I had my concerns when everyone was drooling over the hiring of James Gunn to direct the sequel to Suicide Squad. The last time someone went from team Marvel to team DC, there was Joss Whedon. Luckily Mr. Gunns’ style fits perfectly with what the first film should have been from the beginning. The Suicide Squad shows why audiences, young or old, prefer some content with an R rating attached to it. Imagine seeing Saving Private Ryan with the gore taken away or Goodfellas with the language gone. Those would be compromised pictures robbed of their artistic value.
The artistic value in The Suicide Squad is to mock itself. Much like Deadpool, the humor relies on bathos. Bathos is a term referring to humor placed in a scene where it’s unnecessary. For instance, a wife dies in the hospital bed while holding her husband’s hand. As she passes, so does her gas. James Gunn is fully aware of how absurd comic books are. Poking fun at DC scraping to the bottom of the barrel for content, you get obscure characters like Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), who, to my amazement, wasn’t conceptualized for the film. Each character outside of Bloodsport (Idris Elba) is a punchline. King Shark is just a stupid shark. Also, probably DC’s foreseeable Groot. Where Vin Diesel was limited to “I am Groot,” Stallone will say “hand” or “hungry.” Peacekeeper (John Cena) is the antithesis of peace, providing the picture its goriest moments.
The one thing that killed the first film the most outside of Jared Leto’s Joker was the pace. I don’t need a 20-minute explanation telling me why King Shark became a walking mammal. Everyone’s backstory is told with one line. There’s no “this is Kitana” cheesy introduction. The characters don’t matter, just the jokes. If James Gunn’s Guardians of The Galaxy had a heart, The Suicide Squad was there to rip it out of its bleeding chest. Attempting to have some emotional pull for the audience to go on, Bloodsport is trying to connect with his daughter. How or why was fuzzy to me. I just wanted to see more bad(der)? Guys, get chopped up.
Well, I did get that until I grew slightly tired of it. Like playing a joke a bit too often, the gratuitous violence might annoy some of the audience by its hundredth kill. Still, it’s endlessly fun to see John Cena execute someone minding their own business. Every character has a moment to shine because who they are outside of Bloodsport or Harley Quinn doesn’t matter, allowing the film not to feel overstuffed.
I don’t see the necessity for sequels beyond this film. Of course, there will be. Like Deadpool, I got the joke after I saw the flick. I didn’t have as much of a visceral reaction to the funny stuff by Deadpool 2 because I knew the brand’s formula. The story for these types of self-aware comic book films isn’t as vital as its punchlines. That can limit sequels since emotional investment in character growth isn’t as significant as the overall off-brand style.
Where the first film fails to find its identity by not going all-in with its maturity chips, this one cashes in by the bucket load of organs. These are villains in the end; robbing them of their language or bloodshed makes it unclear why they’re anti-heroes to begin with. The Suicide Squad might be one of the funniest movies I’ve seen this year, even when some gags overstay their welcome. For that, I think it’s the perfect summer comedy to share with friends looking for a night out.
Do you agree with my rating. Let me know after you’ve seen the film.