The Suicide Squad (2021)

Pure idiosyncrasy, dark themes, indie songs, & bonkers, hard-R bloodsoaked Black Ops glory free of PG-13 & MCU limitations, The Suicide Squad is one of the most comic book films: the morbidly-strange/twisted imagination of Gunn unleashed; 10x+ nightmare of 2016. 8/10.

Plot Synopsis: The government sends the most dangerous supervillains in the world — Bloodsport, Peacemaker, King Shark, Harley Quinn and others — to the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Armed with high-tech weapons, they trek through the dangerous jungle on a search-and-destroy mission, with only Col. Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave.

*Spoilers Marked Ahead*

Official CLC Review

A Year Of Nightmares: 2016

From The Doom-And-Gloom Edgefest Of BVS To Comprehensive Mess Of 2016’s Original Task Force X To [In]-Josstice, The Worst Era Of A Fandom Experience Ever In Cinematic History – Now, Redeemed

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

2016 was a bad year for DC fans: one of the worst nightmare years for a franchise in cinematic history. I still remember the trauma like it was yesterday. Months after witnessing the world’s most iconic superheroes caged in a doom-and-gloom narrative of edgebro broodfests and shockingly-repugnant homicide corely-against the foundational principles of Batman [out of respect for his parents’ murders] and Superman [the beacon of purity and hope] in five films’ worth of arcs forced into one just to rush a franchise, I experienced Ayer’s Suicide Squad. One of – without superlative – the worst CBM’s and major, big-budget blockbusters in years, SS was a mercilessly-awful interpretation of the original villain-to-antihero team. Despite intermittent laughs and exceptions in WS’ Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s role-of-a-lifetime Harley Quinn, it was a badly-scripted, horrifically-CGI’d, messily-aestheticized, weird-villain-choice, poorly-casted failure I suffer insomnolence from to-date reliving the cringes of Leto’s damaged-tattoo Joker in the prison of my own mind. Though ~95% of the movie’s failure rests on David Ayer’s charlatanic shoulders we never quite got the choice of – lacking even the cinematographical prowess of a Zack Snyder or filmmaking pedigree of a Christopher Nolan, part of the blame did go to Warner Bros. studio-execs who came into the kitchen and chopped up [BVS editing-wise], added too much sugar [JL 2017], or just spilled the entire dish in a complete mess [SS 2016] to sour the gen. public on DC movies and preclude the possibility of an MCU-sized DCEU for decades to come. The year of 2021 is the redemption for early DCEU project failures: two chef d’oeuvre masterstrokes born from ignominy: the mythological & 1,000x-improved Snyder Cut of Justice League.. and now a real Task Force X of our dreams from a fandom-jumping director we could’ve never guessed. Pure idiosyncrasy, dark themes, indie songs, depth in characterization, huge DC Comics mythology, and bonkers hard-R bloodsoaked Black Ops glory free of PG-13 & MCU limitations, The Suicide Squad is a zombie kaiju sci-fi/horror apocalypse comic book antihero black comedy political drama romance friendship adventure and one of the most comic book films ever made: the morbidly-strange/twisted imagination of James Gunn unleashed; 10x superior in every aspect to the 2016 version it makes like a joke and evolves with industry-shaking capabilities.

A CBM Like Nothing You’ve Seen Before

Pure, Batsh*t Crazy, Gut-Busting, Bonkers Idiosyncrasy From Lethal Polka-Dots To Bellyflopping Weasels To Ratbenders To CGI Sharks To Apocalyptic Starfishes.. Yet Works By IP, Direction, ’50’s Silver Age Comics Feel

