“The Suicide Squad” (Warner Bros.)

Michael Rooker stars in a scene from the movie "The Suicide Squad." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/courtesy Studio Wildcard)

By Catholic News Service

Intentionally over-the-top, gleefully gory mayhem overwhelms all other considerations in writer-director James Gunn’s DC Comics-based follow-up to 2016’s “Suicide Squad.”

Lost under the crimson tide are a few clever witticisms and an overall spirit of genre self-mockery as a ruthless intelligence officer (Viola Davis) assembles an ensemble of imprisoned criminals (most prominently Margot Robbie and Idris Elba) and both bribes and blackmails them into neutralizing a highly unusual threat to national security. Under the direction of an earnest Army colonel (Joel Kinnaman), the motley team must infiltrate the laboratory of a mad scientist (Peter Capaldi) to prevent the powerful creature he has long nurtured there from being used against the United States.

What might have been a bit of daft fun — Sylvester Stallone provides the voice of a dim-witted, rubber-skinned shark-human hybrid while David Dastmalchian plays a superhero called Polka-Dot Man — is spoiled by the gruesome deaths to which innumerable extras are subjected.

Excessive bloody violence, torture, frequent grisly images, a premarital encounter, a glimpse of full nudity, one blasphemous remark, about a half-dozen uses of profanity, several milder oaths, pervasive rough and much crude language, obscene gestures. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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