The Suicide Squad was officially released in U.S. cinemas and HBO Max on August 6, 2021. It currently grasps onto an impressive 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, with 152 reviews from critics. The film is directed by James Gunn, marking his first voyage into the DCEU. I battled with myself over simply seeing this on HBO Max or journeying to my local movie theater. However, I ultimately decided that I needed to see this on the big screen and oh boy… I was DEFINITELY right!
The infamous “suicide squad” is back.. and this time they are bigger, badder, gorier, and BETTER than ever. The Suicide Squad accompanies the most dangerous super-villains in the world, after they are brought together to destroy any trace of Project Starfish.
First off, I really appreciated how they introduced some of the lesser known characters immediately at the start of the film. Most of the members from this reboot were not present in the 2016 version, so it was helpful to have a wild introduction into all of their personalities and skills.
Task Force X was host to over a dozen members this time around, with each of them having their own unique qualities that make them so contrasting, yet also somehow such a perfect fit together. While they are all fending for themselves at the beginning of the film, by the end they are a true squad, working together to accomplish their mission. With so many central personalities, it could have occurred where some of them are simply there just to be there. However, I don’t think that is the case with The Suicide Squad, as all of the individual characters serve a purpose in the film.
The movie also went in a great direction in terms of establishing conflict between our protagonist super-villains turned heroes. Because of their distinct differences, The Suicide Squad could have easily just succumbed to having several of them kill each other for no reason. Instead, the film established a realistic reasoning for why these characters may have conflicting interests and morals.
Throughout the entirety of the movie, members of the squad are bickering with each other and cracking constant jokes. While characters like this are usually annoying, they somehow all meshed together like a puzzle, creating the perfect amount of humor and laugh-out-loud moments. My entire theater erupted with laughter several times throughout, as there was just such natural chemistry between the super-villains on-screen.
This group of characters is only so flawlessly perfect together because of the phenomenal acting. There are several performances that I specifically want to commend; first including Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, and John Cena.
Margot Robbie played Harley Quinn, as she has in several DC films beforehand. This is probably my favorite interpretation of Harley Quinn from her, as she is such an energetic presence on screen. Every scene that includes Robbie is instantly brought to a whole new level, just because of how well she plays the character. There are some of the finest and most memorable Harley Quinn action scenes that have ever been put to screen in The Suicide Squad. When I look at Margot Robbie, all I can think about is Harley Quinn, which indicates how immensely iconic she is as the psycho villainess.
Idris Elba plays Bloodsport, who is a new addition to the team in this film. His character is deemed the leader of the group and he does a phenomenal job of seemingly being the main source of sanity among the members. While he may not be cracking as many jokes as the other actors, he is still the heart and soul of the squad and delivers an exceptional performance.
John Cena plays Peacemaker, who is another new addition in this film. He is comedic relief for the majority of the time, yet he pulls it off so effortlessly, making humor an eccentric aspect of his character. Some may find his performance annoying, but I thought that he turned a one-dimensional character into much more. This is probably the best performance of his career in my opinion.
While I anticipated loving all three of those characters, I also want to highlight two more that were completely unexpected, absolute favorites of mine. Polka-Dot Man, played by David Dastmalchian and Ratcatcher 2, played by Daniela Melchior stole the show. Both characters had more emotional weight than the others and these two performers did a terrific job of making that baggage feel real. The most heart-wrenching moments of the movie came from these two individuals. Their super-powers are also so different than the other members, which makes them stand out on screen. Polka-Dot Man was by far my favorite character in The Suicide Squad and I did not predict that coming at all, which is just a demonstration of how well-rounded this team of villains is.
Also… King Shark was hilarious, maniacal, and actually had a surprising amount of character development for a beast that is apparently dumb on the surface.
While these characters were awesome alone, inserting them into violent and insane action sequences made them even better. The film starts off action-packed right off the bat and never lets up. When I say violent… I really mean it too. The Suicide Squad earns its R-rating by a long shot. The amount of gore is unhinged, with King Shark eating people, heads being chopped off, and lots and lots of blood splatters. While some may complain about it being too brutal, I believe that this deranged violence was perfect and quintessential, as we are watching super-villains here, not traditional heroes.
With these HUGE action set-pieces I must also mention the amazing CGI that was on display. King Shark, Weasel, Starro the Conqueror, and thousands of rats were all prominently displayed and there was never a weak moment of CGI that took me out of the film. James Gunn created beautiful atmospheres to carry out these memorable spectacles of action and the final battle in The Suicide Squad is honestly one of my all-time favorites just because of how distinct it is. These beautiful sequences of astounding cinematography and choreography were achieved with a mix of CGI and the use of practical effects, with Gunn stating,
It’s a much, much, much rougher film than Guardians of the Galaxy. Everything is… it’s almost completely practical. The biggest sets ever on almost any film, ever… I was able to take all of the heads of departments that I’ve used on other films, and just do a ‘Best of.
Starro the Conqueror is the “final boss” and is definitely one of the most unique creatures put to screen in a comic book film. It is surely not the typical main villain that people would expect to see in a normal super-hero (or super-villain for this matter) movie. Putting Starro the Conqueror, which is such a whacky and bizarre beast, into The Suicide Squad, is a huge testament as to how wild the studio was willing to let James Gunn go.
I have nothing bad to say about The Suicide Squad. The film accomplishes exactly what it is supposed to, in being an action-packed, all-around fun, summer hit. If you really want to dive deep and critique every little thing in this movie, then I’m sure you could. But honestly… just sit back and enjoy the awesome ride that James Gunn takes you on.
If you aren’t a fan of graphic/violent scenes, then I would recommend that you skip this or be prepared to cover your eyes a lot. But, like I said before, I don’t think you can have a true “suicide squad” adventure without all of the viscous violence that was seen in this move. Along with that, the jokes are definitely targeted towards a specific group of people. I was laughing thoroughly for almost the whole runtime; however, the jokes may not land for others.
The Suicide Squad is everything that I dreamed of and so much more. James Gunn brought an extravaganza of fun to the screen and it couldn’t have been executed much better.
The characters were the highlight of the film, each of them being so different, yet fitting together so well. Along with that, the action was non-stop, grizzly chaos from start to finish, with loads of blood and gore. Still, there were some heartfelt moments sprinkled throughout as well.
I had such an amazing time with The Suicide Squad. If you are looking for a new and different approach to a comic book film, then I highly recommend that you check this one out.
I know it is on HBO Max, but if you are able, go see this in theaters! While it is nice to watch from the comfort of your own home, this movie was made to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
Rating: 10 out of 10 on the scale of awesomeness!
Thank you so much for reading my review of The Suicide Squad! Let me know what you thought of the film in the comments and as always…
CINEMA LOVERS UNITE!