If you’re a DC Comics fan, there’s a decent chance you’re already well aware of the villain of the DC Extended Universe, Harley Quinn. She’s the former sidekick to Batman and one of the most beloved characters in the entire DC universe. So, when the studio started working on the first DC Extended Universe film, Suicide Squad, there were high hopes that Harley Quinn would lead the film.

Director David Ayer has been getting a lot of press for his hugely anticipated ‘Suicide Squad’ (2016). This film stars Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Cara Delevingne, and Joel Kinnaman. The movie is set for a release on August 5th, 2016. In this review, we will analyze and discuss the movie’s plot, characters, and themes.

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The Suicide Squad, directed by James Gunn, is a sequel and remake to 2016’s critically panned but commercially successful Suicide Squad. It promises so much fast-paced irreverence that it’s often difficult to tell whether it’s even meant to be a film. Gunn’s vision appears willing to remain in a continuous state of rug-pulling because of its incessant profanity, ridiculous body count, and mean-spirited sense of comedy. There’s a lot of enjoyment to be had, but little progress to be achieved. It carelessly murders off apparently important people, and it revels in upending heroic superhero ideals with such fervor that it may become tedious. The tastiest fruit, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily the finest.

It’s difficult to dislike a film in which Sylvester Stallone plays a gigantic talking shark that pretends to be intellectual by reading a book. He mumbles cheerfully, holding the book upside down, “Book read…so clever, me.”

The Suicide Squad, on the other hand, was created with the intention of subverting noble superhero values. This is a vicious band of murderers made up of several supervillains that are presently incarcerated. They’re allowed out on truly unique, secret operations at the expense of ruthless government official Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), and they don’t fight because they’ve been bribed and blackmailed, and they also have explosives embedded in their necks that Waller will detonate if they don’t follow orders. They fight because they are paid to assassinate people. They swap sides from time to time since they are, after all, bad people at heart. It’s for this reason why the Suicide Squad comics are so popular. They’re often delightfully unpredictably tasty.

It’s also a great movie idea since the finest interpretations of the genre live or die on the quality of its villains, and this notion revolves entirely upon villains. It felt well-timed back in 2016, when Marvel’s colorful hokeyness had become self-important and DC’s grim earnestness had been boosted by films like Batman v. Superman. The first Suicide Squad film, directed by David Ayer, received a lot of negative feedback from reviewers. It featured some fun moments, but movie was clear that it had been chopped to shreds in post-production. According to rumors, the picture was recut by a trailer-making firm, which may explain why so much of it seemed incomplete. Ayer has mostly abandoned the initiative since then. It’s easy to see how his street-level tough-guy sensibility wouldn’t have delivered the R-rated but yet infantile geekery that DC and Warner Bros. were looking for. Gunn, who began his career working in salt mines and created one of Marvel’s most entertainingly crazy and colorful blockbusters with the original Guardians of the Galaxy, is clearly a better match for this material than Ayer.

Despite its tonal shifts, the new Suicide Squad features some of the characters from the previous film, including Davis’ Waller, ostensible team leader Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Australian psychopath Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and, most importantly, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), who has since starred in the well-received Birds of Prey. Bloodsport (Idris Elba) and Peacemaker (John Cena), both skilled marksmen and assassins, as well as the Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) and Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), two of the most unusual superhumans, join them this time. She controls swarms of rats while he throws deadly polka dots. The minor villains include T.D.K. (Nathan Fillion), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), and Savant (Michael Rooker). Our heroes must invade the fictitious island country of Corto Maltese, which has just had a violent revolution, and penetrate an ancient stronghold in order to destroy Project Starfish, a secret extraterrestrial experiment.

Of course, the narrative isn’t really the point here, and anytime the picture tries to cope with a storyline, you can feel it sag. Gunn, who also wrote the script, doesn’t seem to care whether these characters are grounded in anything like reality. Perhaps it’s because he struggles with honesty whenever the situation calls for it: When Bloodsport and his teenage daughter have an early jail discussion that seems to be meant to create genuine reward for the character, it’s hard not to notice scriptwriter Gunn throwing his hands in the air. Meanwhile, the film’s numerous revelations and betrayals in the last act are so predictable that you’ll forget about them even as they happen.

The Suicide Squad succeeds best when director James Gunn goes all out with the bawdy humor and over-the-top gunplay. He is, without a doubt, a stylish filmmaker. He has a flair for visual punchlines that allow him to get away with his more obscene behavior. He has a flair for visual jokes that make even his most terrible acts tolerable. Let me give you an example. A guy who violently kills a bird gets his head blown off early in the film, and Gunn takes sure to cut to a similar kind of bird landing on the man’s wounded neck and picking a chunk of torn flesh. This was also someone we liked. Bloodsport and Peacemaker compete for the most killings in a following slaughter, which includes superfluous background comedy (dudes exploding, getting hacked to pieces, being electrocuted, etc.) Like Steven Spielberg delivering a dick joke, Gunn’s talent for filthy comedy is brilliantly paired with a very confident sense of style.

However, a little of this stuff goes a long way, and it’s possible that The Suicide Squad is both too excellent and not good enough at the same time. The film has many memorable scenes and phrases, yet none of them seem to sum up to anything. The absence of narrative drive and compelling character journeys starts to wear you down. After a time, even the jokes grow old. The Polka-Dot Man, played by Dastmalchian with a tight, soft-spoken eeriness, has the greatest line in the movie: “I don’t like to murder people, but it’s easier if I pretend they’re my mom,” he says early on, and it’s a frightening, comedic relief, brilliantly thrown off. Gunn, on the other hand, isn’t finished yet. After then, the guy goes on to explain why he despises his mother. When something like this occurs for the first time, it’s a lot of fun. After the third time, it seems like a joke being hammered into the ground. There is a lot of comedy and elegance in the picture, but not much more. That may be adequate for some individuals.

RATING: 5/10

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