James Gunn brings it with the latest entry into the DCEU. With a ton of heart and more violence, you can shake a stick at.
I can’t think of another director working today that is capable of taking ordinary and lesser-known comic book characters and turning them into captivating, crowd-pleasing “heroes” than James Gunn. This serves as a reboot almost, more like a launching pad for the next wave of convicts turned superhero hand-picked by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). You know the drill a bomb is implanted in their skulls and if they misbehave or go off mission, bye-bye birdie.
Enter Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Rat-Catcher 2 (Daniela Menchoir), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) Kingshark (voiced by Sly Stallone), and bringing back everyone’s favorite Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman). This is the new group of rag-tag heroes set on a mission to save the world from the inner galactic starfish Starro. First things first, this new team is incredible, who have terrific chemistry and play off one another so well. All having their moments to shine, fight amongst one another, and most importantly try to right their past wrongs. Among the team, I can’t even say one stands out more than the others because the new squad is actually so damn memorable. Polka-Dot Man being in a comic-book movie and having unbelievable powers? Who would have thought it? King Shark can flip a switch in a heartbeat from a lovable cute idiot, to someone who will literally rip you in half. Bloodsport is without a doubt the brawn of the group, the leader if you must. I loved his entire concept and his bag of tricks that were his weapons. Rat-Catcher 2 was the heart. Her love for not just rats but everyone in the group was heartwarming and she brought such a positive light to the film. The person who really surprised me the most was John Cena. Going from WWE to big Hollywood movies is never an easy task, but he was so impressive here and had some of the most emotional and raw scenes in the movie.
As for the two previous squad members, I felt Harley and Flagg were both insanely elevated this time around. Margot Robbie again kills it in this role, each time she’s portrayed Harley, she knocks it out of the park. As for Rick Flagg, he wasn’t at the forefront but it felt he was more important and actually cared way more about the team this time around. James Gunn manages to incorporate horror, action, humor, and heart, all simultaneously and it works so well. When it wants to be emotional it works and when the action hits, it hits hard. Harley Quinn has an all-time DCEU moment, while the third and final act of the film is so much fun.
It just feels like a breath of fresh air for not only the DCEU but comic book movies in general. The stakes are high, but it doesn’t feel like that, just seeing new comic book characters brought to life is always entertaining. When those characters come across the screen as well as they do here, it’s even better. The jokes mostly land, some don’t but with James Gunn directing you can expect a bunch of jokes and some will be better than others. Even some of the most violent and brutal action ends up being one of the funniest parts of the film and it feels like something only James Gunn could pull off.
Just from top to bottom, The Suicide Squad is a quality film that won’t be for everyone, but I loved every single second of it. This is what a comic book movie should feel and look like. Bright, splash pages coming to life. Absurd characters popping off the screen, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. We need to see these characters again soon because they were all home runs, and I hope maybe they will pop again in another DCEU movie. King Shark not having a little cameo in Aquaman 2 just seems like a missed opportunity if you ask me. Tons of fun, plenty of laughs, and many memorable moments.
The Suicide Squad – 83/100