Writer/director James Gunn clearly has a passion for DC Comics and suicide-mission movies like The Dirty Dozen in this loose sequel to David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (2016) which finds Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) once again sending a ragtag group of villains on a dangerous mission.
The team is comprised of mostly new members which include Bloodsport (Idris Alba), a notable weapons expert who shot Superman with a Kryptonite bullet; Peacemaker (John Cena), whose American patriotism is only surpassed by his belief that killing brings peace; Nanaue/King Shark (voiced by Sylverster Stallone), a human/great white shark hybrid; Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), whose ability to shoot colored dots is much more powerful then it sounds; and Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), who took the name from her father and has an ability to communicate with rats, including her frequent companion Sebastian. Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) return from the previous team.
They are sent to Corto Maltese, a South American country that has recently experienced a military coup, to destroy the laboratory where an experiment known as “Project Starfish” is being conducted. Working together for the first time and having different agendas, the squad struggles to accomplish their goal due to frequent mistakes that make their task more difficult while at the same time making the movie funnier.
Unfortunately, the Squad’s mission causes the alien monster Starro the Conqueror to be released and it begins to control the minds of the Corto Malteseans. Amanda orders them out of the country, but the villains don’t think it’s right to leave like that, especially with the secrets they learn about the laboratory and the ultimate reason for their mission.
As seen with his Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Gunn is a talented filmmaker. As a writer, he has a gift for bringing together disparate characters and keeping their voices unique. Much of the movie’s humor comes from character interaction, and aspects of their personalities become essential to the story’s resolution. Gunn also keeps the viewer guessing. He’s not hesitant in killing characters off and presents plot twists that make sense in the story. As a director, he is great at casting, making so many perfect choices and using a number of familiar faces for fans of his work. He also has a great eye in staging elaborate action sequences, such as the collapse of the laboratory tower, and the framing of the violence as there are memorable moments where bodily destruction is meticulously detailed.
While not for the faint of heart, The Suicide Squad is a top-tier title in the DC Extended Universe for those with a dark sense of humor who are ready for a bit of the old ultraviolence. It certainly earns its R rating. Gunn has already created a Peacemaker TV series, and hopefully will get to create more stories in this universe. There is post credits scene so don’t leave the theater or turn off HBO Max early.