Review: The Suicide Squad

2016’s Suicide Squad received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. What wasn’t mixed is the $746M the film pulled it at the box office. That box office haul let Warner Bros know the had some pieces to work with . Fast forward to 2021, director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) is brought in for a soft reboot titled The Suicide Squad.

Outside of the minor name change, there are a few other notable changes – this film is Rated R. Not just R, it’s a hard R for violence, language, and nudity. Peacemaker (John Cena), Bloodsport (Idris Elba), T.D.K (Nathan Fillion), Javelin (Fula Borg), Mongal (Mayling Ng), Nanaue aka King Shark  (voiced by Sylvester Stallone), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), and Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) have all joined Task Force X aka The Suicide Squad.

Led by Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), the mission Waller (Viola Davis) sends Task Force X on involves them infiltrating the island nation of Corto Maltese. There they must find a facility named Jotunheim and destroy something known as Project Starfish. To enter the facility, they have first have to kidnap The Thinker (Peter Capaldi) to gain access.

Comic books come in many different styles. For years, comic book movies felt like they came from the same very small palette of ideas. Thanks to Nolan’s The Dark Knight, that palette has expanded. With the surge of comic book stories making their way to television and streaming, the palette has grown exponentially

James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is what you get when you allow a visionary to use the full palette at his disposal to make a colorful crazy R rated comic book movie about a group of misfit criminals. The movie is a fun time from beginning to end. It’s incredibly violent and full of harsh language  – the things you’d expect. What’s unexpected is the film having a surprising amount of heart. That heart comes via Ratcatcher 2’s touching story about her father and Bloodsport being an assassin with a good heart. 

In a film full of crazy action sequences, there are two stand out scenes. The group rescuing Rick Flag is incredible scene of one-upmanship. It has gore, comedy, violence, and some incredible kills. The second being Harley’s (Margot Robbie) escape from the palace. Her escape is more like a violent ballet of bullets, bodies, and flowers. It’s one of the favorite sequences in a film this year. 

At the center of the film is a smart story about a local revolution and global politics. Gunn isn’t preachy with the commentary. The politics are necessary for the story and a really smart look at history and where we could’ve/could be headed.

The Suicide Squad is a lot of fun. It’s a delightful take on a bizarre comic book story that features some of DC Comics strangest characters. It’s been 13 years since The Dark Knight and they’re still finding ways to make interesting comic book movies. They should be fun, crazy, and take risks. I hope James Gunn continues to make them – hopefully we get more Task Force X stories.

Grade: B+