They're dying to save the world.
The Suicide Squad is a 2021 superhero film directed by James Gunn, written by James Gunn, produced by DC Films, Atlas Entertainment, and The Safran Company, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based off of various Suicide Squad comics by DC Comics. The film stars Idris Elba and John Cena. It was not nominated for any Academy Awards. This is the eleventh film in the DC Extended Universe. It acts as a standalone sequel to Suicide Squad. It was followed by Peacemaker.
"We're all gonna die." -Bloodsport
After countless missions, Amanda Waller assembles a new team of misfit criminals to helm one of the most important and dangerous operations yet: Operation Starfish. Using Robert DuBois, aka Bloodsport, as leader of the new Suicide Squad, the team of villains must infiltrate a large government science lab that is holding a horrifying monster that could end the world as we know it.
DCEU Trending Upwards / James Gunn / War Movie Aesthetic / Suicide Squad Itself / Stakes / Main Characters / Finale / Different Than Rest of DCEU / Villains / Tone / Harley Quinn / The Thinker / Peacemaker in the Finale / After-Credits / Connection to DCEU
The DCEU is trending up.
After the disgusting failure that was Josstice League, Warner Bros. has fixed their universe by giving their directors more freedom to do what they want. Since the 2017 version of Justice League, we've gotten Aquaman, Shazam!, Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman 1984, Zack Snyder's Justice League, and, now The Suicide Squad. Those are all solid movies, with the obvious weak link being WW84, which isn't a terrible movie, but not as good as the other ones on that list.
The Suicide Squad benefits from James Gunn directing and writing. This film has a very distinct style and flavor that clearly spawns from Gunn's dark sense of humor. He is very good at making these kinds of movies. We've already seen him do a PG-13 version of The Suicide Squad in the MCU with the Guardians of the Galaxy duology. Here, he makes a much more violent and much more grotesque version of Guardians with characters from DC Comics.
Gunn also borrows heavily from 70s and 80s war movies as inspiration for The Suicide Squad. At points, the film definitely can feel like First Blood or Apocalypse Now while being it's own thing entirely. This gritty 70s aesthetic gives the film a more real feel to it. Another thing that contributes to the real feel is the production design. This film uses real sets and stuntwork to immerse the audience in the movie. There is CGI, but the setting is all real. The explosions are actual fire. The fight scenes are choreographed sequences instead of computer-generated images.
The film also manages to make all seventeen members of The Suicide Squad memorable. From Harley Quinn to King Shark, each member has something unique about their personality or character that makes them pop. Certain members are given much more screen time than others, making them more memorable, but every character has something to offer to the team. They all leave their mark on the squad, whether it's a good thing or a bad thing.
The film also has high stakes. Even the most popular characters, like Harley Quinn and Amanda Waller, are not safe during this movie. Characters are killed off in sudden, gruesome ways that leave you horrified. This aspect causes you to be on the edge of your seat during every action sequence, wondering which characters will make it out alive.
I think that our main characters are easily the best part of the film, however. When I say main characters, I'm referring to Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Ratcatcher 2, and Harley Quinn. They are, to me, the standouts. Each of them does something interesting throughout the film that I did not expect. I think Ratcatcher is the standout. I did not expect her to be such a fleshed out character and such a big part of the film, and I was genuinely surprised by how much I liked her character.
The finale of this film also delivers. Starro is a cool foe for The Suicide Squad, and he is used well as a villain that needs to be defeated. There are great moments of payoff and heroic sacrifices that I really appreciated. There are multiple things going on that eventually converge into one, big fight scene, and I liked the way that that was done. It's hard for me to talk about the finale without spoiling anything, but if you've seen the movie, you probably understand what I'm talking about.
The Suicide Squad will be remembered as one of the best films in the DCEU because it's so different than everything we've gotten before this. The DCEU started off as a cinematic universe that was trying to be a much darker, much more bleak version of the MCU. When Man of Steel, BVS, and Justice League didn't meet expectations, they transitioned into a less connected story that allowed directors to be wacky and inject more fun into their films. And The Suicide Squad is a product of that change. It's one of the most memorable and unique films inside of the DCEU, and I really, really liked that.
