‘The Suicide Squad’ Review—A Hard-Hitting Blast

The DC Extended Universe has a new installment featuring the Suicide Squad. After the critical failure of 2016’s Suicide Squad, DC has given James Gunn, the man behind the Guardians of the Galaxy films, full creative control for his own movie about the ragtag team of baddies.

The Suicide Squad is a superhero film like no other, following a group of anti-heroes led by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). The film follows this misfit team of supervillains as they enter the island of Corto Maltese to destroy a laboratory containing a secret experiment called Project Starfish.

Few enjoyed the original Suicide Squad. It’s a film that reeks of studio interference, and the director, David Ayer, has publicly distanced himself from the film. Warner Bros. and DC appear to have finally learned from their ways, giving Gunn the freedom to do whatever he wanted with this film and boy, it paid off.

In a series where every movie is either hit-or-miss, this movie is an absolute hit. This is a massive improvement over its predecessor, and it works in volumes due to the talent on display and, again, Gunn’s freedom to write and direct whatever the hell he wanted with these characters.

You didn’t like how the first Suicide Squad was a very safe, PG-13 film? This movie begins with a hard-R battle sequence filled with the blood and carnage you would want from a movie about criminals killing criminals. You didn’t like the overreliance on CGI? This movie has CGI, but it combines all of it with many practical effects and explosions.

This movie is James Gunn, no holds barred. We can retire our hopes for an R-rated MCU movie as the DCEU let Gunn go full R, and he was not holding back with this one. This film is bloody as hell, and I’m here for it.

No Suicide Squad movie could work without its ensemble. Fortunately for us, this movie offers a star-studded cast, and everyone brings something awesome to the table. Idris Elba was originally reported to replace Will Smith as Deadshot, but he stars as a new character named Bloodsport, and he is charismatic, badass, and a joy to watch.

John Cena stars in the film as Peacemaker, and you can feel him relishing the role. His commitment shines through the screen, as we’ve seen Cena do press for the film in character, and he balances out the deadpan humor with the darker aspects of this antihero. Elba and Cena, who have previously starred as Fast & Furious villains, have excellent chemistry as their characters rival each other.

But who’s the main member of the original Suicide Squad that this film wouldn’t have been complete without? Harley Quinn. After getting her standalone film last year with Birds of Prey, she rounds out this team excellently (especially in one stand-out Harley sequence), with Margot Robbie doing a pitch-perfect job with the character as usual.

Kinnaman and Davis take their characters from the original film to a whole new level; Rick Flag has more chemistry with the Suicide Squad, and Amanda Waller gets more moments to shine in a film that finally puts the talents of legend Viola Davis to work.

Our main players also include Sylvester Stallone as the voice of King Shark, a character that has a hilarious charm to him. The biggest surprise of the film? Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2. She is a star in the making, and she’s part of the film’s heart and soul.

The movie has a stacked cast filled with familiar faces, and everyone is excellent. Everything about this film feels more fresh and fun than the original like the actors are genuinely having a good time with this absurd superhero flick.

Gunn’s style is all over this film. Every time he drops the needle, we get music that goes really well with the movie. He also has a knack for crafting films with a wonderful visual style, and the film really bursts off the screen, with Gunn balancing the film’s comedy with the violence.

However, his style may not be for everyone. As this is a hard-R action-comedy, the film has a dark sense of humor that may not sit right with everyone. In addition, the movie has a body count comparable to that of Man of Steel, but Gunn is more likely than Zack Snyder to get away with it, as Gunn doesn’t treat the deaths seriously at all.

Many people die in this film, and the film doesn’t take a split-second to mourn any of them, which works for a movie as bonkers as this, but not everyone will appreciate that. The film’s pacing also drags a little towards the middle. And the places the story goes, especially in the final act, could have been laughably bad in the wrong hands, but surprisingly, it works.

Overall, this movie is a hard-hitting blast. It has great comedy and action setpieces that really kick ass. It’s a hell of a good time, and it’s one of the best superhero movies of the year.

Grade: ★★★★☆ [8/10, B+]

Jonathan’s Tips: I think you should see this movie. Don’t watch it with young kids because it’s a little too violent. If you’re comfortable going to a theater and catching it on an IMAX screen, go for it. If you would rather play it safe from the Delta variant and watch it on HBO Max, by all means, go for it.

The Suicide Squad is now in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

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JONATHAN SIM

JONATHAN SIM

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Film critic. Lover of Pixar, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Back to the Future, and Lord of the Rings. For business inquiries: jonathansim6703@gmail.com