By: Juan Calvillo
Warner Bros’ “The Suicide Squad” is visceral, action-packed and definitely not for children, but a worthy addition to the Detective Comics Extended Universe. Writer and director James Gunn brings his signature style to the DCEU, mixing some lesser known characters with comedic elements to make the villains relatable.
The biggest draw for “The Suicide Squad” is audiences wanting to see which characters die and which survive the movie. As the movie goes along, it’s the backstory for some of the characters that draw the attention from this.
Daniela Melchior, who portrays Ratcatcher 2, is great at conveying her characters’ emotional moments. Melchior’s screen time allows for her backstory to be explored. The way she is able to shift her character’s energy during the movie is simply awesome. Some audience members may find it hard to focus on her since she shares the screen with a computer generated rat; some out of disgust and some out of awe at the rat’s cuteness.
David Dastmalchian is a very close second to Melchior when it comes to the impressive talent that is in the movie. He plays Polka-Dot Man, a villain whose origins are sad when it is revealed exactly how he got his powers, throwing energized polka-dots at his enemies.
It’s a visual delight and shows the attention to detail Gunn put into this movie. But it’s the straight face that Dastmalchian uses when delivering some of his funny lines that really show his comedic timing and ability.
In case there is any doubt the rest of the cast is just as impressive. Idris Elba, Joel Kinnaman, and Viola Davis all do an admirable job as their characters. Bloodsport, played by Elba, is introduced as the villain who put Superman in the intensive care unit.
Elba knows exactly how to play the grizzled ex-military type. If there is any doubt a rewatch of “The Losers,” another DC Comics property and movie, will clear that up. It’s interesting watching this character start up as a total jerk then slowly become an anti-hero.
Kinnaman reprises his role as Colonel Rick Flag. It’s fun to watch the token boyscout running and gunning alongside a group of super villains. In the end it’s Kinnaman’s acting chops that make him believable as not a hired gun but a patriotic fighter.
Finally, it’s Davis playing the dastardly and devious Amanda Waller who really seems the villain of the movie. Watching those around her character look, act and react with disgust as she blackmails some of the villains into her squad is a sight to see.
This is the character Davis was born to play, and her ability to go from conversation level speech to all out drill sergeant in a snap is intense. Warner Bros and DC Comics are doing Davis a disservice by not giving her a show or origin movie.
“The Suicide Squad” isn’t a drama about character and world building, and to keep the action going, Gunn used Computer-Generated characters like squad member Nanaue or “King Shark” and the main antagonist Starro the conqueror.
Sylvester Stallone voices Nanaue for the film and his simple dialogue choices are some of the movie’s highlights comedically. While the movie deserves all this praise and more for its stylish fight scenes and music choices, there are a few flies in the ointment in this fun film.
The first thing that is clear is that while Gunn has brought along his style, wit and comedy sense to this movie, it will inevitably be compared to his two Marvel films in the “The Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. The movies are quite similar stylistically. Do both have fun transitions, comedic one liners, music that rocks and character growth? Check on all accounts.
So yes, his venture into DC movies has proven that if you employ similar tactics to Marvel movies any comic movie will succeed. This is a bit disappointing, but does very little to distract from the level of enjoyment that “The Suicide Squad” brings to the table.
The second thing is that while there are a large number of characters, Gunn seems to have forgotten to give the main star Harley Quinn more to do. While the original “Suicide Squad” had Quinn, played by Margot Robbie, front and center, this film had her doing very little. She had a few good moments but that’s all the audience actually gets to see of her.
“The Suicide Squad” has fun action set pieces, great characters and lots and lots of killing. There are some that may say it may have too much killing. But with the word suicide in the main title, it’s a surprise anyone could say something like that with a straight face.
“The Suicide Squad” is rated “R” for moderate sex, nudity, alcohol, drugs and smoking and severe violence, gore, profanity and intense scenes. The movie is in theaters now and on HBOMAX streaming until Sept. 5.