starring Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Viola Davis
written and directed by James Gunn
by Walter Chaw James Gunn's The Suicide Squad is weird. It's explosively, hilariously gory, profane, ridiculous, and, best of all, lawless. As much as I love Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, the darkness--the grittiness--he brought to the DC Universe has proven difficult to shake due to its commercial success. In contrast, The Suicide Squad looks and acts a lot like the Adam West "Batman" TV series, a piece fully embracing the elasticity of both its mediums and, though it seems silly to say, one bracingly unafraid of literal colour. I also felt this way about Gunn's still-dour-but-colorful-by-MCU-standards Guardians of the Galaxy--but this film feels very much like something, from character and production design down to the choice of members for the titular squad, allowed to be whatever it was going to be, damn the torpedoes. Have I mentioned that it's weird? It's exquisitely strange, and not just because of the obvious ways in which things are strange, but because it says the bad guys are the colonial-/meddling-minded United States, the military-industrial complex is reliant on the enslavement of the carceral state, and the best test of manhood is not facility with firearms and sociopathy. A billion-dollar IP that isn't trying to skate the middle line of absolute, frictionless equivocation? Weird, right?