This Review Is Spoiler-Free, That’s Right, I Don’t Tell You ANYONE Who Dies In The Movie
Let’s get it out of the way. The Suicide Squad is James Gunn‘s “f**k you” movie. Thankfully, Marvel came to their senses and brought him back for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and other Marvel projects. By “f**k you” movie, I mean this is a big FU to a lot of people out there. Do you think DC movies aren’t fun and original? Watch this movie. How about people that think his filmmaking is all style and no substance? Watch this movie. This movie is the shining beacon of hope that shows that DC can both make great movies and allow their filmmakers the time and money to do so.
This is the anti-DC, DC movie. If you hate that universe of film or TV, The Suicide Squad will surely change your mind. If you were upset about the changes that the producers and suits at DC made with the “original” Suicide Squad film, you won’t be with this one. From the script, soundtrack, performances, moments, and effects, this is the total package of superhero films. It has heart, the characters jump off the screen into your lap, and it’s just a fantastic film overall.
My normal superhero/comic book movie test of “if you take all the Marvel/DC stuff and replace it with generic sci-fi/hero stuff, does it still work?” doesn’t really fit here. But this film being in that weird sequel/remake/what’s the first Suicide Squad territory breaks that. The only thing you need to know going into it is: Harley Quinn knows Captain Boomerang and Rick Flagg, and Amanda Waller runs the same division as she used to. There’s no other mention of the previous film besides a big thank you to David Ayer in the credits.
This Movie Was Almost Too Weird For It’s Own Good
This is a spoiler-free review, so we won’t go over any of the character deaths or what happens surrounding over “freaking Kaiju” villain in Starro. It’s safe to say, that when James Gunn pitched this, they probably said to him “you can kill anyone other than Harley Quinn”. He definitely held true to that statement.
There’s no lack of weird, wild, quirky, or outright hilarious moments in the over 2 hour runtime. Of the massive cast including: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, David Dastmalchian, Jai Courtney, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Rooker, Alice Braga, Nathan Fillion, Pete Davidson, Viola Davis, Sean Gunn, Daniela Melchior, Mayling Ng, Peter Capaldi, Flula Borg, Steve Agee, Joaquin Cosio, Taika Waititi, and Mikaela Hoover, there are some major standouts.
Robbie is obviously perfectly cast as Harley Quinn at this point. She’s made the character her own in the same way that Robert Downey Jr. or Hugh Jackman have done with their respective comic book characters. She’s at her absolute most unhinged and badass at points of this film. Echoing scenes from movies like The Raid and Oldboy, especially those involving a hallway. Of the best action scenes in a hallway, Harley Quinn’s takedown in this film definitely belongs.
More On The Standouts Of The Cast
There’s a reason John Cena is getting a Peacemaker series. The dick-measuring contest that he and Bloodsport go through in the first half of this film is legendary. Elba and Cena play off each other to a “T”. There’s a particular scene that’ll remind viewers of Predator. Except this time, instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger decimating nameless soldiers, it’s Peacemaker and Bloodsport going at it. At a certain point, you’re hilariously notified of what they’ve really done, but I don’t want to spoil that surprise for you. Just know that it’s one of the most hilarious moments of the film.
Outside of our main group, Melchior’s Ratcatcher II is the heart of the entire film. Most of the touching moments involve her or the rats that she befriends. The film’s biggest and best moment involves her and the seemingly simple superpower she has. Polka-Dot Man might have a spot in this film because he was the “dumbest character” that James Gunn could find. But in practice, on film, his character is another hilarious way to break up the somewhat dark and despair-filled plot. There’s a lot of light moments, but the overall plot is one that’s quite dreary at certain points.
The cast is really this good though. Everyone shines here with a great script, but there’s really one person besides Ratcatcher II that you’re rooting for more than the rest: King Shark.
All Hail Your New Favorite DC Character
King Shark is the goddamn man in this movie. Plain and simple. He’s hilarious, he’s like a child, he rips someone in half, and at a certain point, he’s the only character that you care about. Watching the movie, I wanted nothing more than to see King Shark get what he wants. What is that? It might be eating the entire cast, but you want to see it happen.
Sylvester Stallone steals the “mumble and utter like three words” title from Vin Diesel and Groot with this performance. Ratcatcher II’s rat of choice, Sebastian is an incredibly close second place for the best character in the movie. In a film filled to the brim with excellent characters that DC doesn’t ever highlight, everyone is a winner here.
Trying To Find Flaws, But That’s An Exercise In Futility
Sure, a movie like this, with a cast this large, means that someone is going to get left out in the cold. Your favorite C-/D+ rate DC supervillain isn’t going to get their full shine. But that’s explained away pretty quickly. Also, if you’re picking nits, the plot is a little coincidental and preachy. It’s about how America sucks. But guess what, we’ve done some sucky things in the past, this story is one of them. But that doesn’t mean this film is anything but fantastic. You’re really digging deep to find ways that this movie wasn’t fun or original.
This is what The Suicide Squad’s comics are all about. Getting villains together and making the audience root for them, no matter how much they might be bad people or dicks.
DC Needs To Follow This Film’s Example
DC has a major fun problem. The Suicide Squad is the most fun film that they’ve ever put out. It’s not particularly close either. I know that DC is known for their storylines being a little heavier and darker than the Marvel side of things, but this movie has some dark and heavy storylines as well. Through it all, it retains the fun and wonder though. You’re entertained and thrilled for the entire 2 hour and 12 minute runtime.
So at the end of the day, DC has another inflection point here. Use this as the blueprint for their films going forward and keep audiences happy or continue down the path they’ve been following. For me, it’s a simple choice because The Suicide Squad ends up in that pantheon of comic book films that only a few films reside in. Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, and some others are simply perfect films of the genre. They use the medium of film to put across a true comic-book experience in a motion picture. The Suicide Squad joins them in making a comic-book come to life in the form of a 70’s style war-exploitation movie.
If you’re in need of some escape, something to remind you that there is still fun in this world, The Suicide Squad is the perfect film and then some. It’s one of the best comic-book movies, and one of the best movies of 2021. From the costumes, characters, plot, action, and everything in between, you can’t go wrong with this movie.
Other genre filmmakers should take some notes.