Throughout time the DCUE has made some mistakes. At first, they tried to achieve what the MCU had achieved over 10 years and 20-plus-movies, in just 5 years and 6 movies. At best, DCEU could only produce one or two good films which are nowhere near the films that the MCU has released.
DCEU makes a good film like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and then ruins it with another like David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. Again, they made Wonder Woman and ruined the pace with Joss Whedon’s Justice League. But after some time Warner Bros. and DC finally understood that they can’t achieve what the MCU has achieved, so they started doing something that the MCU would never do – making R-Rated movies.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League and The Suicide Squad (2021) are by far the best movies the DCEU has produced and both of them are R-Rated. Joker, which doesn’t happen in DCEU, was also R-Rated and became the most profitable of DC films. It looks like DC has found its way to make the fans happy and not copy what the MCU is doing.
The Suicide Squad
After what happened to Ayer’s Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. decided to reboot the series. In meantime, Disney fired James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Warner Bros. seized the moment and hired Gunn, who has very unique tastes in making films, especially superhero ones.
Just like his Guardians of the Galaxy films, The Suicide Squad starts with a fantastic song by Johnny Cash which introduces the theme of the film without any effort. It’s becoming a motif for Gunn. In his last 3 films, including The Suicide Squad, he starts the film with a purposeful song. It can either help understand the character –Star Lord for instance- or in the case of The Suicide Squad, tell the theme of the film.
*In the first 10 minutes, James Gunn shows that he can direct and write a sequel film without the film being a sequel. The problem most team-based-job films have is that they can’t make the viewer build a connection with each member of the team. So Gunn masterfully uses the term “Suicide Squad” and kills almost every single member of Task Force X.
What Gunn does here has two points. The first is to cut unnecessary characters that were in Ayer’s Suicide Squad. And the second is to show that we will see some fun and nasty action scenes. So basically Gunn tells everyone what he will show to us in just 10 minutes.*
After a little while, the film introduces us to the main characters. Bloodsport, Polka-Dot Man, Peacemaker, Ratcatcher 2, and King Shark (Nanaue). The viewer will get the point that if any of these anti-heroes get killed, the USA and Amanda Waller won’t give a shit. Could anyone else make the Suicide Squad term more meaningful than that?
As we get further into the film, Gunn uses scenes that don’t contain killing and getting killed to tell us a little bit about each character. Talking about their origin, what happened to them or what their purposes are. Now, that makes an action film a little boring, so we add a little Nanaue to make the scenes funny.
Although The Suicide Squad has fantastic characters and script, it wouldn’t be fun without some glorious and bloody actions. Now The Suicide Squad is everything that an MCU film can’t be. Not only is there no censorship, but the blood and gore are so exaggerated that they make our sadistic side very happy. And I have to admit that Idris Elba swearing is satisfying.
Gunn knows that the rules of the real world don’t apply to comic books worlds. So he shuts it off and makes the action as unrealistic as possible, but not stupid. Like when the squad infiltrates the camp, we see some action scenes that no one can do in the real world but they don’t look stupid. Not only in The Suicide Squad but also in his previous superhero films, he shows that he understands how to make a fun and great superhero film, without making it look stupid.
Speaking of King Shark, he is voiced by none other than our great Rockey, Sylvester Stallone. Every single cast member is picked perfectly. After the film ends, try to imagine any other actor and actress instead of those that you saw. Idris Alba as a bad-mouthed British mercenary, John Cena with his stupid ideology as Peacemaker, and of course our beloved Harley Quinn played by Margot Robbie. You feel like they were born to play these characters.
Every character in The Suicide Squad contains a charge bar of something. Nanaue has the funny charge bar, Bloodsport and Peacemaker have the rivalry, Quinn has the madness and the Ratcatcher 2 has the love. Her love is not something that she found in the mission, but something she inherited from her father played by Taika Waititi.
“Rats are the lowliest and most despised of all creatures. If they have a purpose, so do we all.”
Gunn has put that quote in a no-brainer-action-film, but because of its timing and the person who says and then quotes it, it works masterfully. It says that even the rats which are a metaphor for all members of Task Force X have some purpose after all.
But The Suicide Squad is not perfect. The first problem is the Polka-Dot Man character. As much as we care and learn about other characters, this does not happen to Polka-Dot Man. Because the chemistry between Peacemaker and Bloodsport plus Nanaue’s funny moments are all so good, we don’t notice the character that much.
The other character I hoped that film would reveal more about was Thinker. In New 52 comics, the Thinker has quite a backstory. But unfortunately, we don’t see that in The Suicide Squad. This leads to the other issue I’d like to refer to.
Unlike other superhero and anti-hero films, The Suicide Squad doesn’t give us a main villain. *In the end our anti-heroes have to fight a giant starfish named Starro. It’s quite refreshing to finally see a superhero/anti-hero film where Americans are the ones causing the pain and destruction.
Now, Starro works as a double-edged sword. It’s refreshing to see a monster with no higher purpose but, at the same time, we do feel the necessity of a purposeful villain in the movie. Not to mention that not making it clear which one is the main villain – The Thinker or Starro – also adds a little confusion. *
James Gunn once again shows that he understands comic books and knows how to make a film based on them without being cliché. By making The Suicide Squad R-Rated, he shows why someone should stick closely to the source material. The Suicide Squad is not a perfect movie, but it is one of the best that the DCEU has produced. If you want to see some gruesome action sequences with quite a lot of swearing and some anti-hero masked dudes, The Suicide Squad is the best movie you can get your hands on it.
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James Gunn’s Suicide Squad is a terrific no-brainer bloodbath that saves the DCEU and becomes the best entry in the universe by far.