Director James Gunn took over the reigns for the new Suicide Squad and he executed it in typical James Gunn fashion with a colorful palette and humor, something fairly uncommon for the DCEU. Margot Robbie reprises her role as Harley Quinn and is joined by Idris Elba as Bloodsport, John Cena as Peacemaker, Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2, and Peter Capaldi as The Thinker. Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis return to the screen as Rick Flag and Amanda Waller respectively.
The movie opens like its predecessor where Amanda Waller goes from one prison cell to another, convincing convicts to join her Task Force X for a mission in Corto Maltese. After assembling a team with Rick Flag, Harley Quinn, Savant, Mongal, TDK, Captain Boomerang, Weasel, Javelin, and Blackguard, Waller dispatches them for a mission, only to use them as a decoy to distract the Corto Maltesan army. Meanwhile, the original Task Force X with Bloodsport, Peacemaker, King Shark, Polka Dot Man and Ratcatcher 2 sneak into the enemy’s base camp and set off for their mission to infiltrate former Nazi camp Jotunheim and erase all traces of a secret project – Project Starfish.
The crew meet The Thinker at a bar and take him with them to ease their infiltration plan as The Thinker was the one who knew about the project the best. There’s a lot of internal and external political conflict in the movie; one between USA and its involvement in the project itself and the other between the politicians of Corto Maltese. The Task Force manages to find the truth about Starro the Conqueror who is the reason why Project Starfish exists. Rick Flag learns about USA’s history by initiating the project after discovering Starro which causes him to want to leak the information to the public but he is stopped by The Peacemaker, who has a deal with Waller that he would not let anyone reveal the information that would threaten peace in America. After a brutal fight sequence, Flag ends up dying while Bloodsport kills Peacemaker. Starro rampages across the city after breaking out and is stopped by Ratcatcher’s rats and Harley Quinn. Polka-Dot Man offers comic relief and a colder, more sinister side to Amanda Waller is shown.
Starro escapes into the streets from Jotunheim and takes over the soldiers from Suarez’ army by enslaving the population. Meanwhile, Sol Soria successfully takes over the office after attacking it, as she had originally planned. Task Force X gets the order to get back to USA as the mission is over. However, they feel uncomfortable to leave the people in Corto Maltese in the mercy of the Starfish attack and go against Waller’s commands to charge at Starro. Waller attempts to kill them off but is subdued by her subordinates from exterminating the squad.
Bloodsport convinces King Shark that Starro is food and tells Polka-Dot Man that it is his mother to make them attack it. Anytime Starro feels pain anywhere, so do those who have been enslaved by it. Polka-Dot Man ends up being killed. Ratcatcher 2 summons an army of rats that mob against Starro. Harley uses the javelin entrusted upon her by Javelin himself to pierce through its eye, creating an access point for the rats. She enters what can be the central nervous system and the rats follow suit. They chew up its nerve endings and brain from the inside, taking the giant, extraterrestrial monster down. Via one of its human drones, Starro reminisces about how happy and peaceful it was, floating through space and looking at the stars.
Soria has successfully taken over the Corto Maltese government, thanks to the battle having drawn the military away from the capitol. She pledges to reform it and they finally get to have a democratic election after thirty years. Bloodsport uses the information in the drive as leverage and seals a deal with Waller: his daughter would never see the insides of a prison and the Task Force X would go free, otherwise the drive would be made public. The squad is airlifted out of Corto Maltese.
What is Project Starfish?
Starro, popularly known as Starro the Conqueror in the comics, is an extraterrestrial being which buds into smaller starfishes like itself that can latch onto humans and enslave them. The Anti-American government that had besieged Corto Maltese wanted to use this power to be powerful enough to make countries such as the USA and Russia to fear them. Kept in the Nazi fortress of Jotunheim and overseen by meta-scientist The Thinker, Amanda Waller orders Task Force X (or the Suicide Squad) to delete all traces of Project Starfish as she feared what would happen if such devastating powers and information fell into the hands of people harboring anti-American sentiments.
What was in the drive?
Task Force X thinks that they are protecting America from a calamity but, The Thinker reveals that Starro was discovered and brought to Earth by US astronauts. To defend itself, Starro had unleashed several mini-starfishes to enslave the crew. One astronaut had survived and managed to capture Starro successfully. The events panned out while the Cold War was nearing its end but the US government intended to use it as a super-weapon, assigning Dr. Gaius Grieves (The Thinker) to take over and conduct experiments on it.
