Feature Length Films

Mr. Khan’s Review on The Suicide Squad (2021)

A review on American Superhero film, The Suicide Squad (2021). The film is considered a “soft reboot/ sequel” to the 2016 film Suicide Squad and is directed by James Gunn. The film includes a stacked cast of actors including Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman and Sylvester Stallone. The Suicide Squad is part of the DCEU and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

+ Crew

  • Directed by James Gunn
  • Written by James Gunn
  • Cinematography by Henry Braham
  • Music by John Murphy
  • Edited by Fred Raskin and Christian Wagner
  • Production by DC Films, Atlas Entertainment and The Safran Company
  • Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures

+ Note

After the surprise success of James Gunn’s film for MCU Guardians Of The Galaxy in 2014, Warner Bros. and DCEU introduced their own band of misfits known as the Suicide Squad and David Ayer was set to direct the film. Suicide Squad (2016) was unfortunately met with mostly negative reviews from the critics and fans as the film failed to encapsulate the fun and excitement of what made GOTG such a fun experience to watch. Many sources indicate that it was due Warner Bros.’ constant meddling, reshoots and re-edits of the film that sabotaged David Ayer’s original vision of the film. In order to rectify their mistake, Warner Bros. decided to approach the man himself, James Gunn to handle the “soft reboot/ sequel” to Suicide Squad, giving him virtually full creative control on the project. The director (this time around) optied for a hard R rating on the film with full of violence, gore and dark humor. Considering James Gunn’s previous cult classics like Slither (2006) and Super (2010) , he seemed very familiar with the genre.

Some actors (who already had a fan following) retained their roles from the first film, including Margot Robbie as the maniacal Harley Quinn and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. But it also introduced strange, disposable D-List Superheroes/villains from DC Comics like Polka-Dot Man, Peacemaker and King Shark. The film was released in cinemas on July 30, 2021 and has met with praise from the critics and fans alike.

+ Main Cast

  1. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
  2. Idris Elba as Robert DuBois / Bloodsport
  3. John Cena as Christopher Smith / Peacemaker
  4. Joel Kinnaman as Colonel Rick Flag
  5. Sylvester Stallone as the voice of Nanaue / King Shark
  6. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
  7. David Dastmalchian as Abner Krill / Polka-Dot Man
  8. Daniela Melchior as Cleo Cazo / Ratcatcher 2
  9. Michael Rooker as Brian Durlin / Savant
  10. Jai Courtney as George “Digger” Harkness / Captain Boomerang
  11. Peter Capaldi as Gaius Grieves / The Thinker
  12. Alice Braga as Sol Soria
  13. Pete Davidson as Richard “Dick” Hertz / Blackguard

+ Plot

The American government needs a team to counter their foreign enemies. A team of super powered individuals who are instantly disposable and never to be mentioned again. Enter: The Suicide Squad! Lead by Amanda Waller and includes loveable characters like the psychopath Harley Quinn, the redeemable Bloodsport, the patriot Peacemaker and many other losers. Can the team band together and fight an adversary which threatens humanity’s very existence on planet Earth?

+ High Points

i – James Gunn knows how to make a fun premise. Judging by his filmography, he is very familiar with dark humor and cartoonishly absurd gore and violence in his films. Unlike the disaster that was Suicide Squad (2016), THE Suicide Squad (2021) is hilarious, quince inducing and exciting from the start to finish. The characters are likable, the action is fast paced, the pacing is never stagnated, The Suicide Squad knows its absurd premise and runs away with it. It’s an acquired taste (most certainly) and will not be everyone’s cup of tea but then again, it never needs to be.

ii – The main cast of characters are all fun to watch. Harley Quinn (this time around) is much better handled, her psychotic character is better explored as compared to being an “eye candy” for the fan boys to slobber over. Also new characters such as Bloodsport (Idris Elba) is a much better fit to the film as compared to Will Smith, John Cena is great as Peacemaker and minor characters like Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2, David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man and Sylvester Stallone as King Shark also tend to grow on you throughout the film’s runtime. What made Guardians Of The Galaxy a likeable bunch was due to their offbeat characterizations and even though The Suicide Squad is way more darker, it still manages to find a place in your heart to root for at the end.

iii – Although the film is not as funny as James Gunn’s previous works (I’ll get to that later in the Low Points section), The Suicide Squad is still a blast to watch. Not all jokes land but the ones that do land will have you laugh out loud. Most of the gags poke fun at how absurd the whole concept of being a “superhero/ villain” is and how utterly disposable some of them are! You have absurd powers like throwing deadly Polka Dots at someone or having detachable arms or being an anthropomorphic Shark or a Weasel or… the list just goes on. It’s obvious that James Gunn just loves the absurdity of the D-List characters in Superhero comics and just wants to have a laugh at their expense!

iv – The R rating works perfectly for the film. The Suicide Squad would’ve never been half as enjoyable if not for its foul language, dark humor and brain exploding, blood splattering hardcore violence. The first film really suffered for not having a R rating and felt muted from the themes that the film could’ve explored. Even though I am an advocate that not all films need to be R rated, some films definitely need it to explore their true potential. And films like Deadpool (2016), Logan (2017) and The Suicide Squad thrive in entertainment because of that.

v – Some scenes like Harley Quinn’s escape sequence and the invasion of the Rebel Camp are incredibly well shot and directed. James Gunn and Henry Braham did an outstanding job in delivering those scenes with flair and excitement without overstaying their welcome. The camerawork was controlled but never stagnating, the timing of the humor was great and the film can become instantly memorable because of them. While Phase 4 Marvel films are becoming more and more stale and generic, The Suicide Squad injects some life onto the superhero films and how creative they can be.

vi – Even though the film’s pacing is not a complete smooth sail from start to finish, the Third Act could possibly be one of the most memorable fight scenes in recent memory. I will not spoil what it is but let’s just say it fully embraced the absurdity of the world of Superheroes.

+ Low Points

i – Not everything is perfect about the film, namely the humor. While some jokes landed well, others did feel a bit tiresome. The film does at times push the supposed “nudging” to the audience a bit too far. The Suicide Squad is not as funny as his previous Guardians Of The Galaxy films where I felt we genuinely loved each and every character in the group. Whereas with The Suicide Squad, (due to the character’s disposable nature) you can’t really fall in love with them because they are essentially murderers. While The Suicide Squad is a fun film to watch, there is a lack in emotional investment that the audience could potentially feel for our protagonists as compared to GOTG.

ii – Peter Capaldi as Gaius Grieves / The Thinker was unfortunately not a villain you could wholeheartedly hate upon. His character and motivations were not sufficiently built upon for us to despise him. And because of that, the rooting for the Suicide Squad to succeed seems a bit timid. The film needed a strong antagonist for our team to fight against and no matter how deplorable our “heroes” are, the film needed an even bigger baddy to counter against. There are other “villains” that are introduced later in the film but by that time, it was a tad bit too late.

iii –  As I mentioned earlier, there is a bit too much “winking” at the audience as if to say “Can you believe how crazy this all is??”. Some jokes perhaps should have been left on the cutting room floor but I suppose that is the risk a work of Art has when the creator is in (almost) full control of his project.

+ Overall

The Suicide Squad is a blast to watch from start to finish. And even though it will not serve as everyone’s cup of tea, it’s entertaining to see some life and creativity injected into the superhero genre once again.

Rate : out of 5 stars