THE SUICIDE SQUAD (15, 132 minutes)
If, like me, you thought the original Suicide Squad film was a bit of a mess and the subsequent Birds Of Prey an utter anarchic hot mess, then believe me, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
But for once, that’s not a bad thing, although you do need to already be clued up to what’s going on here because director and screenwriter James Gunn wastes absolutely no time on exposition or explanation.
Gunn has put together a rollercoaster ride of wisecracking expletive-laden hi jinks and cartoon ultra violence that works from the premise that everyone who buys into this adventure is a big kid, either at heart or literally.
And I must admit, that I am one of those big kids because this squad outing is a riot, even if many of the characters could easily be interchanged with Gunn’s other team of anti-heroes, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – not least King Shark (voiced, if that can be said, by Sylvester Stallone) and alien tree creature Groot.
Beyond the most general summary of super convicts being sent on covert missions for the US government with explosive charges in their necks on the promise of having 10 years knocked off their sentences (if they survive, of course, which is unlikely, hence the name), it would spoil the fun (and above all, this is fun).
All I will give away is that former Doctor Who Peter Capaldi appears with a bunch of valves sticking out of his head and there’s a giant alien starfish (watch out for one of the film’s funniest lines from John Cena’s Peacemaker) involved that reminds me of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.
This is a hilarious ensemble piece led by Bloodsport, a special forces-trained sure-shot crook, although character names mean little because it’s Idris and everyone knows Idris rocks.
Many others – including Jai Courtney, Nathan Fillion, Pete Davidson and Michael Rooker – make up the numbers, or should I say body count in most cases.
But let’s not kid ourselves, there’s one person without whom the squad just wouldn’t be the squad.
Harley Quinn, back in high security incarceration over what she describes as a road rage incident, is so much more than your standard comic book psychopath. Margot Robbie gives her layers. She’s deadly, unpredictable, dangerous, damaged, reckless, tattoo-faced scary, vulnerable, heroic, likeable and one can only hope that she continues to revisit The Joker’s former beau, especially if she’s given vibrant comedic material like this.