THE SUICIDE SQUAD Movie Review: What You Need To Know About James Gunn’s DC Extended Universe Entry Starring Margot Robbie
Compared to Marvel’s box office hits, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has been slower off the block. 2021’s The Suicide Squad aims to change that perception and prove that the DCEU can hold its own against the unprecedented was before the success of Marvel’s film catalog. According to the vast majority who have seen it, The Suicide Squad is more than just a worthy recommendation for a night of entertainment; it’s a genuine thrill ride from start to finish.
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The Suicide Squad was released worldwide in theaters and on HBO Max in late July & early August of 2021. As a standalone sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad, the movie is the tenth film in the DCEU. Despite speculative confusion prior to the film’s release, The Suicide Squad is a sequel to the 2016 film. This is no reboot or remake, and fans of the original will be pleased to know that there is plenty of continuity present.
Directed by James Gunn, the film’s story clearly shows the world-famous director’s influence. Gunn is well-known for bringing relatively unknown characters to a level of mass appeal, his most notable example being the Guardians of the Galaxy. Drawing inspiration from war films and 80’s comic books, Gunn’s fresh take on the Suicide Squad introduces new characters in a compelling narrative. The story itself is self-contained, and you don’t need to have watched the first movie to enjoy this one.
The Suicide Squad can certainly stand well enough on its own. The movie features an ensemble cast, with a few actors reprising their roles from the first movie. A-list celebrities such as Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, and Sylvester Stallone add weight to the script. There are standout performances from lesser-known actors like Daniela Melchior that flesh out the film’s talent roster.
Casting choices are excellent across the board, and character development is well-paced throughout the movie. There is plenty of action, and it’s all entertaining. However, the action & drama wouldn’t hit as well as they do were it not for the quieter moments in the film. Gunn and crew have a talent for creating likable (or hated) characters. By the end of the film, many viewers will be surprised by how attached they are to some debut characters.
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The opening to The Suicide Squad also makes it clear that this is a James Gunn movie. The director’s style is instantly recognizable, especially after his string of box office hits. Catchy 70’s tracks yet again lead the way from the opening credits, smoothly transitioning into the introduction of Michael Rooker’s character. Named Savant, Rooker plays a criminal blessed with preternatural aim & foresight. As the first member of the new Suicide Squad, Savant is introduced to his team members, none of whom he seems very eager to work with.
For those unfamiliar, the Suicide Squad is a team of convicts forced to work for a secretive branch of the US government. Their indentured servitude is enforced via explosive collars around each criminal’s neck. These aren’t your typical thugs and robbers though, each member is either a villain or supervillain from DC Comics’ extensive comic book history.
Instead of only one Suicide Squad like the last film, there are two teams this time around. Both groups are collectively named ‘Task Force X’ by government agent Amanda Waller, played by Viola Davis. Davis reprises her role from 2016’s Suicide Squad to significant effect, perfectly portraying the hubris of an overtly patriotic politician. Joel Kinneman also returns as Colonel Rick Flag, Waller’s second-in-command, a fan favorite, and the only member of Task Force X without a criminal record.
The rest of Task Force X consists of several familiar characters. However, the majority are new faces in DCEU’s fledgling franchise. Jai Courtney returns as Boomerang, and Margot Robbie fulfils her iconic role as Harley Quinn. Idris Alba plays the new character Bloodsport, a hitman with a conscience, and the leader of Task Force X. John Cena is terrific in his role as a new character named Peacemaker.
The banter between Bloodsport & Peacemaker is particularly noteworthy; in fact, all the team dialogue is consistently solid. Every member of Task Force X portrays their role perfectly. The jokes hit more than they miss, and heartfelt moments feel surprisingly sincere, especially considering the crazy lengths the plot ends up going to.
From a devilish dictator to cute but carnivorous critters, The Suicide Squad makes full use of its 132-minute runtime. There’s never a dull moment, and the escalating plot is one heck of a rollercoaster. It’s hard to describe the story any further without spoiling key moments, so let’s just say that the DCEU seems to have embraced the absurdity of the Suicide Squad, and in this case, it’s all the better for it.
The Suicide Squad is just a fun movie; it’s as simple as that. It’s a popcorn blockbuster that confidently aims & successfully manages to please its audience. The result is exactly what the DCEU needed, a jumpstart to becoming a worthy contender for Marvel’s crown. The Suicide Squad is a movie you can enjoy with friends or on your own, and it’s got a little something for everyone.
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Despite numerous complications during early production, such as a change in director and a rewritten script, The Suicide Squad has proven to be a strong foundation for the DCEU. With a problematic release window amid significant global change, the movie managed to do more than just well enough. It currently sits at a Rotten Tomato approval rating of 90%, one of the highest aggregates for any comic book movie.
Along with overwhelmingly positive reviews, The Suicide Squad was praised for numerous improvements over its predecessor. The movie delivers on all aspects, be it the acting, directing, filmmaking, or script. From intense battles to scenes of serenity, The Suicide Squad expertly portrays a constant parade of finely balanced moments. We heartily recommend giving it a go if you’ve not done so already.