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

From the opening scene, The Suicide Squad is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The movie is pure idiosyncrasy & batsh*t crazy, bonkers, gut-busting bizarreness by a director you can [easily] tell was given full creative-control of the hypnagogic canvas. From 180* puddle reflection circular-pans set to the twangy country vintage-filtered blues guitar-plucks of Johnny Cash to bellyflopping-weasels to lethal polka-dots to ratbenders to talking CGI sharks to apocalyptic starfishes, the movie is one of the most kooky, oddball, capricious projects in the genre and larger prism of franchise moviemaking. Somehow, though, it all works – partly because of its classic feel and existential love-letter to comic books it epitomizes the wacky ’50’s Silver-Age energy of on its sleeve. The film eulogizing genre history through an extremely gatekept cast of F-villains like Cpt. Boomerang, Mongral, Javelin, TDK, Weasel, Ratcatcher 2.0, Bloodsport, Polka-Dot Man, King Shark, etc. only by a patriarch comics junkie having done his homework would even know – and paints every ounce of the nostalgic charm, colorful costumes, and fantastic-ability escapism we go to CBM’s for. This is also bolstered by the possibilities bestowed by its IP and setting. The Suicide Squad was founded to be the B-side of villain teams: the first to popularize the now-ubiquitous idea of a volatile group of villains-turned-antiheroes; DC already has The Legion Of Doom for its legendary heavy-hitters like Lex Luthor, Joker, Deathstroke, Reverse Flash, Black Adam, Cheetah, Sinestro, Doomsday, Ares, Black Manta, etc. and separate villains of huge lore/history like Darkseid, Brainiac, A.M.A.Z.O., Infinite Earths JL, etc. The film takes full advantage of the team’s preponderance of throwaway-feature possibilities from the original comic book superhero brand’s ~100-year history to once again show James Gunn’s herculean ability to take a team of unknowns to the general public and make them as lovable and iconic as the big names. Contrastively, though, here it works 10x better because of the freedom his morbidly-strange/twisted imagination gets – unleashed beyond the limitations of PG-13 & MCU franchiseisms.

The Hard-R Violence

Mature, Blood-Splattered Moxie & Gunn’s Twisted, Punk F***-Rules Imagination Is Set Free Beyond The Cages Of PG-13 & MCU – Perfectly-Matched To A Black Ops Squadron

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

The film is damn refreshing in its mature, adult-focused, hard-R moxie; this is the antithesization of everything the MCU & similar-franchises are, and a treasure to see directors this imaginative uncaged and unhinged. Like the yellow mockingjay we see at the beginning and post-beach corpse symbolizes, mankind may be ostensibly-harmless and like to think we’re pure/good-of-heart-and-soul, but have an intrinsic dark side and subconscious we need to get our feet wet in: objectively-ghastly NSFW violence, sex, and language we find as entertainment. We see RPGs rocket-launch at Corto Malteasean armies, bodies torn in halves, people set on fire, brains, dropped F-bombs, shock-torture, anatomically-correct heart ventricles punctured mid-beats in the chest cavity [having been to Medical School, I nerded out at how impressive the gore’s biological authenticity was], and carotid arteries sliced with flowery splatters like it’s some sort of fairy-tale: blood-soaked glory that fetishizes violence like cartoons in the frame of gory-realism and Quentin Tarantino-esque style, working perfectly with its Black Ops motif/aesthetics. One of the most dangerous jobs in the world, Task Force X is populated by villains and antiheroes who wouldn’t care the slightest about messiness or casualties like superheroes would to make it even bloodier. The anarchic energy of Gunn’s signature punk f***-rules auterism bleeds through on the ultimate canvas for his directorial talents that also highlights the malevolence of TFX’s missions. The film’s big action scenes are absolutely fantastic – especially the opening beach scene that is now the definitive Squad sequence and one of the most entertaining-yet-allegorical, best of DC, and best of the larger world of CBM’s. This is how comic book movies evolve from being safe, formulatized, basic children’s entertainment devoid of IQ, creative majesty, or purpose beyond lining shareholder’s pockets with profits from the latest flavor-of-the-week to anything our wildest dreams can imagine; movies like this are how the CBM genre can survive beyond eras and its fifteen minutes of fame in the 2010’s-2020’s to a lifetime genre of moviemaking.

The Soundtrack & Visual Aesthetic

From 1962’s Dr. No, The Best Place To Stage A Mystery-Thriller; A Dynamic Canvas Of Technical Composition And Practical VFX & [Of Course] Predictably A+ Indie Soundtrack

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

The visual and sound landscapes of the film deserve praise. We’ve always said going back to 1962’s 007 Connery film Dr. No, the greatest place to stage a spy, mystery, or governmental film – as well as in general – is an island. Gunn learned this back in the film that helped launch and popularize his career as a writer-then-director: the early-2000’s [massively-underrated btw, just like here capturing the aesthetic and energy of its classic ’70’s cartoon source material down to Lillard’s perfect Shaggy while extrapolating its lite-macabre to the big screen in the most bonkers (and darkest) of ways] live-action/animation Scooby-Doo movies, and he returns back to the start with all of the directorial and storytelling cinematic skills since developed over 20+ years. We love the Corto Maltese setting that metaphorizes the predator-or-prey natural savagery and jungle of Black Ops in a beautiful palm-tree fringed night island visual canvas. It’s dark-filtered to feel DC-like and Zack Snyder-esque, wowing in CGI and practical VFX, inventively-compositioned in cinematography, time-mark cards, & costume designs, and full of nostalgic technique like slow-born dissolves and rotational camera-pans staging a fight scene in the reflection of Peacemaker’s helmet. There is also diversity of aesthetics, painting everything from classical old-world sci-fi found-footage in the Starro space-missions to the palatial opulence and bird-fluttering fantasy of a princess movie romance to latin flavors in its smoky crime underworlds on the streets of South America. The soundtrack [predictably] amazes and mimics the diversification in a singular motif, ultilizing every genre imaginable from teardrop bluesy guitar twangs to epic metal power-chords to glampop to alternative/indie (Sucker’s Prayer by the Decemberists is one of our favorite meta-picks and K.Flay one of our favorite singers) to acoustic and orchestral swells to club-ready electronic synth percussion in a film that recreates the best part of GOTG 1/2 while evolving.

