Review: “The Suicide Squad”

DC has returned with the third installment of the “Suicide Squad” franchise: “The Suicide Squad,” not to be confused with 2016’s “Suicide Squad.” Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag are back at it again with a new suicide squad and mission.

Harley Quinn, Rick Flag and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) are joined by old squad member Captain Boomerang and 13 new additions. Super Criminals like Bloodsport (Idris Elba, “Thor”), Blackguard (Pete Davidson, SNL) and King Shark (Sylvester Stallone, “Rocky”) along with 10 fellow villains are tasked with invading the island of Corto Maltese to destroy the government lab that is storing the experiment Starro and save the world.

Not even 15 minutes into the movie most of the squad members meet their end in an overly bloody and violent death sequence. The theme of such deaths is consistent throughout the movie, and there are not many fight scenes like in most action and superhero movies. Deaths result instead from one sided killings, where a squad member kills first and asks questions never. Bloodsport and Peacemaker (John Cena) — having the same ability of being good at killing — have a killoff, where they murder the entire military resistance group that was helping Rick Flag without question.

While director James Gunn claims that “The Suicide Squad” is neither a reboot nor a sequel, the movie has some recurring characters. However, “The Suicide Squad” does not have the same charm as David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad.” His film had the thrill of portraying Harley Quinn for the first time in a major live action role and her interactions with other memorable characters like Will Smith’s Deadshot. The squad interactions were one of the few redeemable elements of “Suicide Squad,” but Gunn’s film lacks even that element.

Both Idris Elba’s portrayal of Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Heimdall in the “Thor” movies were stoic and powerful, as Bloodsport he diverges from tradition, playing the part with passion while confined to a one dimension written villian. Much like Peacemaker, he curses and kills so much that viewers become desensitized to the gore, leaving Bloodsport and Peacemaker’s words and actions feel pointless.

King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) is a useless addition to the squad. He just says lines like “num num,” and his character brings nothing to the team’s dynamic or abilities. His slow, incoherent speech drags the movie on even more. He forms what is supposed to be a friendship with Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchoir), but it is so boring without a natural dynamic between the two.

Despite her lacking of any apparent connection with King Shark, Daniela Melchoir’s Ratcatcher 2 was truly the best part of the entire movie. Ratcatcher 2’s friendship with her rat Sebastian was the movie’s most interesting and emotional relationship. As the only character who has any semi-memorable interactions with other villains, she pushes Bloodsport to some sort of emotional reconciliation, but it comes off as just another boring subplot that never gets fleshed out.

The squad member who gets the least attention is Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) who is a nervous mess with more mommy issues than Norman Bates. His entire personality is “wants to kill his mother.” That’s it. He adds nothing more to the entertainment factor than a quick chuckle at his tendencies that Dastmalchian depicts with perfect mannerisms.

Harley Quinn’s character is the same ditzy genius with her normal acrobatics and demented charm that Robbie provides in her acting. While all of the villains in the squads have done immoral or illegal things in their past, the single “normal” person Rick Flag is likable. He has next to no personality or backstory in the movie but he is likable and often the only reasonable person. With so many new characters introduced in a short time span, none of them are completely fleshed out, making you unable to connect to them.

The cinematography for “The Suicide Squad” is on the same level as “Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn,” giving a crisp HD image compared to the “Suicide Squad” of five years ago. Much like the writing, many of the shots had the potential to be interesting but failed. When the squad actually infiltrates the military lab viewers get eerily-lit slow motion walking with rain and explosions in the background to rock music, but the context to the scenes is weak. They are simply walking cool.

With no solid backstory and a static plot, viewers are left desensitized from excessive blood, explosions and cursing, wondering why they spent over two hours watching a pointless movie. “The Suicide Squad” lacks any of the interesting parts of the former Squad movies, presenting only the  lacking, boring pieces. “The Suicide Squad” with the largest budget and the smallest box office turnout turns out to be a complete bust.

Emma McElhannon

Emma McElhannon was the Variety Editor for the Cedar BluePrints during the 2022-23 school year. They aspire to own their own bakery in the future.

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