Movie Review: The Suicide Squad (2021)

A stand alone sequel to, if not complete reboot of 2016’s Suicide Squad is The Suicide Squad, directed by James Gunn and released onto HBO Max in 2021. Under the eye of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), the titular Suicide Squad is put together to help overthrow a corrupt government in Corto Maltese, while simultaneously infiltrating a top secret laboratory run by The Thinker (Peter Capaldi). The team is led by Colonel Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), and includes the returning Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) as well as newcomers Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Ratcatcher II (Daniela Melchior), Weasel (Sean Gunn), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) and Savant (frequent Gunn collaborator, Michael Rooker) and many more.

+ the entire cast is great, with the interplay between Squad members being done to perfection, with Peacemaker and Bloodsport’s professional rivalry a standout for a scene or two. Captain Boomerang, Peacemaker, Weasel and King Shark were my personal favourites, with Boomerang once again having the single most quotable line in the film – Jai Courtney really nailed this character and it would be a waste to not have him go up against Ezra Miller’s Flash at some point
+ the movie is incredibly violent and gory in a way that almost comes across as parody, not dissimilar to what Deadpool did for the X-Men franchise. Uncountable enemy fodder, and several of the Squad themselves, are dismembered, decapitated, or turned into Bolognese at any stage with most given the appropriate amount of weight (though I do say most, as not all of the main character deaths, of which there are many, feel important or even relevant – maybe they were just death for death’s sake, or for a shock value)
+ I think I speak for everyone when I say this was significantly funnier than I thought it would be. As mentioned, Captain Boomerang and King Shark are hilarious, though each in different ways, and there is even some physical comedy in the film’s ultra violence
+ it’s a cheap way to get a pop from me, so to speak, but I love those fancy scene titles, such as a “three days earlier” made out of spilled blood or what have you. Big titles on the screen are good, but these creative ones are great
+ Harley spends some of the film in a much more classic red/black attire. I don’t think we’ll ever see a proper unitard, but this was close enough. It almost looked more like the Arkham video game series’ costume

– as to be expected, some of the ensemble do feel wasted or at the very least misused. I won’t name them here, obviously, but with the whole point of the movie being that anyone can and will die at any time, there are bound to be some narrative casualties, so to speak
– there are some plot points that feel either overly contrived or outright dismissive of the character’s pre-established backgrounds, be that through their source comics or the previous film. As a non-spoiler example, Harley is meant to be a bit of a ditz, but she’s not meant to be an idiot. As a big fan of Harley Quinn, long before her inclusion in the first film and the abortion of filmmaking that was the Birds of Prey movie, this did in some ways feel like a step back from the only positive from that latter film

> I was genuinely quite surprised at the survivors/deaths from the Squad. Big balls on whoever made some of those decisions
> in a fun little set of happenstance, while cameoing as Calendar Man, Sean Gunn makes fun of Polka-Dot Man (Dastmalchian). Dastmalchian just voiced Calendar Man in the Batman: The Long Halloween duology (review coming soon!)

Should you see this film: I enjoyed this movie a lot. It was by no means perfect, and to say this was the best DC film thus far might seem like damning with faint praise. But the lovable cast and the surprise of anyone being able to die at any time makes this well worth your time, even if you haven’t liked the previous DC films.

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