The New Squad

The Crux And Heart Of This Squad Is The Characterization, Fixing Everything Wrong With 2016’s Original: A Gunn Who – Flaws Aside – Knows How To Work Magic In Making Unknown F-List Villains As Investable & Beloved As The JL/Avengers

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

The crux and heart of this Suicide Squad, though, is the characterization – and it fixes everything wrong in the original 2016 version with clinical precision and veteran prowess. Though his comedy is weird and frequently-juvenile/childish [will get to that later, and here ~fixed by the R-tone], there’s no question James Gunn knows characterization: how to bring complete-unknown characters no one knows or even cares about and make them as investable with depth and charismatic charm as big-ticket heavy-hitters like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman on the DC side and Spider-Man on the Marvel side. We love, love, love how subversive Gunn is with the characters – a refreshing volatility and wild unpredictability you never see in franchises adamant on protecting their cash-cows with Iron Man-like plot-armor to ensure they come back for 10 more films and can never really be killed. Here, Gunn *SPOILERS* kills off 1/2+ the team in the very first scene of the movie: a brilliant bait-and-switch that delivers wholly on his marketing warning to ‘not get too attached to anyone’ and is unheard of in an origin film. The film keeps you on your toes and the edge of your seat the entire (briskly-paced) 2h 15min runtime that speeds by like a Flash race – one of the most active watching experiences in a CBM of-late. Every member of the Squad is magnificently-characterized with breathtakingly-dark themes analytical of a whole slew of impressive, mature topics hitting the core of our deepest fears and insecurities – this is stuff Marvel has & would never have the balls to do with its characters. Bloodsport’s father sliced any remnants of humanity and purity from his son’s soul, training him to be a ruthless assassin from the second he was born and even locking him in a dark crate alone as a child for 24 hours with starving rats as a child-abusive punishment. Polka-Dot Man’s scarred for life by his mother carrying out illegal, ethically-destitute scientific experimentation infecting her own children with viruses just to make them superheroes and sponge off their glory. Ratcatcher 2.0’s father died of a drug overdose – laying dead in the street with a needle in his arm right in front of his crying child-daughter. Holy f*ck.

Dark Themes & Characterization

Every Character Gets Their Own Arc Of Remarkable Depth, Balance, & Dark Themes You’ll Never Find In MCU Or Any Franchise: Drug-Overdoses, Child-Abuse, Moral Cruelty

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

The heartbreaking characterization and depth extends to every character – even f*cking alien starfishes are given complete backstories, intricacy of themes, and full character-arcs. The Squad is magnificently-acted and surprisingly-awesome for such ridiculous characters that would be laughed off on-paper or any other context. The MVP of the entire film is King Shark [aka Nanaue]. He is so freaking adorable and charming, it sets me in a warm afterglow just talking about him – from his introduction (unknowingly) reading a book upside-down to raising his hand just to point out the fact he has one to thinking a fake-mustache would be a disguise that could hide him to making dolls out of C4 explosive mines just to make his teammates happy. He evokes remembrances of why we [& the entire world] love Pokémon by elements of the design and spectacular creature-CGI as well as soul-infusion behind the eyes – and is the Groot archetype, extrapolated far more intelligently beyond a three-word one-trick pony with a full arc of being demonized for looking like a monster and desperately just wanting friends he eventually finds. If there’s anything certain after TSS, it’s that grown-ass adults are going to be flocking to to buy memorabilia and plushies of the lovably-awkward Russian-oaf-voiced antic selachimorphia, voiced nicely by the legendary Sylvester Stallone. On the other side of the flipped-coin, Idris Elba’s Bloodsport is absolutely *badass*! We are diehard Will Smith fans in this household back to his Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air TV sitcom days as ’90’s kids, and he was great back in the original 2016 SS, but Bloodsport is even better as the sharpshooter archetype – delivering every bit of the marksmanship and grit, but with a dope zombie-esque technologically advanced suit of robotic exposition as he becomes the team captain. The character-arc he’s taken on is great too: growing from hating rats by personal trauma to liking them, becoming a better father his daughter can be proud of where once he didn’t care, and finding home in teammates he never wanted in the first place as their makeshift-leader.

