sleater-kinney at red rocks
music friday: joe venuti and marianne faithfull

geezer cinema: the suicide squad (james gunn, 2021)

I'll start by saying I liked The Suicide Squad. I'll add that I was surprised I liked it as much as I did, because I don't have a good history with James Gunn. I first came across him with Scooby-Doo (2002), for which he wrote the screenplay ... the first line of my brief review was "Scooby-Doo really stinks." Next was Dawn of the Dead (2004), which again had a James Gunn screenplay and which was a huge improvement on Scooby-Doo. Ten years later, I caught up with him again, now as a writer-director, with the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies. I didn't like the first, thought the second was only a slight improvement. But The Suicide Squad was getting good reviews from unlikely sources, so I jumped back in to James Gunn world. And, as I said, I liked it.

I'm not sure why this appealed to me when the Guardians movies, which have a similar feel, are so much not my cup of tea. The Suicide Squad is very violent ... it comes by its R-rating honestly. There's barely any sex, which is usually where the R-ratings come from, so you can imagine how violent it is. The violence is off the charts, but very cartoonish, so while I can understand why some people would be turned off, I thought it was funny (and, at times, inventive). It drags a bit in the middle, and while I never felt like barfing, the attempts at touching moments, few as they were, did little for me. The anti-USA sentiment was a bit shallow and tossed off ... on the other hand, it's always nice to see the USA as the Evil Empire.

Some of the cast were perfect, and (props to Gunn) they had some fun dialogue to work with. You might not think of it, but the cast includes two Oscar winners and two nominees. Singling out particular members of the cast isn't really fair, but I enjoyed the main characters, played by Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, and Daniela Melchior.

It was a fun afternoon movie, at least for me. I'm back on Gunn's side for at least one more film.


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