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The Suicide Squad

Shane Ramdhany is the lead writer for Revamp: The Inner Screen.

Image Credit: DC Extended Universe Wiki

The Suicide Squad is what happens when James Gunn is granted permission to access his inherent absurdity through an unfiltered, adult lens.  In shedding the more family-friendly, tempered humour of the Guardians films, Gunn demonstrates limitless gratuity, gore, and gut busting moments in his revamped iteration of DC’s own ensemble of rejects.

The film starts with an explosive sequence, formulaic of the genre, that immediately establishes the rigor of Gunn’s comedic style.  Following this sequence, we begin to slowly dip our toe into the personalities, and pasts, of our leading crew.  The story is boiler plate in its objective of protagonists tasked with investigating a sinister experiment in an effort to save lives.  However, as the film progresses, we learn that it is less concerned with the mission and more focused on each character’s respective style, laced with symphonies of gore that often elicit laughs rather than nausea.

At this point, the film reveals its algorithm, foregoing any semblance of seriousness for scenes that exhibit persistent fluidity between graphic carnage and boundless humor.  The result of this equation is a production that is cognizant of its stance that it is entrenched in melodic mayhem.  The film’s strength is simultaneously its weakness.  It never truly acquiesces to embrace its serious moments.  When it begins to do so, the viewer is inevitably hit with a punchline that serves as a stark reminder of its self-aware aloofness.  This paradox yields a rhythmic flow that mostly succeeds in keeping its viewer entertained through its 2-hour session despite a meager helping of realism. There are a few exceptions to this rule, specifically with two characters’ backstories that are effectively heart-warming.  

No band of misfits would succeed without performances that elicit both charisma and chemistry.  Fortunately, our leads all attain this feat with individualistic style.  Each member is infused with their actor’s unique swagger, resulting in the viewer’s obligation to latch on to their preferred “hero.”   (I am partial to the innate humour of Cena’s ostentatiously clean, pristine persona).  Robbie is also given ample time to shine and further strengthen the foundation of her iconic, sadistic villainess.  If Gunn’s humor needed to be epitomized through the lens of a single character, then Ms. Quinn is it.  These characters don’t necessarily achieve the stellar, distinct personalities of Gunn’s Guardians but their endearing qualities penetrate the audience nonetheless.

Gunn has provided the necessary reinvigoration to establish The Suicide Squad as one of DC’s finest outings.  This film, as well as Zack’s Snyder’s Justice League, are evidence of Warner Bros. evolving model in refocusing DC’s cinematic library.  2021 is poised to be a fruitful year for both DC and its fans.

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