The Reel Review

C+

Harley Quinn and a host of other supervillains are sent to a South American island nation to stop evil dictators from unleashing mysterious alien technology on the world, in this goofy DC Comics fantasy action/adventure starring Margot Robbie, Idris Elba and John Cena. The film is pretty much a do-over of 2016’s Suicide Squad – think of it as DC Comics’ subversive answer to rival Marvel’s Deadpool.

John Kinnaman, John Cena, Margot Robbie, John Ostrander and Idris Elba in The Suicide Squad.

The film is redemption, both for its lackluster predecessor and for writer/director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), who wrote this screenplay after right wing online trolls dredged up some offensive, decade-old Tweets in 2018 which temporarily derailed his career. This film is wilder and funnier, with lots of Troma-type, over the top, gross out gore. Gunn isn’t afraid to randomly kill off lots of his Suicide Squad characters, and he does so with gleeful abandon and in some surprising and funny ways.

Margot Robbie in The Suicide Squad.

But as fun as some of those moments are, there is a lot of dull downtime in this paint by numbers outing. The story is very basic, and despite standout performances by Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2 and David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, most of the characters are one dimensional and uninspired. Hardcore DC comics fans will likely adore The Suicide Squad‘s subversive and silly humor, but for the casual viewer, this is just a more foul-mouthed, duller mashup of The Dirty Dozen, Deadpool and yes, Ghostbusters.

REEL FACTS

• Gavin O’Connor (The Way Back, The Accountant) was initially slated to direct but found out via social media that he had been let go, after James Gunn signed on to the project.

The Suicide Squad is the first R-rated movie filmed entirely in IMAX,

• Initially, Idris Elba was cast to replace Will Smith as Floyd Lawton/Deadshot, but it was later decided to create a new character for Elba (Bloodsport) to allow Smith to return in the future. Smith had to bow out of this film due to scheduling conflicts.

 

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