The MVP & Comedy

The Film Never Lets Its Darkness Get In The Way Of Experience – Cleverly-Reframing With Black Comedy Irreverence & Dorsal-Fun By The Inexorably-Adorable King Shark

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

That brings me to Ratcatcher 2.0. On-paper, one of the dumbest and most laughably-ridiculous characters in comics history, she impossibly becomes one of the best characterization-arcs and the crux of the entire film. Befit with one of the darkest real-world stories you can imagine in the unspeakable tragedy of losing a loved parent and everything else afterwards while young. A child alone in the world, she gets into a life of crime and finds it hard to trust, be sure of herself, and find purpose beyond lethargically wasting away her days in her jail-cell before finally realizing her huge power-levels and being the one to *SPOILERS* save the team and entire world from Starro’s apocalypse. Polka-Dot Man – as you’ll recognize, David Dastmalchian from The Dark Knight – is another wildcard character of a complex psychological dynamic: how do you grow up with the freudism-reversed hatred of your own mother by her in-essence poisoning you and your brothers/sisters with experimental viruses just to be the soccer-mom of a family of artificialized-superheroes? The film – as clever and diverse in its comedy as in every other aspect – tackles this dark topic with humorous black comedy that somehow makes such a tragic and dysfunctional childhood-development funny. He sees everyone around him as her in times of pressure or fear: that being his cue to do violence when he’s otherwise just a meek, pacifistic, and even sadly-suicidal presence who finally gets his moment as a superhero… before he’s crushed by Starro. RIP. Oh, and the power of being able to throw polka dots that sear people’s organs and rip holes through them is something [again] that seems laughably-moronic and the type of cartoon old comic book fantasy/fun signature of the ’50’s and ’60’s, turned ~cool and formidable. Cena does a surprisingly-passable job acting [though his character is mixed, as we’ll address in-depth later] and there are tons of cool A-list cameos like Pete Davidson and GOTG-veteran Michael Rooker [Yondu]. There are reference castings to the original film like Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang [RIP], Viola Davis’ powerfully-acted iron-clad dark-side prison matriarch Amanda Waller (who gets her own arc of being double-crossed by her team to teach her a lesson in not being so evil), and a 10x-better Rick Flagg for the southern charm cowboy military vet Joel Kinnaman with his own character-growth of sometimes having to betray the country he loves and served all its life when it’s done wrong.

The Qu[in]n Is Back

From Being Weirdly Sexualized W/O Pants & W/ ‘Property Of Joker’ Merch To Feminist Icon Of Character-Growth, A Set-Up Of Every Princess & Fairy-Tale Trope.. Twisted

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

Finally, the queen is back. And by Queen, I mean Quinn. One of the Top 5 greatest castings in CBM history [Reeve’s Superman, Ledger’s Joker, Gadot’s WW, & RDJ’s Iron Man are the others, btw], it’s an indescribable pleasure to watch every time Margot Robbie gets into character – here with a breathtakingly-perfect new comics-accurate outfit playing up to comic book history & classic harlequin red/black colors. Gone is the god-awful and misogynistic ensemble she wore in 2016’s Suicide Squad – she literally was given no pants and sported a shirt that said ‘daddy’s little monster’ and jacket saying ‘property of the joker’… Jesus, how that ever came to materialize is astonishingly-sadistic. Here, she’s not only given real pieces of clothing, but she 180-twists the dark origins of her character and treatment to rise as a feminist icon amongst the top in pop culture by genius scripting – now only behind Wonder Woman. Set up is every trope of classical feminine and princess movies, only for her to pugnaciously-refuse to be put into any box. Quinn leads the charge battalion on the Corto Maltese beach, plays a femme-fatale, escapes torture-chambers before anyone can ever call her a damsel-in-distress, and even kills the prince she fell in love with out of character-growth from the abusive relationship Ayer had her happily-ignorant inside and complex moralization in dark fantasy/fairy-tale subversion transcending the classical definitions of antihero or villain by sacrificing her own happiness for others’. There is plenty of humor as her and the Squad rattle off one-liners, but these don’t talk/dumb-down for the audience like the MCU is guilty of as its biggest flaw. Everything light from PDM’s moms around him to Cena’s awkward dad-dancing to A+ movie references for each team-member like Ratatouille, Jaws, & Psycho to a regular guy Milton for some reason tagging along with a team of bloodthirsty mercenaries unbeknownst to them is balanced by dark, twisted comedy like Polka-Dot Man cheering in his happiest moment before getting crushed and DuBois and his daughter having a yelling-match over his parental incompetence not chastising his daughter for stealing a TV-watch and only being disappointed she got caught.

