THE SUICIDE SQUAD – Review by Susan Granger
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.