Reflector Reviews: The Suicide Squad

This week on “Justin Hall At The Movies,” I’ll be reviewing Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, and John Cena as they’re dying to save the world in “The Suicide Squad.”

The Suicide Squad is a standalone sequel to the 2016 film and while many considered it to be a colossal letdown, I’m happy to report this one under writer/director James Gunn of Guardians of the Galaxy fame is the over-the-top spectacle we should’ve gotten in the original.

Margot Robbie returns as Harley Quinn, but this time she’s got a new squad at her side in the form of Bloodsport, a mercenary (Idris Elba); Peacemaker (John Cena); a jingoistic killer; Ratcatcher (Daniela Melchior); a criminal who can control rats; Polka Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) whose suit is covered entirely in polka dots; and there’s Nanaue/King Shark (Sylvester Stallone); a human/shark hybrid.

Together, they’re under the services of Amanda Waller and Col. Rick Flag (Viola Davis and Joel Kinnaman, reprising their roles from the first film) on a mission to destroy a laboratory that is creating a gigantic alien and the operation is known as Project Starfish.

One of the significant improvements Gunn uses here is the amount of time we get to know the characters and he gives them equal amounts of time to shine. Robbie is fine doing her crazy girl shtick, but even Cena and Stallone get fleshed out in such a way that they’re not farcical. It’s a surprisingly impressive balancing act.

And now let’s get into the violence and humor. The original was criticized for wimping out by going for the PG-13 rating. Well, fans won’t be disappointed as the violence is so ridiculously comedic and brutally inventive that it somewhat makes the Deadpool movies looks quaint by comparison. This is the closest we’ll get to see what it would look like if Tarantino was given the chance to direct a mainstream comic book movie.

Ever since they started with Man of Steel, the DCEU has had an up-and-down track record. For every Wonder Woman, there was Batman v Superman. Now I can say that the series has improved with a lot of outings and this effort may be one of the best.

It’s self-conscious without giving too much of a wink at the audience. It gives us a plausible story and memorable characters who earn their screen time and overall, it’s just a bloody good time to close out the summer.

Grade: A-

(Rated R for strong violence and gore, language throughout, some sexual references, drug use and brief graphic nudity).