- THE red CORNER REVIEW
red Corner Review September 25th, 2021
"A rag tag bunch of prisoner misfits got to save the world even though no one likes them"
Trailer left me cold
THE GOOD: Weasel
THE BAD: Harley Quinn
RATING: 5 / 10
see it if you like: Diet James Gunn, John Cena movies, starfish, Guardians of the galaxy humour, lame superheroes, Harley quinn, non sequel re-do]
It is quite difficult to talk about this film without making reference to its sibling the Ayer written/directed other film. Director James Gunn has said this film isn't a sequel or a prequel or even a reboot to the other . It just sits there along the other version. I admit I had fairly low expectations for this film, they were medium but tumbled after viewing the trailer. The other film had it's flaws for sure. However there were things I enjoyed. While I also enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy, I wondered what James Gunn would do- given free reign. I thought the title tongue in cheek at first, but now having seen the film, it feels almost arrogant.
The film opens well enough, we meet a rag tag bunch and see them head off to the beach on a mission. from the last film we have Harley and Boomerang and some new people which we get a brief intro to. As a surprise most of the people with absolutely crap powers are killed fairly quickly. including Boomerang. And tough guy bird killing Savant (Guardians Veteran Michael Rooker) runs away! unexpected. I actually was quite sad when creepy weasel died cause no one asked if he could swim. Got to feel sorry for the person who didn't fill in the risk assessment!! We learn that this group was just a decoy for a second group landing elsewhere with an alternate mission. Unexpected! So ok I think- this could be interesting. Three or four unexpected things in the opener. Not bad Mr. Gunn not bad!
Harley in this film was disappointing. I hated the scenes with Harley Quinn and the dictator. While Harley was undoubtedly the big success after Ayers film, in this one she is very two dimensional and flat. Yes she has a different look, but to me that was all that happened with Harley, all look and no substance. Some of the things I have read since I saw the film talk about the chemistry with Bloodsport, being like a comedy duo, but if you ask me it seemed that James Gunn didn't know what to do with Harley Quinn. He had more thought and feeling for Weasel and his storyline than Harley. There was a nice shot when Harley is escaping, but nothing I feel I haven't seen before or seen done better. I feel that Gunn leaned a little too heavy on his guardian connections here with the different cameo's and casting. Pity he didn't bring along some of the Guardians magic too!
I suppose this is part of the problem. Do you have a frame of reference for these characters because you saw the other movie? or don't you? If they don't then Gunn doesn't spend enough time really getting into what its all about. So to what extent is your audience familiar with this DC world in which the suicide squad inhabit? I didn't really think about it, but yes I think there is a presumed frame of reference that you know some of these characters. You know what Waller was doing in that prison and you know some of what happened the last time. However with all the heroes we have been introduced to now, did no one care about the giant starfish to come help? Superman could have easily sorted that dude right out. But do superhero's only help on American Soil now? What about Aquaman what was he at? My point here is that Gunn doesn't really explain this, but Ayer I feel did.
I thought polkadot man was fairly ridiculous, but surprisingly warmed to the idea of making something so ridiculous interesting. He didn't have a lot of screen time but was by far the most interesting character wise. I was pleased that his story arc was completed within the timeframe of the film.
Not-deadshot-but-deadshot charachter bloodsport was probably the most confusing. I love Idris Elba and rate him highly as an actor, but for me the charachter was too close to Will Smith's Deadshot to really make him standout. Even the same plot about saving his daughter bringing him on board for the squad. No one else was interesting or memorable. You can argue that this was meant to be the point. I didnt really get the point of the thinker as a baddie, and for me, it played as a Dr Who hommage to Mr. Capaldi. Rat catcher 2 was meant to bring some emotion to the film but she was in fact just annoying.
I really dislike John Cena. Like really. I have no idea how the man gets so much work. He is just odious, robotic and clunky on screen. For me his best moment was in the film Trainwreck and there, for me, he met his peak. He wants so badly to be the rock Dwayne Johnson but he has all the charisma of.... an actual rock. He was predictable and flat as Peacemaker. Who will get the job done at all costs. The fight between Flag and Peacemaker was also of no interest to me, though I was a little surprised that both died. As did polkadot man. But that was fine for me - wont miss them!
The best scene in the film was when they ask did no one check if weasel could swim. The child killing weasel is revealed to be alive at the end of the film. The second best scene was when they move to rescue flag from the camp, only to find this is the camp of the freedom fighters and they have killed most of them. Genuinely funny, and Blue corner and I found this scene far more amusing than the rest of the cinema it seems. Dark humour for you!
Much like it's sibling film, the first half of this film was were there was anything of interest. Good-ish first half. In the second half we descend the dark slippery stairs of sillyness. The alien starfish escapes its confines and becomes hell bent on zombie manipulation and mind control. This sentence makes it more interesting than it actually was to watch. Now I am aware, that Gunn decided to choose a deliberately odd baddie from the comics. But what this lot was meant to do about said deadly starfish, well it seemed rather hopeless. However amazingly with an eye swim from Harley Quinn and some rats. They save the day. I feel sorry for the one who clunked Viola Davis on the head. I guess in this version she doesn't gun down her employees because they know too much.
On balance, and to my great surprise I prefer the Ayer version!
BLUE CORNER'S RATING FOR The Suicide Squad (2021): 5 / 10