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The Suicide Squad (2021) – Review: A Funny, Endearing, and Violent Superhero Movie That Will Put a Smile On Your Face

August 7, 2021

Quick Thoughts: Grade – A – The James Gunn directed The Suicide Squad is pure delight. If you are looking for a bloody, brutal and hilarious superhero movie, it doesn’t get any better. 

The great thing about The Suicide Squad is that there will never be a “James Gunn Cut.” You can tell it’s almost exactly what Gunn wanted to make, and he had zero worries about cutting anything down to a PG-13. He got all the songs he wanted, the movie starts with Michael Rooker killing a bird, and it features a man-sized weasel belly flopping into the ocean. The Suicide Squad is pure R-rated well-managed insanity that delivers a healthy dose of shock and heart. 

What’s great about The Suicide Squad is how Michael Rooker’s character Savant is quickly recruited by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis – hilariously tired) to join a makeshift Suicide Squad that will be running a secret mission in the small South American island Corto Maltese. Savant is teamed up with Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman – very good), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie – also very good), Weasel (Sean Gunn), Javelin (Flula Borg), Mongal (Mayling Ng), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), T.D.K. (Nathan Fillion) and the returning Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney). Their mission quickly goes south, and they find themselves battling the entire Corto Maltsian military while another group of Suicide Squaders wade peacefully onto the shores further up the island. 

This is where the movie splits into two narratives as Harley is captured and forced to meet with Presidente General Silvio Luna (Juan Diego Botto), who has an interest in Harley and will soon find himself out of his league. The other narrative focuses on new characters Bloodsport (Idris Elba – so good), Peacemaker (John Cena), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior – the MVP of the movie), Polka-Dot Man (David Mastmalchian), and King Shark (voice by Sylvester Stallone) sneaking onto the island so they can capture a scientist named Thinker (Peter Capaldi), and enter a secret laboratory that is home to a wonderfully weird alien. It would be a shame to spoil any of the wild delights that Gunn has in store, just know that there are adorable rats, soldiers ripped in half, and some brutal fights.

The film is a massive improvement over David Ayer’s 2016 movie Suicide Squad because the characters are allowed to have fun, and the narrative isn’t splintered due to reshoots and studio interference. The highlights include Daniela Melchior who finds heart and humor in her rat-controlling character Ratcatcher 2, and Idris Elba who is cranky, funny, insecure, deadly and not afraid to look silly on screen. It’s also cool seeing Margot Robbie thrive as Harley Quinn. She gets some of the best moments in the movie (she kills a lot of people – it’s neat), and I’d love to see her work with James Gunn again as they seem to have an understanding of Harley Quinn and her motivations. Another impressive aspect about the movie is how the finale stays relatively grounded, despite featuring a large CGI kaiju knocking over buildings like they are dominos. You know where all of the characters are, and they all play an important role in battling a large alien who is justifiably pissed off at being imprisoned for 30+ years. 

The Suicide Squad is so good because it’s weird, violent, bloody and very endearing. It’s hard to think of the last time I liked the characters so much in a superhero film (Ant-Man and the Wasp might be the last film I loved), and it will be fun to rewatch, so I can discover more Easter eggs and jokes that were missed the first time around. 

Final thoughts: I can’t think of the last time a comic book movie made me so happy.

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