The James Gunn Gang


By: Isaac P. Ale
August 10, 2021

suicide-squad The Suicide Squad [2021]

Film

I wish I could really dig into comparing the recently released The Suicide Squad written and directed by James Gunn with the 2016 version Suicide Squad, but I honestly cannot remember a single thing about the latter. All I know is Margot Robbie was one of the only redeeming qualities and that the film itself was so poorly lit you couldn't even tell if she was on screen. The lighting was the really the cherry on top of a potpourri mixture of crap that was called Suicide Squad.

Of course I'm not here to complain about Warner Bros. meddling with the director David Ayer's vision and the much maligned process of creating a hashtag to get the Ayer cut, because the movie I saw sucked. I'm not going to hypothesize the quality of some hidden movie that WB doesn't want to release, talk about Sabotage Squad am I right or am I right.

What I will talk about is the sheer magnificence of James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, and I mean MAGNIFICENCE!

By the way SPOILERS AHEAD, not like right away but I figure I might as well let you know.

On paper there is no possible way this movie should've worked, not in a million years. It basically shares the same namesake as the atrocious original version from 2016 so there's the possibility of just seeing them as the same movie without further inspection. Not to mention some of the primary characters comprise of Rick Flag, who was so devoid of anything and everything in the original you kinda wanted him to perish, a guy named Polka Dot Man, a woman who controls rats named Ratcatcher 2 and John Cena. And and and the main villain is a gigantic telepathic Starfish from outer space.

I won't touch on the other random characters that we all knew were going to die in the first 5 minutes but they were also very weird.

By all means that is a recipe for not only the weirdest movie ever, but one of the worst movies ever (obviously that's subjective). But here's the thing, that is exactly the recipe that James Gunn cooks with, and he could beat Bobby Flay with that.

Gunn's ability to get the viewer to watch a group of very strange characters, that by all accounts nobody knows anything about prior to the viewing really1, and empathize with them is astounding. It's honestly unparalleled. He mainly does this all through the dialogue and witty banter weaved throughout the film so it is as seamless as it could possibly be. You're curious in the beginning of the film but after a couple of funny conversations between characters in the film you've never been more invested in caring for a giant talking great white shark.

Molding characters and peeling back these complex layers throughout the film is remarkable to watch and I cannot express how much fun it is too. Peacemaker (John Cena) has some great lines that all contribute to displaying his undying fealty to peace, even if it means not being peaceful. But some of Gunn's best work in this movie has got to be the three least likely players in the game that I mentioned before: Polka Dot Man, Ratcatcher 2, and Starro.

polkadot-man The Suicide Squad [2021]

While all the other characters have fun lines and jovial attitudes, like Peacemaker and Bloodsport (Idris Elba) competing for the coolest kill, Polka Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) is a tortured soul. Of course in the context of the film he's a villain so why would we care about a person like that?? Well Gunn's writing actually has Polka Dot Man as a victim of his mother's experimentation on him (there's a solid theme of parental influence in most of these characters) and that he has deep seated trauma as a result. Not to mention these experiments led him to having what everyone thinks is the dumbest power ever, throwing polka dots, and harass or make fun of him. Gunn is able to bottle up all of this emotion and trauma and pour it out at the most impeccable moment and give us one of the more beautiful redemption arcs ever seen. Although the end result is sad, being smushed by a giant starfish is pretty sad, Polka Dot Man dies an avenged man, a happy man. A real change for such a melancholic tortured villain.

Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) and Starro also have some beautiful and heartwrenching moments near the end of the film. For Ratcatcher 2 we finally see why her father, Ratcatcher 1 (Taika Waititi), chose rats as his companions and that is nothing short of a tear jerker. That combined with her commanding the rats towards Starro is an epic scene that plays with all of your emotions, a real powerful moment, executed to perfection (huge shout out to Daniela Melchior, she is fantastic). After the ultimate battle and Starro is perishing slowly and painfully we're given our final line to remember it by: "I was happy in space, looking at the stars..."

Only James Gunn can put together a ridiculous movie like this with a liberal application of blood, gore, violence, profanity and overall weirdness all to have you feel bad for the main villain. Its a wonderful ending and an excellent comment on how we sometimes create the very evil we're trying to eradicate. The same goes for being a product of your parents for better or worse such as Polka Dot Man and Ratcatcher 2, we also see that applied to Bloodsport not only as a son but also as a father (another incredible redemption arc). Or maybe you're like King Shark, and you just need some friends to help you set boundaries on what you can and can't eat.

Overall what we have here is a bonafide blast of a film, I mean a full on amusement park ride of fun. I'm not surprised by that too much because Gunn has done it before, 2 times actually with Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, where he takes a rag tag group of characters and establishes some serious depth to them almost effortlessly. Not to mention he's only getting better at it, so stay tuned for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it just might be even better.

Froth

I kinda nailed this one, but I can't take all of the credit. That of course goes to the store that had this beer in stock. But allow me to paint a picture for you...

I'm in the grocery store, in the fabled beer aisle, looking for my next tasty acquisition. Of course I knew The Suicide Squad was going to be my viewing of choice and with that knowledge I thought to myself, I need something fun. What kind of beer can I get to match the camaraderie I see in the trailers and the bright colors etc.

Then I lock eyes with this beauty from across the aisle, the perfect pairing. What I thoroughly enjoyed was an ensemble beer called the Multiplayer Guild Collab, and what better movie to drink it with than an ensemble movie! The Multiplayer Guild Collab is an IPA that is created through the Washington Brewers Guild as a collaborative effort for the whole state of Washington and its brewing community. This was a special Father's Day 2021 collab that I was able to snag (thank goodness) and while there are about 47 breweries participating in this collab beer I had the honor and privilege of getting the product of Diamond Knot Brewing.

But what is a collab beer you ask??

Basically the Washington Brewers Guild provides a baseline recipe for the participating breweries and they in turn brew the beer, with their own spin. So all 47(ish) breweries have their own unique twist on the Multiplayer Guild Collab but the love of beer and brewing brings them all together. You can read more about the collab on the Washington Brewers Guild site for it!

Back to the beer, this was exquisite. It was bright with a great citrus flavor made up of a good amount of pineapple and mango. There's a great mouthfeel to the beer as well so its incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. Lastly it finishes with that classic bitter of an IPA, but not overwhelmingly so. I loved it and I loved the collaboration between all these great breweries, just like I loved the collaboration of Ratcatcher 2, King Shark, Polka Dot Man, Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Rick Flag and the almighty Peacemaker.

A fun beer for an incredibly fun movie.

Multiplayer Guild Collab
IPA - American | 6.7% ABV
Diamond Knot Brewing
@diamondknotbrew


  1. Comic book readers aside

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