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Published On: July 30, 2021 03:01 PM NPT By: Associated Press

Director James Gunn assembles his perfect ‘Suicide Squad’

Director James Gunn assembles his perfect ‘Suicide Squad’

Could a scoundrel DC Comics character like Peacemaker ever be on the same level as Superman? How about Polka-Dot Man? Or Ratcatcher?

The man who made Rocket Racoon, Groot and Star-Lord household names thinks so. James Gunn can’t help it: He loves an outsider. It’s the reason why when offered the chance to make a movie with any DC character he wanted, he chose not Superman but the misfits of “The Suicide Squad.”

Nevermind that there was a terribly reviewed “Suicide Squad” movie released just five years ago. Gunn, a lifelong fan of the good-for-nothing supervillains, had his own vision: It would be a mash-up of genres and pay homage to 1960s war capers. He’d dust off some obscure, deep cut DC supervillains that no casual moviegoer would ever be expected to know and get a giant alien starfish villain named Starro in the mix.

Warner Bros. said yes. And it wouldn’t have to be PG-13 either.
Though bold, it’s not entirely surprising: Not only had Gunn turned the “Guardians of the Galaxy” into A-list Avengers, he was also at the time ( suddently and briefly ) a free agent. While David Ayer’s 2016 “Suicide Squad” might have been a critical disaster, it was still a financial hit. In other words, a second movie, regardless of whether it was a sequel, a reboot, a re-do, or none of those things (which this is) was not out of the question.

Yes, it features some of the same actors playing the same characters, like Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag, Viola Davis’s Amanda Waller and Jai Courtney’s Boomerang. But as Robbie said, Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad,” which debuts in theaters and on HBO Max on Aug. 6, is “just a different thing,” even if it does essentially bear the same name.

Otherwise the similarities are few. Gunn’s vision is irreverent, sincere, bombastic, vibrant, unexpectedly emotional and very R-rated.

“This movie is not a family film,” Gunn said. “My dad would take me to see this movie if I was 12 or 13 and I don’t think it would be a big deal. But if you get younger than that, it’s kind of weird.”

And already it has one big advantage over Ayer’s: The reviews are stellar.

“’The Suicide Squad’ is something no one’s ready for, but everybody needs,” said John Cena. “Everyone will leave the theater satisfied.”

The WWE star plays Peacemaker, a deranged Captain America-type who will proudly “kill any man, woman or child” to maintain the peace.

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