Gunn, reloaded

Post-guardians, di­rec­tor James Gunn has signed up to DC’S Sui­cide Squad 2. Here’s why he’s per­fect

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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.

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