Rats, Parenthood, America, & Prison

T.S.S. Is A Prismatic Analysis Of The Prison System Through A Lens Of F-Listers & Rats – Emotional Beings Devalued As Worthless By A System As Cold & Manipulative As Waller

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

The team has great chemistry and dynamics – as can be seen in the wholesome bar scene dripping with good-times energy and camaraderie constantly on-display in smaller, intimate arcs by a team of Gunn-led screenwriters who architecturally build smart connections between teammates. Bloodsport and Peacemaker have a cat-and-mouse back-and-forth with roots in toxic masculinity and oneupsmanship as they fight to see who’s the better marksman leading to that final shootout straight out of a Sergio Leone spaghetti-western just needing Morricone’s The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly whistle-tune theme. Ratcatcher and King Shark both grew up alone and without friends or the people they love and want most for a fantastic human-backbone born out of initial horror: Nanaue almost eating her asleep. Flagg and Peacemaker are two different metaphorizations of the soul and morality of America: Flagg being the angel whom holds his own country he served accountable when it’s done wrong and Peacemaker obscuring ethics just to keep peace and serve it no-matter-what like a cowardly pawn. Harley, Boomerang, and Flagg share a camaraderie that feels meta-referential of them being paired back in 2016’s events without slyly ever referencing it canonically outright. Despite all the explosions and pure comic book/cartoon fun over a smorgasboard of genres, though, The Suicide Squad is just as smart as any CBM. The film serves as an allegory of the prison system. Elucidated is how expendable and worthless prisoners are thought of by the system and larger societal preconceptions/stigmas by how coldly-and-ruthlessly a system-synergized Waller sends them as sacrificial lambs to a battle they can’t possibly win just as a glorified distraction of carnage. Also, the callous disrespect for their tragic deaths by onlookers sadistically placing bets on who dies and survives like it’s a game showcase we have little humanity and can be just as ‘low’ as anyone in there.

A Comic Book Junkie’s Dream

From 1960’s The Brave And The Bold #28, The Original Justice League Villain & One Of The Most Sacred In Comic Book History Fans Never Thought Would See Light Of Day

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

The opening scene’s Savant reaction also symbolizes the humanity of prisoners often treated as though they have none; he showcases genuine fear after being introduced to us as a cold-blooded killer of even peaceful/benign birds to show [as a double-metaphor for masculinity] he can still experience emotion and traumatization witnessing his friends be murdered in front of him and being scared of losing his life as we all would in that situation. The vermin Ratcatcher 2.0 controls are also a metaphor for the inmates of prison-systems; rats are the lowliest creatures in all the land like society demonizes and lesser-treats convicts, but are capable of great things and heroicism just like the rest of us [especially when they work together and support one another like in the finale] In a scene of triumph-in-tears for Cleo Cazo born of something we’re conditioned to think is gross, lowdown, and lowbrow (while also symbolically-infusing them with the underdog spirit foundational to the core of blue-collar America). Genius. Gunn also manages to reference the inequalities and systemic racism/inhumanity of prisons. The screenplay brutally paints how easy it is to lock up people like black teenagers for life on something as small as a one-time stealing misdeameanor of a watch if they want to – as Waller threatens to do within seconds of legal footwork on Bloodsport’s daughter. There’s also exposition on the evils of isolation – how it can break the human mind and deprives humans of biological necessities like sex they existentially-crave by how wild the women go when they see Peacemaker and Bloodsport walk in to get Ratcatcher – also refreshing to see men get catcalled to showcase it’s not just one way street and both can and do get sexualized. The film also showcases how dangerous and prison-like some war-torn third-world countries can be – real-life terror by how several nations of this type of mass-intimidation and dictatorial murder with political gains do exist as brave soldiers fight for the equality given to Corto Maltese in the film’s happy ending.

The Original Justice League Villain

A Canvas Of Pure ’50’s Nostalgia Juxtaposed With Kaiju x Science-Fiction x Zombie x Alien x Paranoiac/Imposters Horror: Invasion Of The Body-Snatchers, Them!, Gojira, Alien(s), The Thing, Etc. Brilliance.

