“The Suicide Squad” was written & directed by James Gunn and stars Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchior, Viola Davis, and Sylvester Stallone. It follows the (new) Suicide Squad as they go on a covert mission to the island Corto Maltese, where they bond, uncover secrets, and engage in extreme violence.
If you’re unfamiliar with DC’s antihero team, click here for a gist of who they are & what they do.
This film was a joy to watch from beginning to end. James Gunn was clearly the best choice to reboot the Suicide Squad franchise after the abomination that was the first/original film from 2016. As he did with Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Gunn brought together a group of mostly obscure, ridiculous characters and made them relatable & compelling. Unlike Marvel, however, DC gave Gunn an R-rating which allowed him to make a bloody, raunchy, and vulgar movie that’s super entertaining. “The Suicide Squad” is clearly made from the mind of a visionary filmmaker with no studio restrictions.
The main members of the Suicide Squad we follow are Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Ratcatcher II, Rick Flag, Polka-Dot Man, and King Shark. Each of these characters are given character arcs and/or interesting backstories. Bloodsport, Ratcatcher II, and Polka-Dot Man in particular were given the most emotional depth, so I liked their characters the most. King Shark was enjoyable too, simply because I can say that Sylvester Stallone voiced a hulking shark-man with a childlike personality.
In addition to great characters, “The Suicide Squad” had fantastic action setpieces. All action sequences were shot with long takes and dynamic camera movements. There were no shaky-cam or extreme close-ups in the film, which is something that should be applauded considering most modern action movies are horribly filmed. The movie’s great visuals were generally due to its use of color, practical effects, and creative cinematography. This is possibly James Gunn’s best directed film.
The pacing of the movie was nearly immaculate. It ran at a brisk pace which kept the plot moving forward without rushing through important details (unlike Star Wars Episode IX). This was partially due to the film’s exciting first fifteen minutes, which dropped the audience into the chaos immediately with little to no exposition and had major consequences for the rest of the film.
I just have three gripes with the film, the first concerning Harley Quinn. While Margot Robbie was once again great in the role and James Gunn treated the character with respect, the film made her a little overpowered. During action scenes she was way too experienced with things like guerilla warfare, guns, and even wielding a spear. The character is supposed to be an outstanding acrobat who is relatively good at combat, not John Wick. Plus, the film had a small subplot involving her which, while mostly good, felt a little tacked on. My second issue is that Bloodsport was essentially the same character as Deadshot from the 2016 film except done better. He had the same backstory, abilities, and father-daughter relationship. My third issue, without getting into spoilers, was that the villain at the end of the film had the opportunity to kill (or at least attack) the Suicide Squad, but instead decided to literally walk away from them, allowing them to fight him and defeat him.
James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad” is an exciting R-rated blockbuster with plenty of action, humor, witty dialogue, and compelling characters. It’s one of 2021’s best films and some of James Gunn’s best work. Plus, it’s a good DC film! That’s hard to come by.