The Suicide Squad (2021) a (very mildly) belated review

I’m sure just about everyone knows about this film. Still, for those few who don’t, here’s the trailer:

Written and directed by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), The Suicide Squad can be viewed as a sequel to the 2016 David Ayer directed film in that several cast members return for this “new” mission.

Prominent among them is Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) while Idris Elba plays Bloodsport, a character who in most ways (at least in this movie version) appears to be a substitute for Will Smith’s Deadshot. (Note: Both Deadshot and Bloodsport are indeed DC comic characters but, at least IMHO, there was little attempt to make Bloodsport all that different from the screen version of Deadshot).

Anyway, there’s another “suicide” mission for them to engage in, involving a coup in the fictional island of Corto Maltese (for extreme comic book fans, the island nation was first referenced in Frank Miller’s Dark Knight comics and the name was based on a popular -and IMHO quite excellent- European comic book of the same name written and illustrated by Hugo Pratt)…

Corto Maltese GN (1986-1988 NBM) comic books

The original Suicide Squad film was mostly derided. It was heavily tampered with by the studio (director David Ayer claims there is a “Ayer Cut” of the film in existence, but unlike Zack Snyder, he doesn’t appear to have the fanbase necessary to get this movie released, as opposed to the recent release of Snyder’s Justice League). Nonetheless, the film did introduce the world to Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and I suppose did well enough for Warners to green light James Gunn’s version of the film.

The film is quite violent but for the most part humorous, not taking the multiple -and often quite graphic- deaths all that seriously and… I dunno. I had problems with Mr. Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy because he did something similar there, trying to inject humor when the body count is incredibly high and its something that has rubbed me the wrong way about his works.

That’s just me, though.

The film worked in spurts, introducing a mostly new group of “villains” on their mission.

Perhaps most prominent among the mostly new cast is John Cena’s Peacemaker, who as most out there know went on to appear in a HBO Max series featuring his character. Sadly, the character isn’t anything like the original Charlton Comics incarnation of the character…

The Peacemaker v3 #2 - Kindle edition by Charlton Comics. Reference Kindle  eBooks @
I bought this comic waaaaaaay back when it was originally released and still have it boxed up somewhere in my collection!

Having said that, the reality is that the original version of Peacemaker lasted only a few issues before being cancelled and since DC comics bought the Charlton characters they’ve had him appear as more of a lunatic, which I suppose is what Gunn sorta/kinda was going for. I’m a few episodes into the HBO Max Peacemaker series and I have to say -SPOILERS!- I like it more overall than The Suicide Squad film. Further, Cena’s Peacemaker is much different in the show versus what he was in the movie, where he was basically a one-note moron who said a few inappropriate things before revealing what he was about in the movie’s climax.

I’ve written a lot and I suppose the bottom line for me is the movie is a decent enough time killer. Funny in spots, excessively bloody at times, but entertaining enough even if it never totally “wowed” me.

However, there is one element of the movie that affected me in a very negative way and… it’s quite personal.

The movie’s climax involves a lot of buildings being destroyed and falling to the ground and, while The Suicide Squad is far from the first film to feature such destruction (see the Godzilla films, for instance), it was the first such film I saw after what happened at Champlain Towers and the loss of my parents.

I don’t want to keep delving into this particular tragedy but in watching those last minutes of The Suicide Squad, I started feeling uncomfortable. Anxious, in fact. And I realized right away watching this destruction was taking me back to that tragedy. In a way, it was like getting a minor case of PTSD and… I didn’t like it.

Again, I know this is unique to me and I doubt many others will feel this.

But it is a scar I bear and one that, clearly, is a long way from healing.