The Suicide Squad review: Wacky humour, gritty fights and satisfying fun

·Lifestyle Editor
·4-min read

Length: 132 minutes
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Idris Elba, John Cena, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Daniela Melchior and Viola Davis

In theatres and streaming on HBO Max from 5 August

4 out of 5 stars

The Suicide Squad is back in cinemas once more – that's "The Suicide Squad", with the article "the", as opposed to the 2016 movie featuring the DC anti-heroes which was titled "Suicide Squad". Why make a sequel that has practically the exact same title? Well, firstly, according to Warner Bros, this is a "stand-alone sequel", which means it doesn't require you to have watched the previous film, although many cast members from that film return in this part. More importantly, while Suicide Squad 1, directed by David Ayer, made a lot of money for Warner Bros, praise for the movie went mostly to the cast and their performances, while the plot and directing were heavily criticised. I guess the studio is just gonna pretend that the first Suicide Squad movie doesn't exist, with this reboot of sorts.

This instalment, directed by James Gunn, carries the same blend of action and comedy that made Gunn's Guardians Of The Galaxy movies such sleeper hits. Except that it's much more violent – the film carries an M18 rating in Singapore for violence and coarse language. Gunn took the job as director on the condition that he'd be able to make the film R-rated, going for a gritty style with the fighting and action. If you're squeamish about gory violence, note that the worst gorily violent action set piece occurs near the beginning of the movie. There are several more violent fights though they're markedly less wince-inducing. There, I hope that helped.

Margot Robbie, Daniela Melchior, Idris Elba, Sylvester Stallone and David Dastmalchian star in The Suicide Squad. (Still: Warner Bros)
Margot Robbie, Daniela Melchior, Idris Elba, Sylvester Stallone and David Dastmalchian star in The Suicide Squad. (Still: Warner Bros)

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), commander of the shady Task Force X, or what's also known as the Suicide Squad, assembles another team of super-villains serving prison time for a covert government mission, offering to reduce their sentences in return for their service. The mission: to infiltrate the island nation of Corto Maltese, which is antagonistic towards the United States, and destroy a dangerous weapon of mass destruction. It's no secret that this WMD is a giant alien starfish monster called Starro who serves as the primary antagonist of the last act of the movie – the kaiju has already been revealed in trailers for The Suicide Squad.

Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn and Joel Kinnaman's Colonel Rick Flag return in this outing. Idris Elba, John Cena and Sylvester Stallone join the main cast as Bloodsport, Peacemaker and Nanaue the King Shark. There's also the Ratcatcher (Daniela Melchior) and Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian). 

Don't expect detailed backstories for the sprawling cast of Suicide Squad members – most of the characters are introduced with one or two lines of exposition – there's no time to explain all their origins or powers from the DC comics.

Much of the humour comes from character comedy from the anti-heroes. Standouts in this regard are Abner the Polka-Dot Man and Nanaue the half-man-half-shark. Abner's hilarious running gag, besides his ridiculous power to shoot polka dots from his body, turns on his serious mommy issues – he hallucinates his abusive mother wherever he goes. As for Nanaue, he has very little in the brains department and his menacing physical form is juxtaposed with a child-like disposition – he's constantly hungry and most living things appear to him as "nom-nom". 

Joel Kinnaman, Idris Elba, and John Cena in The Suicide Squad. (Still: Warner Bros)
Joel Kinnaman, Idris Elba, and John Cena in The Suicide Squad. (Still: Warner Bros)

Among a decidedly wacky cast of characters, there is however a certain emotional depth. For most of the movie, the Suicide Squad merely follow orders from Waller, on pain of being killed remotely by an explosive device implanted in their heads if they disobey. However, a twist near the end of the movie (there are many twists along the way, by the way) leads the team to take a stand that is powerfully redemptive and accords them agency.

Basically, The Suicide Squad is a ton of fun with pretty macabre action scenes.

The Suicide Squad was shot for the Imax format, so if you're a fan of huge cinema screens, remember to go for the Imax theatre option when buying your tickets.

Oh, there are two mid-credits scenes at the end of the movie. They don't contribute anything to the plot of this movie per se, but they are there. The second mid-credits scene appears to be a lead-in to a certain TV series coming to HBO Max, the WarnerMedia-owned streaming service.

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