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Review: The Suicide Squad (2021)

James Gunn’s soft reboot of The Suicide Squad has finally arrived and let’s be honest it wasn’t hard to beat the initial version (be it a studio hack job or not). It is a fast-paced R-rated rollercoaster ride in which nobody is safe! Whilst some elements of the plot were highly predictable, they were still fun to watch unfold and often had a slight twist on them!

Gunn’s cinematic roots run through the film with a Toxic Avenger clip appearing on a screen and Lloyd Kaufman himself popping up for a cameo and it is great to see just where Gunn has come from and what he is achieving now! You can take the boy out of Tromaville…

As the movie opens, we see Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) in Belle Reve penitentiary assembling her new Task Force X and sending them to the South American island nation of Corto Maltese after the government is overthrown by an anti-American regime. Task Force X is tasked with destroying Jötunheim, a Nazi-era laboratory that holds a secretive experiment known as “Project Starfish”.

The latest Task Force X includes old faces Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) joined by newcomers Savant (Michael Rooker), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), T.D.K. (Nathan Fillion), Weasel (Sean Gunn), Javelin (Flula Borg), and Mongal (Mayling Ng).

Let’s just say all does not go to plan but luckily Waller has a backup team ready to go including Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), and Rat Catcher 2 (Daniela Melchior). Also, keep your eyes peeled at Belle Vue for cameos from Sean Gunn as Calendar Man, Natalia Safran as Kaleidoscope, and Jared Leland Gore as Double Down.

As the mission unfolds so do a wide variety of graphic twists and turns that lead the Suicide Squad against a regime, The Thinker (Peter Capaldi), and Starro!

The Suicide Squad is very clever in its story telling with several Easter eggs and cameos sprinkled in along the way (keep your eyes peeled for Pom Klementieff and Taika Waititi) as well as a few call backs added in for good measure. As far as the actors go, Cena stands out as Peacemaker and seems a lot more to offer in that role (which I guess we will be seeing in the upcoming TV series), Dastmalchian’s Polka-Dot Man needs to be explored in more detail, but it is Melchior’s Rat Catcher 2 who steals the movie and becomes the heart and soul of the whole thing. Capaldi makes the most of the scenes he is in and delivers some of the best lines of the movie – sometimes in a very understated way that gives them more impact.

Verdict: 7/10. A fun action and adventure romp that somehow just falls short of my expectations. It could be that I had built up this movie so much in my mind that nothing was going to match it! It is the best DC movie made in the DCEU and Viola Davis delivers an awesome Amanda Waller. Daniela Melchior steals the movie though with Cena and David Dastmalchian coming in close seconds. I think each watch of The Suicide Squad will reveal more details to make it even better!

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