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

Finally, that brings us to the film’s major villain: Starro. From the film’s 1960 debut in The Brave And The Bold #28 as the first-ever villain of The Justice League [one of the most valuable comic books of all-time, recently trading for hundreds of thousands of dollars at-auction], I never thought the alien starfish would ever see the light of cinematic glory. This is not only because of DC’s unrivaled stable of the greatest supervillains & team stories from The Legion Of Doom to Crisis On Infinite Earths to Flashpoint Paradox to Darkseid and how behind WB’s DCEU is in movie-numbers, but because he’s such a difficult and wacky villain to portray cinematically. Bringing tears to my eyes by the sight of every comic book fan’s dream villain on the big-screen, the CGI and scale of Starro – as well as his famous facehugger-esque extensions being able to mind-control/zombify the population of every planet to turn into his slaves – is absolutely glorious and one of the greatest achievements in the history of CBM’s. The backstory-characterization and thematic depth given to Starro is just yet another example of how insane the screenwriting-pedigree is on the film: they’re able to humanize and make us feel sorry and empathizable towards a f*cking alien starfish. The old projector found-footage helps establish a classic ’50’s science-fiction aesthetic the villain epitomizes back when we had fun with space epics and the fantasy/horror of exploration – modernized with a ghastly parable of the ethics and crucifixion-torturous horrors of scientific lab exploration gone awry. Imagine being trapped for 30+ years below-ground and run nightmare experimentation on every hour of every day; Starro is thus connected to The Suicide Squad by the fact he’s a relatively-harmless alien creature that says ‘he was happy just floating among the stars’, but was captured and imprisoned by a system ruthlessly and callously uncaring about him that slowly builds his edge and hatred.

One Of The Best CBM Villains

Impossibly Bestowing Characterizational & Thematic Depth On A F*cking Starfish, A Ghastly Tale Of Scientific Experimentation, Mankind’s Rapaciousness Of Nature, & Prison That Connects Starro To The Squad

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

The governmental angle connects to the prison system in the horrors that happen behind-closed-doors and insatiable greed of the people in charge to weaponize, self-glorify, torment, and conquer its subjects. Starro is thus a villain of fantastic character-motivations with every reason to hate & want to destroy the humanity that caused him such pain and suffering under the authoritarian regime and fake-religious institution of the United States govt. & Corto Maltese in context of The Thinker, in conjunction with his kaiju x sci-fi x horror x alien x zombie x apocalypica roots out of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Them!, Gojira, Alien(s), & The Thing making him one of the best villains of CBM’s as he launches an invasion. Peacemaker and Waller are side-villains catalyzing his epic-scale building-sized destruction of the city. My only major problem with the entire film [besides intermittent MCU jokes] is that I wish we had more Starro – and that he was able to be unleashed on a bigger scale for more time than was given to such a classic villain of comic book history. The film is only 2hr15min – while a good thing by how breezily it runs through for easy multiple-viewings, a film that could’ve easily taken another 10-15 minutes to let Starro control an even bigger army-of-the-dead and require more epic-scale team combat to stop. There’s borderline no teamwork in the finale battle at all – each member of the Squad just takes their own singular shots at Starro before Ratcatcher 2.0 *SPOILERS* calls in a rat-invasion to stop the villain entirely with one stab-help from Harley Quinn… as she could’ve done all along, ~overpowering her. Also, while I appreciate the metaphorization as I’ve previously discussed, it negates the team’s actions near-altogether in its most important scene by having them not even be the ones to really stop the big bad themselves and requiring outside help by vermin.

An Epic Finale That Could’ve Been More

The Final Act Is Glorious To Behold In CGI Apocalyptica Mayhem, But ~Underwhelms By Comparatively-Meek Scale, Length, Zombie-Usage, Teamwork, & Rat-Resolution

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

Gosh, I realllly wish we could’ve seen the team take on a zombie army of starfish-crowd villains the size of a football field to each show their own abilities and powers while having to work together ala an Avengers 2012 or Age Of Ultron like rotational-shot. Instead, the zombies are like early-Romero ones moving at the speed of snails and being hopelessly-dumb/incompetent at carrying out any violence or mayhem beyond ideology, merely-stumbling around while Starro wreaks comparatively-underwhelming levels of destruction on a singular city I wish would’ve been a multi-city or country invasion. Maybe they ran out of CGI-funds/budget, or maybe they wanted to keep the scale intimate – but either way, it’s not the full Starro invasion his mythology deserved. After he’s defeated in a ~underwhelming rat-chew way, I also have a problem with the team’s decision to not leak the bombshell report-of-a-century to the press of the government’s involvement in such an evil and dangerous scheme just out of leverage for their own personal gain – it negates the positive character-development of the team in a display as evil as it gets [maybe what Gunn wanted to keep them antiheroes with a hard-anti], removes some of the reason there could ever be a sequel by the fact they have the upper-hand on Waller who can no longer force them to do Squad missions out of fear they’ll leak it, and disrespects the sacrifice of Rick Flagg, who died for no reason now. Beyond the finale’s major flaws, there are some smaller gripes as well. I comprehensively don’t understand the entire schtick of Weasel: the decision to make such an ugly, pointless character so prominent, why anyone would ever think he was good, or even what his powers are in the film beyond licking the glass, chittering around, and bellyflopping to death. This is the type of MCU-like childish/juvenile comedy like the ignominious dance-off plot-twist ending we hated from GOTG 1/2, along with a few dick/poop jokes [maybe kids (& critics.. obviously the majority of them) with the developmental maturity and IQ of a 5-7 year old would find these funny, but there are no kids in the cinema here.. and if there are any <18: you’ve 100% failed as a parent] that tragically break through the otherwise-R canvas.

