PG Score: 8/10
The Suicide Squad was released in theaters and HBO Max on 8/5/21
The Suicide Squad is, above all else, a ton of fun. Writer/Director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy and Super) blows the doors off the hinges in his entrance to the DC Extended Universe. Hilarious adult humor, unrestrained and abundant R-rated action, and delightfully aberrant characters are the main contributors to this wildly entertaining film.
The spiritual sequel to David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad centers on supervillains Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Robert DuBois aka Bloodsport (Idris Elba) as they team up with a group of zany convicts who are desperate to escape the confines of the volatile Belle Reve prison. Recruited by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), they form Task Force X and are deployed to the treacherous island of Corto Maltese to carry out a highly dangerous operation.
Action and Gore
The carnage occurs early and often. Gunn takes full advantage of the hard-R rating as no detail is spared in the slaughter-first style of Task Force X. Frenetic gunfights, bone-crushing fisticuffs, and deadly usage of bladed weaponry are only some of the methods of havoc that the crew implements with extreme prejudice. Among their tools of destruction are high-tech gadgets and a few instruments that are a bit more unconventional. The variety in the destruction unleashed by Harley and her friends not only makes for great entertainment, but it keeps the frequent set pieces from growing repetitive. It also helps with pacing as the film never really slows down. The action is virtually non-stop, and there are no dull moments to be found.
The humor is another highlight, and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud interactions between the bizarre band of misfits. Gunn’s clever screenplay is filled to the brim with hysterical one-liners and uproarious dialogue. Sylvester Stallone’s King Shark is flawlessly utilized as he supplies simple, yet timely jokes. John Cena is expertly cast as Christopher Smith aka Peacemaker and provides amusing banter with Elba’s Bloodsport. Gunn knows the right places to use each character along with how much screen time they should be allotted. In turn, this helps each actor play to their strengths and minimizes the chance of a weak link. The director’s comedic brilliance is at its peak in The Suicide Squad.
Free Rein for Gunn
Gunn does not adhere to the typical comic book movie formula, and his latest production benefits from the deviation. Like the strange crew in its title, The Suicide Squad takes unusual strides to achieve its objective. Its offbeat approach is supremely effective and avoids nearly every trope in the genre. The filmmaker injects his own artistic vision into abstract scenes that are exploding with an entrancing color palette. He also includes on-screen text that appears in creative ways to aid the narrative. The result is a breath of fresh air and feels designed to prioritize the enjoyment of the audience. Since many films have fallen victim to studio interference, this should be the ideal model for more projects in the future.
Characters and Cast
The characters are compelling in every sense of the word. The unorthodox mixture of personalities and (un)healthy serving of insanity make for many memorable exchanges. Moreover, the actors all excel in their respective roles. Margot Robbie leads the way as Harley Quinn and is magnetic throughout. In her third portrayal of the iconic supervillain, she further cements herself as one of the elite performers in the DCEU. She is joined by Idris Elba, who shines as Bloodsport. He has excellent chemistry with the rest of the cast and delivers on the comical portions as well as the few serious interactions that occur. Joel Kinnaman plays Colonel Rick Flag for the second time and once again delivers a steadying performance as the hardened leader. John Cena turns in the best work of his career as Peacemaker. He is the funniest character in the movie and that is largely in part to the actor’s comedic ability. It is a blessing that he will reprise his role in an upcoming collaboration with Gunn. Viola Davis, Sylvester Stallone, Daniela Melchior, and David Dastmalchian all carry their weight in a supporting capacity.
The Best of the DCEU
James Gunn has the pedal to the floor for the duration of the 132-minute runtime, and the outcome is cinematic bliss. The Suicide Squad is pure madness and unequivocally the best DCEU movie to date.