Jun 6, 2022

"The Suicide Squad": Two Gay Hints, Two Hunks in their Underwear, and 3,234 Corpses

 Last night's movie night was The Suicide Squad (2021), in which incarcerated DC supervillains and serial killers are offered years off their sentences in exchange for performing a super-dangerous "suicide" mission: the small Latin American country of Corto Maltese has been taken over by a military dictator unfriendly to the U.S., so a U.S.-supported research facility called Jotunheim for some reason is in jeopardy.  Rather than let the research fall into enemy hands, the Suicide Squad must destroy Jotunheim.  

The suicide squad is killed within the first five minutes, mostly by the huge army that meets them, but one drowns, and Savant (Woody Harrelson), who has been set up as the focus character, gets his head exploded by the boss back at headquarters.  This was a very short movie!  Psych -- there's a second suicide squad.  The first, untrained and totally inept, was sent in as a distraction.  The second will go in secretly.  But "kill everyone you see."

It consists of:

1. Bloodsport (Idris Elba)
.  I don't know what his superpower is, but he has a dead wife and teenage daughter.

2. Peacemaker (John Cena, left).  A jerk with no superpowers but a nice physique.

3. King Shark (Sylvester Stallone, unrecognizable): A human-shark hybrid who is invincible, but has the habit of eating random people.

4. Polka Dot Man (David Dastmalchian, left), 
who can kill people with multicolored interdimensional pustules that grow on his body.

5. Rat Catcher 2 (Dana Melchior), apparently the daughter of Rat Catcher 1, who can control rats -- very handy for destroying technology and killing people.

Before going to the facility, they have to rescue a survivor of the first squad, Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman, left), who has been captured.  So they kill almost everybody at his camp before discovering that he's actually been rescued by anti-dictator freedom fighters!

Another survivor of the first squad, effervescent, deranged Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), is captured, dressed in a Cinderella outfit, and taken to the palace, where military dictator Silvio Luna (Juan Diego Botto) wants to date her.  They hang out and have sex (off camera), but Harley soon sours on the idea and kills him.  As well as about 300 palace guards and soldiers.

The facility contains a giant alien starfish-shaped being who can extrude small versions of itself that grab your face and kill you.  It can then control your actions.  It does this with around 3,000 townsfolk before the Suicide Squad subdues it.  Almost all of them die in the battle, or in a disagreement about whether to expose U.S. involvement in the starfish experiment.  

So it's basically two hours of watching people get killed.  I was not impressed.

Well, I did like four things about it:

1. Minimal heterosexual romance.  Nothing except for Harley dating General Luna.  One expects Rick Flagg to hook up with freedom fighter Soria (Alice Braga), but he doesn't.  

2. No naked ladies.  When the squad is told to track down General Luna at a "gentleman's club," I thought "Why does there always have to be a scene of naked ladies gyrating on poles?", but in fact the ladies are singing, not gyrating, and fully clothed.  And there are men and women both in the audience.  

3. Beefcake
.  Peacemaker walks around in his underwear, showing a blatant bulge.  General Luna is introduced climbing out of his bathtub in a Speedo.  

4. Gay references.  No one actually says the word, but at the gentlemen's club, among the men and women dancing together, two men are getting chummy.  I think it was Rick Flag cruising a local.  

Plus Polka Dot Man becomes distraught over the death of the driver, Malcolm.  "I liked him from the start, but I didn't say anything because...."  he begins, before being cut off (and later killed).  Sounds like he was about to reveal a same-sex crush.

Apparently this is not the first iteration of the Suicide Squad.  They have appeared in comics since 1987, and an earlier movie, called Suicide Squad without the definite article (2016), featured some of the same characters.  So no one is going to be canonically gay.  But for a comic book movie, gay hints are enough.


  1. The amusing Mr Cena who seems to be a gay ally is not afraid to show off his hot body

    1. Only somewhat. He's comfortable cozying up to authoritarian regimes. And we all know who Target One is when those regimes wish to sow discord among the hoi polloi.

  2. Kinda miffed that we have had both two Suicide Squad movies and a Birds of Prey movie without Barbara Gordon. (She was their internets spy in the late 80s/early 90s.) Mostly I think WB wanted to bring back Batgirl, but dating Dick Grayson even though she only did that in 1999, and only after everyone interpreted her relationship with Black Canary as romantic in nature and just listen to Dixon today.

    (Though TBH DC is trying to lighten the non-Bruce bats, which gets silly with basically any of them before Tim.)

    Also, don't expect the movie to deal with the fact that Waller is as much a sociopath as any of her men.

    1987, you say?

    Pied Piper: Introduced in 1959
    Jericho: Introduced in 1984
    Tim Drake: Introduced in 1989

    Sure, those are all retcons, two were created by the same guy (To be fair, Marv Wolfman is extremely prolific.) and only Jericho was authorial intent, but still...

    1. I wasn't aware of any of them, so I checked wikipedia, which said there was a suicide squad during World War II, and another got started in 1987 . Is Waller the big boss? When the giant starfish starts attacking the town, she keeps telling them that their mission is over, don't help. When they decide to help anyway, she tries to explode their heads, but someone at headquarters clobbers her.

    2. Waller is in charge of the post-Crisis (Long story. Basically in the mid-80s the entire multiverse was destroyed so the good guys went back in time to make it so what destroyed the multiverse never existed, but a side effect was there was only one universe, and nobody remembered anything else.) Suicide Squad. The thing is, she really doesn't care if her men die, so long as they get the mission done; their deaths are a bonus. She won't harm civilians if she can avoid it, it's a mess politically. But she will have no problem killing her own men.

      In the comics, the former Batgirl joins eventually, and that's where she becomes Oracle. She was actually in line to replace Amanda Waller. Of course, Marc Andreyko paved over this and made it all about Dick Grayson, and weaved together some four years of in-universe time and six years of IRL time so now you have this Infinite Crisis epilogue that makes no sense. (When even other gays are heterosexist...)

  3. DC's original Suicide Squad was one of their non-superhero army/spy comics. The name was brought back for the new series, essentially a mixed assortment of renegade superheroes and captured villains forced to act as expendable agents on government missions.
    Amanda Waller is indeed the Squad's main boss and utterly ruthless.

    1. Yep. Also heroes who are just insane.

      As far as I can tell, the government wanted to regulate (Read: Enslave.) metahumans (and other heroes and villains) at the time. Amanda Waller and the old spy King Faraday were the avatars of this policy, and even Roy Harper is guilty of going along with it, with the seizure of the Titans.


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