Two Bad Characters & A Few MCU-Quips

A Comprehensive Hatred Of Weasel & Mixed Reaction To Cena’s Peacemaker, A Few Dick & Poop Jokes Of MCU 5-7 Y.O. Maturity/IQ Demographics Sadly Survive The R-Purge

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

To be honest, I also hate Peacemaker. Cena does [surprisingly] decently acting-wise, but his design is one of he worst in CBM history: a toilet-bowl helmet and glorified polo/shorts ensemble with ridiculous, farcical, implausible character motivations of killing children and teammates to cover up governmental secrets under the blanket copout-excuse of peace. He is, also horrifically, one of the most prominent characters of the film along with Weasel – down to even quite possibly the two weirdest and worst post-credits scenes I’ve ever seen. There are far more positives than negatives and enough epic-scale fun still fringed with darkness and intelligence to evolve The Suicide Squad past ~90% of MCU movies and above the sizable drawbacks, though. The film will also have legacy in [together with its fellow-2021 DC Comics brother-cut Zack Snyder’s Justice league] changing the classical definitions of what’s possible by studios, as well as opening up dialogues for conversion about the slippery-slope of cancel-culture. The insane hype and all-time high praise The Suicide Squad is receiving from both critics and fans lucky enough to see it early in harsh juxtaposition to the comprehensive failure of 2016’s version hated by everyone except Ayer-diehards and masochists who love cringing through Leto’s Joker cackles and Harley’s pantsless escapades redefines the timeline for reboots. No longer now do you have to wait decades or even half of one to actively-reboot origin-debut team projects that fail, as long as you at least get it right the second-time.

A Tale ofAmerica

The Land Of Second-Chances & [Self-Proclaimed] Christian Morality, A USA Cancelling Its Foundations Like ~Gunn; ‘Let He W/O Sin Cast The First Stone’ (John 8:7)

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

Finally, cancel-culture. America is the land of opportunities and second-chances, and it’s one of the biggest filmic reminders of their power with how much this succeeds and blows the original out-of-the-water in every conceivable aspect. The sad, low-life internet losers responsible for cancel-culture went back through a decade‘s worth of old Gunn tweets and posts just to try to find anything scandalous, NSFW, or mixed-ethics to ruin the man’s life, career, and livelihood. They did find some questionable jokes [yet clearly-satire by a famously-idiosyncraatic comedian, with no actions to support them] of racial, gender, and ~pedophilic undertones, and – as the internet always does – blew them way out of proportion to the point of Disney firing him from GOTG, Vol. 3 just to appease the social media mob, even after he apologized for jokes not even applicable today. The act of cancelling a person’s life and career altogether because of what they did decades ago is foundationally un-American and anti-Christian in stark juxtaposition to everything the country proclaims it stands for and religion teaches: one of its self-reported most devout nations in need of a school-lesson. Just like the many characters in The Suicide Squad, we all come from massively-different and oftentimes dark life situations and can grow to become flowers rising from the concrete – but how can we even grow if our stems are chopped by predators waiting to put us on trial for microcosms of transgressions we did as entirely-different people years ago? Didn’t Jesus Christ himself preach ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’ (John 8:7) to point out this hypocrisy and chastize the notion that anyone is perfect? Thankfully, WB [actually doing something right for a change, perhaps just out of desperation to work with a critically-celebrated director having already done a Suicide Squad-knockoff film ~successively in GOTG so don’t give them too much credit] gave him that second-chance (and Disney followed-suit: snakes-in-the-grass at the mercy of 12-year-old, angry pink-haired bloggers on twitter, unable to think for themselves) to give us this top-tier CBM and make a big step towards cancelling cancel-culture and restoring the values of an America founded on the basis people can grow and change for the better.

