Post-guardians, director James Gunn has signed up to DC’S Suicide Squad 2. Here’s why he’s perfect
HE CAN HANDLE A BIG ENSEMBLE
Suicide Squad’s premise hinges on a dysfunctional group dynamic, which the film struggled to capture. James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy had no such problem. Gunn took joy in the interplay between wise-crackers like Star-lord and sarcasm-deficient brawlers like Drax, allowing room for the chemistry to fizz; even minor characters such as Kraglin and Rhomann Dey were allowed dimensions and arcs. Gunn is more than capable of not including forgettable also-rans that burdened the original Suicide Squad. (Remember Slipknot?)
HE UNDERSTANDS MORAL AMBIGUITY
What sets Suicide Squad apart from other super-teams is that they categorically aren’t heroes: they’re murderous villains, forced into a job they don’t want to do. Though not quite as bad, the Guardians were still a band of thieves and mercenaries — yet Gunn made us care deeply about even the worst of them. The way that Yondu went from one-dimensional pirate at the start of the first film to tragically complex father figure at the end of the second surely bodes well for Gunn’s treatment of DC’S rogues’ gallery.
HE CAN STRIKE THE RIGHT TONE
The Suicide Squad comics have generally been renowned for their blend of violent action and black gallows humour. It was a mixture that the film didn’t always get right. But Gunn has a proven track record for providing laughs with a subversive edge. Guardians was a family-friendly film that nudged close to the bone (the Jackson Pollock jizz gag, anyone?) while his dark 2010 comedy Super (about a depressed superhero who took on child molesters, among others) sawed straight through it.
HE CAN DEAL WITH COSMIC SCALE
While Gunn’s Guardians films were almost entirely cosmic in scale, they mixed their huge, all-action set pieces with human-level character interaction and mundane details without ever being jarring. The Suicide Squad comics have ranged from ground-level black ops mission in Russia one minute to an all-guns-blazing war with the New Gods of Apokolips the next — should the newlook Squad decide to head to space, as they did in a 1987 storyline, Gunn would be well-equipped for the challenge.
Main: Writer/director James Gunn.Below right: Suicide Squad in all their supervillain glory.