The Suprising Originality of “The Suicide Squad”

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Credit: Warner Bros. Official Poster

“The Suicide Squad” poster showcasing Harley Quinn.

*Be advised that this movie is rated R*

“Suicide Squad,” directed by David Ayer in 2016 was disappointing and uninspired to say the least. That first movie experience may dissuade viewers from having any desire to see “The Suicide Squad,” directed by James Gunn that came out just this year, but this new one far outshines it’s counterpart. Gunn’s newest film is a bright, comic book-like ensemble that is sure to appease any DC fan. It contains a unique and captivating cast that includes John Cena, Viola Davis, Pete Davidson, and of course Margot Robbie. This film was a much needed boost for the DC Franchise, proving that they can compete with Marvel.
Overall, I loved this movie. I was very pleasantly surprised since I didn’t set any expectations for it. I found that I was very engaged with the plot from the get-go as the beginning scenes just throw you into the movie without much context. This could be a problem with other movies, but here it really fits that fast pace that superhero movies usually have. I felt like I didn’t have any time to guess what might happen next so I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I went through so many different emotions and opinions which made it almost overwhelming in a good way. There is no time to stop and think about the emotion in each and every scene because it changes up so fast. I switched from shocked to sad to happy and back to shocked again. There is also some pretty good humor and banter from Peacemaker and King Shark making it have more of a lighter tone which I didn’t expect.
The main plot involves the U.S. government sending a group of it’s most dangerous villains and convicts to destroy a lab created monster on the island of Corto Maltese. We follow the characters as they hike through the island and try to get to the monster called, “Project Starfish.” They have to constantly evade the government and get into all sorts of trouble. This plot seems very odd and unique but it is very easy to follow along with and is concisely laid out. I didn’t find myself to be confused at any point. The group was made up of: Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Polka-dot man, Rat catcher, King Shark, and Harley Quinn. Every character is extremely well developed by the end and had some major problem or character flaw that has been addressed and resolved. I felt like I had an emotional bond to the group and loved how they were all misfits at first but ended up fitting in with each other. King Shark’s development particularly stood out to me because he’s this giant shark man who eats people and based on appearance is quite terrifying. He is half man half shark with several rows of sharp teeth, but all he wants to do is make friends and feel important to the team. There is a particular scene where I was very close to bawling in the theater at. King Shark is definitely the last character I would’ve expected to cry over but there I was.

The tone and editing feels just like a comic book. There’s bright splashes of color, over exaggerations, humor, and punchy movements. There were lots of bright primary colors, common in comic books, whether that be in the costumes, settings, or on screen text. The tone was very in-your-face and funny but the plot was still serious and added danger. Something particularly cool to me was that when they signified a change of scenery or a big plot moment they would manipulate the objects on screen to become sort of a title for the next “chapter” of the movie. Another amazing touch to the movie was the animated bright flowers that appeared on screen when Harley Quinn was attempting an escape. It was visually stunning and really amplified the whole “good for her” moment.
The cast all succeeded in fitting this comic-book tone and were all believable. John Cena as Peacemaker really shocked me as I’ve never seen him as a serious actor before. He does a great job and still has his moments where he gets to be funny, but there was no point where I doubted his ability to play the character. Margot Robbie does an amazing job as always with Harley Quinn. This seems like her best portrayal of the character as she isn’t really held down by other characters and she gets to play a seemingly happy Harley.
My only complaint is that the length of the film sort of drags the film. The fast pace throughout the entire movie makes it sort of exhausting at the end. I found myself thinking “When are these characters going to get a break?” and wanted the big fight and climax at the end to just be resolved already. It is also pretty gory as there are a ton of deaths that happen in unique ways such as a body being ripped in half. This can be a good or bad thing depending on the viewer, but I think it added to the shock factor. It is rated R for a reason. However, it is worth it to watch through these parts as the very end of the fight was surprising.
This movie does not take itself all too seriously and I think that was a good choice. It just seems like the characters are having fun causing chaos and carrying out a mission at the same time. It didn’t need to have an extremely structured storyline or intensely serious dialogue to make me want to keep watching. It has it’s little flaws but I recommend it to anyone willing to give DC a second chance at portraying the Suicide Squad. I rate it 4.5/5 paws!