There are a few big problems with The Suicide Squad. First off: the villains. Throughout most of the movie, the villains are these two government officials in Corto Maltese. They are pretty much generic, underdeveloped villains that ultimately serve no purpose, because they aren't the main antagonists of the film. Since you have so many main cast members on the hero side of things, the villains are sidelined and not given much room for development.
Second off, the tone is all over the place. We cut from scenes of heads getting blown off on a beach to Harley Quinn in a rom-com. I've been saying this for a lot of movies recently, but that makes the movie super uneven at times. The DCEU has always struggled with tone, and they still haven't really found a way to fix that problem.
I've always enjoyed Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and I've always had fun with the character, but she's frustrating, because she's kind of different in every movie. She is not the main character in Suicide Squad, so she works as a nice cherry on top in that movie. She's given the spotlight in Birds of Prey. Margot Robbie was handed the reins and given tons of freedom to take the character in all sorts of directions. She also gets a great arc in that movie. She was easily at a high point there. However, in this, she's given the side character treatment again. Idris Elba is the main character in this film, and Harley is a side character, but that's a weird adjustment to make since we just saw her as the main character of her own movie. It can be frustrating to see her act like herself but not have that much development or that much of an arc.
I was also disappointed by how The Thinker was handled. They set him up to be this major character throughout the movie, and I don't think he's that important or interesting. I do not like the way that they resolve his character or how quickly they resolved him. I wish they would've done more with him.
The one thing that felt kind of off about the finale was Peacemaker. They make some bold decisions with him that I'm not sure entirely work. His motivations for what he does are not quite explained and he needed more development for what happens to actually feel earned.
The post-credits scenes are also kind of lame. Since Justice League, the DCEU started doing after-credits scenes...and so far, none of them have been paid off. And it feels like that's the direction that both of these after-credits scenes are going. They are worth watching, no doubt, but one of them is going to be left hanging for a while and the other teases something we already knew was coming.
Finally, I wish the connection to the outside DCEU was clarified. I don't know whether this film takes place in the main continuity of the DCEU. That's never confirmed or denied. The DCEU canon has been messed up since the Snyder Cut, because people aren't sure which Justice League is canon. And, now, it feels like The Suicide Squad has made that problem more complicated.
Analogy and Final Score
The DCEU is a restaurant. The restaurant usually makes burgers and salads. They started with simple cheeseburgers and Greek salads, but those weren't well received, so they let the chefs make their own specialities. The chefs made their own exotic burgers and salads, but then James Gunn comes in as a chef and makes spaghetti. The spaghetti itself is great. Some of the toppings aren't as good and it's nothing like the usual burger or salad, but it's a hit dish that most of the customers liked.
I will go Savory. Age range is 13+.
SWEET N' SOUR REVIEWS
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)
"The Suicide Squad"
Fun Factor: 8.5/10
Characters: 8/10 Quality: 8/10
Directed by James Gunn
Rated R for strong bloody violence, language, sexual elements, frightening and intense scenes
Released on August 6, 2021
2 hours and 12 minutes
Idris Elba as Robert DuBois/Bloodsport
John Cena as Christopher Smith/Peacemaker
Daniela Melchior as Cleo Cazo/Ratcatcher 2
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
David Dastmalchian as Abner Krill/Polka-Dot Man
Joel Kinnaman as Colonel Rick Flag
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
Peter Capaldi as Gaius Grieves/The Thinker
Sylvester Stallone as King Shark
Michael Rooker as Brian Durlin/Savant
Jai Courtney as George Harkness/Captain Boomerang
Pete Davidson as Richard Hertz/Blackguard
Mayling Ng as Mongal
Flula Borg as Gunter Braun/Javelin
Nathan Fillion as Corey Pitzner/The Detachable Kid
Sean Gunn as Weasel
Juan Diego Botto as Silvio Luna
Joaquin Cosio as Mateo Suarez