THE SUICIDE SQUAD – Review by Susan Granger

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The action/adventure/comedy The Suicide Squad is perhaps a quasi-sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad, as writer/director James Gunn (MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy) ventures into the DC Extended Universe, totally re-envisioning the super-villain franchise.

It begins as ruthless government operative Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) recruits a bizarrely diverse group of expendable convicts to infiltrate the South American island of Corto Maltese and destroy Jotunheim, a secret laboratory where Thinker (Peter Capaldi) holds Starro, a giant alien starfish. (Starro debuted in “Brave and the Bold #28 comics: March, 1960)

There’s Bloodsport (Idris Elba), the mercenary who shot Superman with a Kryptonite bullet. He agrees to lead Task Force X to prevent his teenage daughter (Storm Reid) from going to prison for a petty crime.

He’s joined by Peacemaker (John Cena), a psychotic, chrome-helmeted pacifist who doesn’t hesitate to kill anyone who threatens to disrupt peace. Ratcatcher 2, Cleo Cazo (Portuguese actress Daniela Melchoir), is the daughter of the original Ratcatcher (Taika Waititi) who trained rats to attack and kill his enemies.

Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) suffers from a virus that causes deadly polka dots to grow inside his body, and he has serious ‘mother’ issues: “I don’t like to kill people,” he says, “but if I pretend they’re my mom, it’s easy.”

Ravenous King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone) is a digitized human/shark hybrid, and cross-eyed Weasel (Sean Gunn) is another human/animal, quickly killed off during the first skirmish.

They’re joined by veterans Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), T.D.K. (Nathan Fillion), Savant (Michael Rooker), Blackguard (Pete Davidson) and Javelin (Flula Borg).

Problem is: with little exposition and no character development, there’s no emotional resonance, making it more of a grotesque, R-rated comic-book-turned-video game than a movie.

FYI: In the closing credits there’s a glimpse of Weasel waking up and scampering into the jungle. So he isn’t dead, after all.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, The Suicide Squad stumbles to an absurdist 3, playing in local theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.