amount of vein bulging that happens here in Cena’s biceps.
Idris Elba’s Bloodsport provides the perfect slide for Peacemaker as the two push each other for the possibility of redemption – the kind of redemption they both need more than ever after a hilarious sequence in which the Suicide Squad unconsciously illuminates some of the Colto-Maltese guerrillas opposing a coup stage their corrupt dictatorship. Playing a seasoned sniper who just wants to keep his half-estranged daughter (Storm Reid) out of jail, Elba brings this superhero a certain amount of fatigue that the Gene Republic usually has to take care of on its own.
His performance is so grounded that even his scenes alongside the two-legged King Shark Nanaue are rooted in reality (a winning CGI creation that acts like the love child you never thought Hulk and Jaws could physically conceive together. Nanaue is made by Sylvester Stallone in the role he was born to play). “The Suicide Squad” may not offer quite as many indelible imagery as a “dirty dozen” riff of deadly assassins, vermin-possessed millennials (Daniela Melchior shines as Ratcatcher 2), and introverts plagued by interdimensional viruses (David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man), who teamed up to fight a kaiju-sized echinoderm, but the sight of Elba wearing a sleeveless undershirt and superhero helmet at the same time is borderline in itself / p> The fact that he concisely articulates the rough way in which this film brings absurd genre tropes into harmony with relatable human activities is just the icing on the cake. Many superhero films like to disguise themselves as « cold war thrillers » or « war epics » or whatever, because their directors are rightly ashamed of the narrowness of contemporary studio filmmaking, and while Gunn prefers to breathe in the suffocating borders That system snaps as struggling to dismantle it from the outside, « The Suicide Squad » is the rare blockbuster of its kind that actually feels like the « Men on a Mission » classics that studio managers gave the go-ahead before Spandex has cut off the blood flow to their brains.
The fact that the vast majority of Gunn’s film is set on a small island helps keep « The Suicide Squad » focused on the task at hand. As busy as this story is, I haven’t even mentioned Harley Quinn’s princess saga of a romantic subplot, Alice Braga’s role as a young revolutionary, or Peter Capaldi’s role as a mad scientist with a penchant for strip clubs – anything but the movie The Most Unnecessary Supplements Combine in the end in the same place, and each of them adds to the number of bodies of America’s unique brand of « liberation. » It also goes a long way towards making the (very) great evil equally gnarled and likable; Superhero fare is always inundated with CGI overload during their third act, but Starro is light years away from the murky brown goop monsters that end these films with a whimper. Even after the lengthy siege that spans the back half of this saga, the final battle that follows leaves your eyes wide instead of glazed over.
Given that « The Suicide Squad » is only as good works because Gunn has been empowered to go a little bit insane, it’s hard to hold onto the things that won’t hold her weight – any decent suicide bombing brings some losses with it. While Gunn’s use of Harley Quinn is sensible and wise even before she’s at the center of the movie’s cleanest action setpiece, the character needs urgent advancement if DC is to continue to rely on her and layer her into larger ensembles, it’s not going to work much longer (the same goes for Gunn’s counterintuitive needle drops, which have lost their luster, even if Louis Prima is a big draw). Unsurprisingly, Harley is reduced to a vessel for Gunn’s tenacious youthful streak; Dialogues like « I love the rain, it’s like angels splash over us » can’t help but spoil the average of a movie in which even the quietest moments are turned into riotous laughter.
To do Robbie justice , « The Suicide Squad » hits a speed bump whenever it slows down to put a single member of the team in the spotlight. And yet, if Polka-Dot Man’s obsession with his mother becomes less amusing every time we see her face, Gunn’s commitment to the part amid the chaos of everything else is inseparable from the energy that elevates this film over the product, the He sold. Even the shallowest beats are worth the feeling that Gunn could do what he wanted; that Warner Bros. did not write this thing down to death; that Wiesel could return one day when we need him most. And if you don’t appreciate how refreshing that is, stick for a post-credits stinger that will remind you how grimly synergistic these things can be. If the superhero-overloaded films kill themselves, at least « The Suicide Squad » suggests the medium will laugh.
Warner Bros. will hit theaters on Friday, August 6th, « The Suicide Squad » and post it on HBO Max.
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This article is related to: Film, Reviews and tagged DCEU, James Gunn, Reviews, The Suicide Squad
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