It was inevitable right?
You take a celebrated Director from the Marvel universe and inject them into DC, there’s going to be a comparison. This outside the comparison which already took place due to both drawing upon the world of comics. And you sprinkle in the lack of consistency your franchise has produced, well…it was inevitable right?
James Gunn‘s The Suicide Squad has arrived and it is the most Marvel DC film yet.
In fact, I remarked to the friend I went with after the film that The Suicide Squad is probably one of my favourite Marvel films now. From the way it introduces itself and says to the audience “we trust you to get it”, to the interactions between the Squad itself, the film is undeniably a Gunn whom has honed his craft collaborating with Marvel. That’s not to say the film excludes everything else from his repertoire. From days on Troma, through to his love for Michael Rooker and insane, monster-like creatures, it’s all there. And the sense of family and its importance, which became a key message in Guardians Of The Galaxy, resonates just as strongly here.
I’ll assume the majority of us felt tricked by the first film. A mess of parts, it’s slowly come to light that it was ravaged by studio control. That’s not to say the consistent sting of DC’s inconsistency isn’t to blame, but you get it. When you let Gunn run the show and call back Margot Robbie‘s ‘Harley Quinn’, Joel Kinnaman‘s ‘Rick Flagg’, Viola Davis‘s ‘Amanda Waller’ and Jai Courtney‘s ‘Captain Boomerang’ then well. The Squad is off to a good start.
Then you add in the newbies.
Idris Elba‘s ‘Bloodsport’, who began life as Deadshot, comes out the better for avoiding this. A joke of similarities shared with John Cena‘s ‘Peacemaker’, who is an outstanding tour de force of patriotism at any cost. There’s Damian Dastmalchian as the insane ‘Polka-Dot Man’ suffering Freudian-like hallucinations, while Daniela Melchior‘s ‘Ratcatcher-2’ becomes the films heart. And the mo-capped Steve Agee steps in as ‘King Shark’, voiced by one Sly Stallone (and that’s only ONE cameo) whose fan-favourite monster spotlight may only be taken away by ‘Weasel’.
It’s a lot.
But Gunn knows how to work an ensemble cast. They all get their big wins and moments. From a competitive d*ck-measuring contest between Bloodsport and Peacemaker, to the hotly talked about Harley’s hallway fight. From Ratcatcher’s maximum summon to King Shark simply being a shark, no one character is left in the dark. Especially not Polka-Dot Man, who often lights up the screen with their troma-like power. This in a story of espionage filled with gory action, which is tied together by the darker side of political power and a “f*cking kaiju”.
It’s a lot but it works.
And Gunn knew that. The audience didn’t, but they should. And they should go and watch one of the most outrageous features of this year. Quickly ascending the ranks, The Suicide Squad stands tall at the very top of the DC Universe. Its humour, story and action propel it past its formers, leaving a trail of confetti as it does so. I’d love to assume this is the new direction for DC, but for now it’s a great film which shows the weird and wonderful side of that universe.
Filled with the strange bullsh*t which makes the comics great, The Suicide Squad is less its former and more its TASK FORCE X identity. Brilliant, bold and bloody; The original Squad could never.
I'm glad the standouts from the original feature survived, as they thrive in a film which is very much James Gunn being let loose.