The Suicide Squad, directed by James Gunn, opens up emulating the same plot as its predecessor: imprisoned supervillains banding together for black-op missions that will probably get them killed. Calling themselves Task Force X, ruthless Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis), returns to coerce and blackmail some of the most deadly humans (or weasels or shark hybrids) into joining her team. Their mission?: Infiltrate the fictional country of Corto Maltese and destroy a facility that is keeping alien intelligence captive.

This Suicide Squad includes a much weirder group of supervillains than the last. I must admit, after watching the first 10 minutes or so of the film, I lost all hope. I felt the same way everyone felt after I went to the movies to see Stomp the Yard only to see the star actor die before the film even reached its plot development: bamboozled. To my surprise, I wasn’t let down in the end. Of the remaining squad, we have Harley Quinn, whom Margot Robbie reprises for the third time and Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag.

One new addition to the new Task X Force squad is Bloodsport (a marksman, similar to Will Smith’s Suicide Squad character Deadshot), who is portrayed by Idris Elba. Another addition, with an aim equally as accurate as Bloodsport, is Peacemaker (a cheaper-dressed version of Captain America played by John Cena). The remaining crew members include King Shark (a humanoid shark, voiced by Sylvester Stallone), Ratcatcher 2 (a villain with the ability to control rats, played by Daniela Melchior), and Polka-Dot Man (a man able to shoot deadly polka dots, played by David Dastmalchian).

Another aspect that adds to the film’s success is the amount of light it adds. The previous film felt dark, and grungy, possibly to go along with the main characters. Luckily, The Suicide Squad adds much more buoyancy to the film, making it much more palatable. And by more palatable, I’m referring to the amount of laughter that’s caused by the authenticity of the character portrayals and the peculiar superpowers that most of the hodgepodge selection of members exhibit. Most of the well-known villains that director James Gunn chooses for the film provide great comedic relief.

Much of the previous film featured dark and ominous lighting that made it hard to see what was happening and made action scenes less enjoyable. Luckily, The Suicide Squad doesn’t follow suit and brings brighter contrast to the screen, granting every aspect on screen the opportunity to be seen to the best of its ability.

Another highlight of the film is that it doesn’t let the effects from its previous counterpart affect many of the returning characters, allowing it breathing room for a separate identity. The movie doesn’t address what happened in Suicide Squad, nor does it bring up any of the characters’ attachments to DC’s extended universe. Though it doesn’t fade back to the previous film, The Suicide Squad suffers from one major issue: individual character development and the synchronicity to the film as a whole.

Each main character does have an opportunity in the film to explain the traumas that got them to this point in their lives. The only ones that seem to be wrapped up within the film itself are those of King Shark, Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, and Ratcatcher 2. Harley’s struggles are presented in the moments where she’s swept off her feet for a brief moment.

Though these scenes aren’t detrimental to the film, it does show a good amount of character development from the Harley that was madly in love with the Joker in the first film. Since King Shark can’t communicate in full legible sentences, we see throughout the film his desire to belong.

A main story that seems to be a possible underlying theme (and main source of emotion) of the film is presented when Ratcatcher 2 explains to Bloodsport how she loved her father and all the things he taught her about being able to control rats. In reacting to her story, we then understand why Bloodsport has such an aversion to them. We also see that though he says he has no good left in him, as the film progresses we do see that Elba’s character has instances of goodness. After all, the reason why he takes part in the mission inherently proves that he’s not entirely bad.

As with Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, both of which he directed, Gunn continues to do a stupendous job of allowing each character to mesh with the group. They have a similar group aesthetic to the Marvel gang of unlawful superheroes. King Shark is the proxy for Groot—except he can say a couple more words. Bloodsport and Peacemaker are synonymous with the back and forth banter from Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon, except for the fact that they ***SPOILER ALERT*** eventually try to kill one another. Regardless, the chemistry between Elba and Cena’s characters is undeniably one of the greatest aspects of the film.

Much like all Marvel films, there is an ending-credit scene. ***SPOILER ALERT*** To sum up, the scene involves two of Waller’s workers walking into a hospital room in which a survivor rests: Peacemaker. What does it mean for the DC extended universe? Well for one, it could be the basis point for the Peacemaker series on HBO Max that’s currently in production.

But it also could allude to the fact that Peacemaker could be the driving force for the next Suicide Squad film if it were to take place. Considering an HBO series spinoff is already under production, the one thing we can be sure of is that we have not seen the last of The Suicide Squad.

Ultimately, I give The Suicide Squad 3.8/5 starfish.

The Suicide Squad is currently available in theaters everywhere, as well as HBO Max.