The American government was not comfortable with the experiments being conducted in American soil so they struck a deal with the Herrera family of Corto Maltese (the ones who ruled Corto Maltese), allowing them to hold Starro in captivity in Jotunheim and conduct experiments on the enemies of the government.
However, after thirty years, general Silvio Luna, who harbored radical anti-American sentiments, led a military coup d’etat against the Herrera family, causing its demise while the military seized control of Jotunheim. Fearing the truth about America’s involvement and the deal between USA and Corto Maltese would get out, Waller dispatched Task Force X on its mission of destroying all evidence of the US involvement in Project Starfish.
This way, they ensured that America does not get its name entangled with the sinister project. Waller had simply unleashed the Task Force for this mission to remove the records of America’s involvement. The drive Rick Flag got his hands on contained the video of American astronauts with Starro.
Peacemaker was under secret orders to prevent the drive and America’s involvement in the project from being exposed. So, when an enraged Rick Flag decided to let the people know about the contents of the drive, Peacemaker killed him. He attempted to kill Ratcatcher 2 as well, once she got her hands on the drive but Bloodsport arrived on time and shot Peacemaker.
Who is Starro the Conqueror?
Starro the Conqueror is an antagonistic, extraterrestrial monster in the DC comics who is adamant on conquering planets and enslaving its people. Gunn’s Suicide Squad brings in a new narrative to Starro’s story by victimizing and villainizing it at the same time, as it is being controlled by people for their selfish reasons while Starro commemorates about floating around space.
Starro was brought to Earth by the US astronauts and held captive for decades by The Thinker and the Corto Maltesan government. They had intended to weaponize Starro for their personal benefits. In the movie’s climax, Starro breaks free and wreaks havoc on the city as it is enraged from being tormented for decades. And, in pure comic fashion, it enslaves people by itself.
How does the 2021 Suicide Squad tie-up with its predecessor?
James Gunn’s Suicide Squad is not a sequel or a remake of the 2016 Suicide Squad by David Ayer and happens to be a standalone movie of its own. The two counterparts share some key similarities and take place in the same universe.
Harley Quinn, Rick Flag, Amanda Waller, and Captain Boomerang make their comebacks but the rest of the Task Force X has been revamped. During the introduction of the film, Waller does not go into depth describing what Task Force X is as it is already established that this has been done before. The Joker and Batman do not make an appearance either but Harley Quinn briefly refers to her relationship with The Joker when she kills Presidente General Silvio Luna for showing “red flags” because after her last relationship, Harley had decided to kill any potential partner who showed red flags.
Batman is not mentioned anywhere in the movie. There is a callback to Superman when Waller mentions that Elba’s Robert DuBois (aka Bloodsport) had sent him into the ICU by penetrating a kryptonite bullet into him. However, the timeline for the incident is not clear but it could’ve very well happened after the events of Batman vs Superman, where Batman used weapons laced with kryptonite to subdue Superman.
Who’s the real antagonist?
Task Force X comprises notorious DC villains but they are entrusted upon the mission to save the world, which makes them the heroes in the timeline. Everyone except John Cena’s Peacemaker was unaware of the true nature of their mission. As Starro breaks free, Waller is cold and does not care whether it kills people or not, including children. She attempts to exterminate the squad as they defy her orders to protect the people and is subsequently taken by her own subordinates. As Corto Maltese is hostile towards the USA, she considers its demise at the hands of Starro as a bonus. In the beginning, she is also seen sacrificing several people in the name of a mission, including her right-hand man Rick Flag, when she used them as a decoy to help the original Task Force X infiltrate the military camp, proving that Waller is crueler than those who are supposedly criminals.
What Happens in the Post-Credit Scenes?
Right after the movie ends, Weasel, who was presumed to be dead, is revealed to be alive. This is followed by the end-credits and the post-credit scene which DCEU uses to set up its very first TV show, Peacemaker, as he is shown to have miraculously survived Bloodsport’s bullet while A.R.G.U.S heads there to recruit him.
The show is set to delve into the origins of the character. It is known that Peacemaker will do absolutely anything to attain and maintain peace, especially for the USA. It would be interesting to find out more about America and Waller’s involvement in other presumably harmful projects and how far A.R.G.U.S and the government is willing to go to have Peacemaker cover-up for their misdeeds.
The direction the spinoff will take is not known yet but it can be assumed that it won’t have much to do with Suicide Squad itself, as Starro has been defeated, even though it might show his involvement with Waller during the events of the 2021 movie.