“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
Writer: James Gunn
Staring: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman
Release Date: August 6, 2021

The Suicide Squad may have been the most discussed movie before its release compared to any other this season. When this project was announced there was immediate pressure placed upon director James Gunn and everyone involved. The movie has been mired by uneven expectations, behind the scene battles and the pressure to be unique. Gunn put himself in the cockpit to to create a DC universe movie with the impossible task of hitting many moving bullseyes.

*Take A Bow James Gunn*

The Suicide Squad (2021) is good. It is in fact very good. The Suicide Squad, under the utter confidence of James Gunn, goes balls to the wall with its departure from the status quo. Its gusto in embracing the absurd is propulsive enough to keep you distracted from the weaker parts of the movie.

It is not worth diving deep into what the story of The Suicide Squad is because: 1.) This movie just came out and I don’t want to spoil it for people and 2.) the plot is ridiclious because I can say the big bad monster is a killer extra-terrestrial starfish and that’s not even a major spoiler .

The majority of the credit for The Suicide Squads‘s success is in the charisma of its stars.

John Cena as Peacemaker & Edris Elba as Bloodsport

John Cena plays Peacemaker, and damn I gotta hand it to the WWE star again for being able to bring out the comedic muscles on the big screen. Cena was a revelation in Blockers (2018) and his comedic presence was ramped up to a hard R for Suicide Squad. The laughs Peacemaker induces often come at the expense of the application of Bloodsport, played by Idris Elba.

Is Elba the coolest person in the world? It very well be so. God, would he have made a great James Bond. Bloodsport has the most backstory in terms of any of the major new characters in The Suicide Squad, and while the reluctant hero story is often played out, Bloodsport’s “oh for fuck’s sake” attitude makes the come up even better. Bloodsport is not only the leader of this group of Suicide Squad members, but he is the leader in terms of this cast. Every scene with him in it is amplified. He knew the mood and played it right.

Margot Robbie As Harley Quinn

The big ticket character that everyone loves is Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). The Pooh-Bear of the DC universe is on her own adventure for the middle portion of The Suicide Squad and that is a divergence some may love but some may hate. To me (myself and I), I think Robbie must have had some scheduling conflicts and her individual scenes were filmed at various different times from the rest of the crew. The short little adventure she has is perfectly Harley Quinn filled with cursing, sex and violence; the only problem is that it felt more like the Harley Quinn movie rather than The Suicide Squad movie.

One character who I wish would get their own movie or story is Amanda Waller, played by Viola Davis. The Oscar winning actress is a scene stealer and her subtle glares and “don’t fuck with me” tone is straight out of central casting in the best way. I was completely sold when she had the side glare upon learning that Bloodsport had a rat phobia.

Let’s put some finishing touches on on some of the other characters in The Suicide Squad. Joel Kinnaman as Colonel Rick Flag was…fine. Peter Capaldi as Thinker…man I wish they wrote out villain role better. I remember his time as Doctor Who and I love it, but this is nothing of the sort. The lunatic mad-man is taken for a ride he is all to willing to go on. Last but not least, let’s get to the queen of the rats, Ratcatcher 2, plated by Daniela Melchoir. Melchoir does a fine job in the role, but this is the character that I cared the least about. Her forced backstory in the movie is shoed in and no offense to the rodents, but a person who controls rats with her magic screwdriver is a bridge to far.

One final bit on the casting. It was a nice touch for James Gunn to bring in Tiaka Waititi as a small character in The Suicide Squad. These two individuals seem to be kindred spirits among the directors in the comic book adapting movie universe. Waititi made the first Marvel movie that truly bounced off the walls with Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and The Suicide Squad is the nearest DC equivalent thus far.

Both Gunn and Waititi combine comedic breaks within their bonkers action set pieces. In The Suicide Squad, nearly all the laughable parts land, but there are a couple that run for a bit too long. Cena as the Peacemaker was steadily the funniest throughout the movie, however his line about the “Starfish” being a slang term for asshole is an example of when the script went a bit too far. The Polk-Dot Man’s (David Dastmalchian) is a unique character for sure, but the constant references and visuals aren’t what make him so funny. The two best lines he has in the movie are one-liners, adding the extra bit of toppings onto an already established entertaining Sunday. The your mama jokes (if you see the movie you understand) were one, two, three too many. Once is fine.

Despite my seemingly omnipresent negative vibe towards comic book movies at the moment, The Suicide Squad does have more laughs than face-palm moments. Cena and Elba dueling each other for best kills and best lines make for many entertaining moments, the best of which is when the pair are taking down a crew of Corto Maltese fighters in increasingly over-the-top and violent fashion. That is the best scene of the movie in my book; Gunn blends his style of action while showing off Cena as Peacemaker and Elba as Bloodsport in all their badassery.

The Suicide Squad tells the story to screw off and allows you to focus on the characters and what they, and the performers, bring to the table. Speaking strictly for myself, this movie is better than either of the Gaurdians Of The Galaxy movies because they are actually assholes and that is far more appealing that a bunch of good guys trying to do good. Gunn is still young in his directing career, but if he can improve upon The Suicide Squad then he is on a fast track.

Here is to hoping that the next DC universe movie to follow up The Suicide Squad is as strong. You are up Matt Reeves. Let’s all countdown to The Batman on March 4, 2022.

STANKO RATING: B+ (4.0/5 Stars)

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