Movie Review: ‘The Suicide Squad’ Blu-ray

Review by Lauryn Angel

Like many other fans of the comic, I approached David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad with trepidation, hoping the movie would be better than the trailers made it seem. I was particularly concerned with the portrayal of Harley Quinn, one of my favorite characters since her introduction in Batman: The Animated Series. My concern wasn’t so much with Margot Robbie, who is a great Harley, but with the story the film told about her. Ayer’s film was disappointing on many levels, but it did have some great casting, including Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, who pulls the strings behind the scenes of Task Force X, and Joel Kinnaman as Colonel Rick Flag, who commands the squad on the scene. So it’s no surprise that these three, along with Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, make the jump into James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad – which isn’t a sequel to Ayer’s film, but it isn’t a reboot, either. The events in the film are set after the events of Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey but aren’t really connected to those films in any way. However you classify it, though, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is ultra-violent, ultra-hilarious, and far more entertaining than its predecessor.

The film opens by introducing us to the new members of Task Force X, nicknamed the Suicide Squad because of the explosives implanted at the base of their skulls. The force is put together from second-rate supervillains incarcerated at Belle Rieve Prison who complete missions for Amanda Waller in return for reduced sentences. But if they fail to follow orders, Waller detonates the explosive implants. We are introduced to a slew of new squad members in addition to Flag, Captain Boomerang, and Harley Quinn: Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Savant (Michael Rooker), T.D.K. (Nathan Fillion), Javelin (Flula Borg), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastalmachian), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Mongal (Mayling Ng), Weasel (Sean Gunn). If you’re worried about keeping up with all these characters, well, don’t. This is the Suicide Squad – they’re not all going to make it.

The squad is tasked with a mission in the island nation of Corto Maltese – find The Thinker (Peter Capaldi) and discover the secrets of Project Starfish. It sounds straight-forward, but of course it isn’t. And because this is Task Force X, nothing goes quite to plan, with gory, entertaining results. Along with the explosions and dick jokes, Gunn weaves in political themes and family issues – many of the squad have complex parental/parenting issues, with the Polka-Dot Man’s offering the biggest payoff in the final battle with the kaiju-like Starro the Conqueror.

In a movie with this many characters, it’s difficult to do a lot of character development, but Gunn does a nice job developing new characters, particularly Ratcatcher 2, a young woman who can talk to rats and worships the memory of her father. Pairing her with Bloodsport, who has issues with his own daughter that serve as the impetus for his joining Task Force X, adds a nice dimension to both characters. Robbie’s Harley Quinn is outlandish as always, but even she shows growth, particularly when it comes to dealing with red flags with potential romantic partners.

Ultimately, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad blows that earlier iteration out of the water. It’s a little filthy, a lot gory, and a damn good time overall. And don’t forget to stick around for the post-credits scene!

4K, Blu-ray and DVD arrive on October 26.

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