Before the opening credits appear, this movie does what the 2016 Ayer’s “Suicide Squad” took half an hour to achieve.  A team of convicts is introduced, boots are on the ground, and the action commences.  It’s immediately evident that this is going to be a very different experience.

“The Suicide Squad” is a sequel by definition only, borrowing little from its predecessor except for a few returning characters.   Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is one of them, the stone-cold, heartless director of Task Force X.  Also returning is her right-hand yes-man, Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman).   And of course, this wouldn’t be a Suicide Squad movie without the delightfully insane Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).  Out of the three, Harley’s character has shown the most growth.  Sporting a new tattoo on her back that reads “Property of No One” she is no longer a slave to the clown and is trying to make better decisions… relatively speaking.  Joining them is an impressive cast of criminals;  Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), Savant (Michael Rooker), T.D.K. (Nathan Fillion), Javelin (Flula Borg), Mongal (Mayling Ng), Weasel(Sean Gunn), and Blackguard (Pete Davidson).   And those are just the ones who are supposed to be the “good guys!”  On the darker side of the villain gradient are President Luna (Juan Diego Botto) and General Vero(Gerardo Davila).  They have just led a successful military coup and come into possession of a government experiment led by a mad scientist known as Thinker (Peter Capaldi).  It’s hard to think of another movie with such a heavy cast.  The beauty of this, and of using a number of lesser-known characters, is Gunn is free to treat them like they’re all expendable.  Some of their marketing has warned viewers to not get too attached.  This is one case where the advertising is true.  Anyone can, and often do, die spectacularly.

To say James Gunn had creative freedom with this movie would be an understatement.  Every frame is a visual treat, even the really gory shots.  Comic-like scene headings appear out of elements from the background.  Characters are killed off with reckless abandon.  Animated birds frolic in front of Harley when she’s on a rampage.  The humor is consistently hilarious, albeit dark.  And somehow, in midst of all this madness, without slowing down too much, we learn just enough about these poor souls to actually care about them.

This movie is pure, beautiful, insanity.

Although it’s currently available on HBO Max, I would highly recommend seeing this at your local IMAX.  This movie was shot natively in the Imax format and fills the massive screen for the entire runtime.  A spectacle this big should be seen as it was intended.

The Suicide Squad