The Suicide Squad (2021) Movie Review

Before anything, let’s get this thing out of the way: Sure, it’s a valid point; but to say that “The Suicide Squad” is the DC Extended Universe’s (DCEU) version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) ‘Guardian of the Galaxy’ series does the film a great disservice.

The film basks in its own over-the-top irreverence: It gives all DCEU skeptics and haters the nastiest middle finger it could conjure—while going for the kill right away through a chaotic mix of hyperviolence and comedy that subverts the conventions of superhero film narratives.

A scene from The Suicide Squad

The Suicide Squad is Back, Bigger and Badder (but Better?)  

As a film that hangs by a thread to associate itself as a sequel to the awful predecessor, “The Suicide Squad” immediately introduces us to the first minutes of full hell. A mission gone haywire is something to expect from a team named as such; but director James Gunn pulls a few rugs from under our feet to set off a guesswork throughout the runtime. Think of it as a war film featuring a few other genres—while adhering to Quentin Tarantino’s narrative style.

New additions to the story not only enhance the overall quality, but also to make up for the wattage lost (or the lack thereof in the first place). We see Idris Elba’s Bloodsport begrudgingly accepting the suicide mission from Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller because of blackmail. The mission: the destruction of a secret facility named Jotunheim off the fictional island nation of Corto Maltese, a place built by Nazis and now commissioned by the country to house suspicious experiments.

As a seasoned marksman sent to prison for shooting Superman with a Kryptonite bullet, Bloodsport has the makings of a leader, something Waller wants to take advantage of. Along with Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Blodsport leads a team of amateurs and outcasts; many of whom don’t even want to be there.

A scene from The Suicide Squad

A Film Wearing the Director’s Penchant for Oxymoron Up Its Sleeve

At worst, “The Suicide Squad” is an anomaly—an oxymoron, if you may. It paces itself confidently with nonlinear storytelling only to drag on with exposition to set up the previous reveals. It openly satirizes jingoism but also justifies coverups for the ‘greater good’.

But at best?

This is the DCEU film I’ve been waiting for, an eclectic alchemy of tonal differences that shouldn’t work.

And yet, they do.

It’s loud but also intimate, stupid but also smart, bad…but also so, so good.

On Being Arguably the Best Film in the DCEU

This is what happens when creative control is given to the director and his crew, provided that the filmmakers know their [stuff]. Thankfully, the man in the chair knows his stuff, and his trademarks are hard to miss. The unapologetic violence that pays homage to the source materials. The screenplay that almost toys with the audience. The choices of songs to serve as backdrop music—“The Suicide Squad” isn’t in any way ‘GotG’ redux.

Simply put, it’s a beast of its own.

With a better storyline this time and (arguably) better cast, we’ve got one of DCEU’s best outings. But more importantly, this latest installment to the canon is the brainchild of the mad, twisted genius of director James Gunn.

Paul Emmanuel Enicola on Twitter
Paul Emmanuel Enicola

A self-described cinephile who can’t stop talking—and writing—about films. Paul also moonlights as ghostwriter and editor for a few memoirs. He currently resides in the Philippines.

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