Conclusion

One Of The Most Comic Book Movies

A Zombie Kaiju Sci-Fi/Horror Apocalypse Comic Book Antihero Black Comedy Political Drama Romance Friendship Adventure Of Fun Contextualized In Dark, Violent, IQ Themes; Glorious Redemption For The Squad

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. Studios

Overall, The Suicide Squad is everything Ayer’s 2016 version wanted to be – redemption for the original team of villains-turned-[anti]heroes by the morbidly-beautiful/twisted imagination of Gunn uncaged & one of the purest comic book films ever made. The film is a zombie kaiju sci-fi/horror apocalypse comic book antihero black comedy political drama romance friendship adventure: pure idiosyncrasy on the most epic & bonkers scale imaginable, and a film that achieves does every one of those at ~maximum execution. The film is the magic of GOTG/MCU 10x+ over in the context of a hard-R, bloodsplattered, mature landscape free from its PG-13 and franchise limitations where make anything is fair-game, taking F-list villains [even more laughable than Guardians with purposefully-ludicrous picks like Polka-Dot Man] symbolized by the rats core to the film’s events and turning them into a team as rootable as the Justice League. The characterization has remarkable depth as it paints a heartbreaking landscape of dark themes from drug overdoses to child-abuse to being sacrificial lambs/puppets at the command of a government who doesn’t care about them beyond themselves: IQ-heavy psychoanalysis of the evils, violence, and dehumanization of the prison system as well as horrors of destabilized third-world countries through the lens of The Squad. In it, the film finds humanity in and develops masterfully with characterization never once detouring into doom-and-gloom and frequently spinning it into black comedy and underdog-triumph for a happy ending still mired in dark maturity. Every team member is given their own arc – and the two stars of the show are Margot Robbie’s continually-perfect Harley Quinn [here, nonsexualized and pugnaciously-refusing to be put into boxes as she breaks through every princess and female movie trope in a journey of self-growth] and the indescribably-adorable King Shark that makes Groot look like a cheap toy one-trick pony comparatively as the film does the comparatively-awful 2016 film. The cinematography and score are incredible, matching the visual flair precedence Zack Snyder established with wildly-imaginative pops of color amongst a dark-filtered canvas of fetishized violence akin to Quentin Tarantino alongside a soundtrack of predictively amazing metal/indie punk flavor to match the aesthetics of its Black Ops Task Force X and director’s f***-you auterism. A love-letter to comic book history full of huge DC Comics mythology, even the most hardcore comics junkies will have to google or walk back through their collections of #1’s and first-editions to even identify the characters involved – especially the film’s major villain I never thought in a million years would ever see the light of day: Starro. Broken almost to tears, the sight of the first villain the Justice League ever faced back in The Brave And The Bold #28 (1960) is enough to send comic book fans over-the-moon – a villain no studio would ever have the balls to bring to life by how bonkers it is and epic the scale would have to be, but one Gunn determinedly brings to life with breathtaking characterization prowess [even on a f*cking alien starfish] reframing it as a prismatic hit-piece and parable on the ethics of governmental and scientific experimentation. Flaws are ~limited to its ability to handle Starro with me wishing the finale battle was a bit longer, more team-comprehensive, zombie-crowd utilizing, and not relying on outside rodentary help, the team’s decision to forgo heroicism by refusing to honor Flagg’s dying wish and let the public know about the ghastly atrocities the U.S. govt funded when they had a right to. Also, there are two subpar characters – one of MCUish juvenile comedy & purposeless weirdness in Weasel and the vexingly-designed/written Peacemaker. These are, of course, just minor gripes in what’s otherwise one of the boldest, wildest, auteristic, and unforgettable CBM joyrides ever made – one like nothing you’ve ever seen before and a game-changer in conjunction with DC’s fellow-2021 Zack Snyder’s Justice League breaking the rulebook of franchises, reboots, & director’s cuts while cancelling the cancel-culture against the foundations of an America built as the land of second-chances and Christianity’s belief that nobody is perfect. ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’ (John 8:7). Pure idiosyncrasy, dark themes, indie songs, depth in characterization, huge DC Comics mythology, and bonkers hard-R bloodsoaked Black Ops glory free of PG-13 & MCU limitations, The Suicide Squad is a zombie kaiju sci-fi/horror apocalypse comic book antihero black comedy political drama romance friendship adventure and one of the most comic book films ever made: the morbidly-strange/twisted imagination of James Gunn unleashed; 10x superior in every aspect to the 2016 version it makes like a joke and evolves with industry-shaking capabilities.

Official CLC Score: 8/10