Justice League The Suicide Squad

Review by Rich Cline | 3/5

The Suicide Squad
dir-scr James Gunn
prd Charles Roven, Peter Safran
with Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, Daniela Melchior, David Dastmalchian, Sylvester Stallone, Peter Capaldi, Alice Braga, Storm Reid, Juan Diego Botto, Michael Rooker, Jai Courtney, Nathan Fillion, Pete Davidson
release UK 30.Jul.21,
US 6.Aug.21
21/US Warners 2h12

davis cena stallone
See also:
Birds of Prey (2020)

Is it streaming?

kinnaman, cena, robbie, capaldi and elba
James Gunn takes over for this reboot/sequel to the 2016 anti-hero action romp, relishing his freedom to pack the screen with grown-up language and gore. It's still badly overcrowded, with an exhausting barrage of hyper-violent mayhem. But there's some charm in the characters, and the actors add plenty of sassy banter. Meanwhile, the plot is very simple, pumped up to epic length with enormous effects set-pieces and distracting sideroads.
From their prison home, a rag-tag team of killers is assembled by the ruthless Amanda (Davis) for a mission to an island nation in South America. The first team is a distraction, allowing Bloodsport (Elba), Peacemaker (Cena), Ratcatcher (Melchior), Polka-Dot Man (Dasmalchian) and King Shark (Stallone) to sneak in unnoticed. They team up with A-team survivors Harley (Robbie), Rick (Kinnaman) and a local freedom fighter (Braga) for the elaborate attack on an alien lifeform experiment run by Thinker (Capaldi). But of course the team members wildly unpredictable, and there are deeper conspiracies to contend with.
Every moment of this overlong movie is chaos, all of which is infused with edgy humour and graphic grisliness. Even the quieter sequences are shot in lurid colours with a strong sense of underlying intensity. So the only breaks the audience gets are the extended comical set-pieces, such as a rambling discussion of a late team member's name. And yes, people die in vast numbers, including several central figures. Meanwhile, the effects work is excellent, from subtle touches and seamlessly integrated digital characters to the enormous alien starfish, which stomps through the city like Stay-Puft.

With such a sprawling cast, the actors don't get much chance to deepen their roles, especially those who are obliterated as they're introduced. But there are some terrific character moments here and there, mainly for the hugely engaging Elba and Robbie. Snappy interaction between all of these goons is entertaining, letting singular characteristics emerge like Cena's swagger, Dastmalchian's soulfulness and Davis' vicious streak. And Stallone steals the show as the voice of an always-hungry land-shark.

Despite the general goofiness and one very strong political point, the bristling underlying anger holds the audience at arm's length. But then this is understandable since we're watching a group of people who have nothing to lose and almost nothing to live for. Their shoot-first approach offers amusingly ghastly if problematic deaths, and there are a lot of riotously funny gags along the way. But when everyone is over-the-top, there's nowhere to go, and the cacophony becomes oddly numbing.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 30.Jul.21

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S

send your review to Shadows... The Suicide Squad Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.

© 2021 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall