While James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad movie will not be releasing in theaters until August 5th and on HBOMax on August 6th I was lucky enough to get in on an early screening for the movie. For full transparency I got the early screening ticket thanks to an invite sent by Warner Bros as a subscriber of the DC Universe Infinite service.
Since I got to see the movie early I wanted to share my thoughts on The Suicide Squad movie. That said, since the movie has not released in the United States yet I will be keeping spoilers to a minimum, with this review focusing on the cast chemistry and general thoughts on the movie. I’ve also recorded this review as an audio podcast as part of the Comic Book Revolution Podcast feed for those that prefer things in podcast form.
Now for those that may not know the James Gunn directed The Suicide Squad is a follow-up to the 2016 Suicide Squad movie directed by David Ayer. While you can call this a sequel to the 2016 movie since Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, and Jai Courtney reprise their roles as Harley Quinn, Rick Flagg, Amanda Waller, and Captain Boomerang, respectively, the 2021 The Suicide Squad is more of a redo for this series. This movie comes across as a second chance to bring Suicide Squad franchise to the big screen.
And almost immediately The Suicide Squad lives up to its name. That is thanks to having a much larger cast for this version of the Suicide Squad team. The larger team, which includes Idris Elba as Bloodsport, John Cena as Peacemaker, Sylvester Stallone as King Shark, and Michael Rooker as Savant, keeps you on your toes the entire time. Gunn keeps you guessing with who will end up surviving when all is said and done. Some deaths actually coming across as a genuine surprise when they happen.
That said, the biggest thing that stood out to me was how much The Suicide Squad felt like I was watching a six to eight issue comic books mini-series being brought to life. The way Gunn structured the movie reminded me of how each issue of a comic book is normally paced out. The opening of the movie in particular stood out as we get introduced to all the new characters that join Harley Quinn, Rick Flagg, Amanda Waller, and Captain Boomerang in this movie. The tone for the opening is reminiscent to a great first issue of a comic book. That is something as a comic book fan that I greatly appreciated.
Gunn brings a lot of surprising heart to this movie. No matter how much time you spend with the characters from the previous movie or the ones you are introduced to here, there is a lot of depth to characters I did not expect. For the amount of time we spend with them, Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher and Sylvester Stallone as King Shark were the two biggest surprises on this front. Even when I was not familiar with these characters The Suicide Squad movie brought on a desire within me to find comic books with these character in order learn more about them.
Out of the entire cast it was Idris Elba as Bloodsport and John Cena as Peacemaker who absolutely stole the show. Gunn makes the great decision of pairing these two with each other. Both characters having similar skill sets made their chemistry work extremely well, especially during action sequences. There was a sense of competition between the two that allowed the comedic beats that Bloodsport and Peacemaker had work even better. The chemistry that is built up between the two made for one of the best moments of the entire movie during the third act.
Like Elba and Cena, Margot Robbie does a great job with her portrayal of Harley Quinn. As we saw with the Birds of Prey movie, Harley Quinn works best in an ensemble cast where she can play off other characters who are her opposite. When she is interacting with the rest of the Suicide Squad the character is at her best. Robbie definitely turns in her best performance to date as Harley Quinn, both from the action performed and character development.
Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flagg is a much better character this time around. In the previous Suicide Squad movie they tried to hard to put over Rick Flagg as a Captain America type. Rick Flagg still falls under the same type of character here but since he is sharing the screen with more characters the focus can be more on his actions rather than his dialogue.
Similarly, Viola Davis portrayal as Amanda Waller is head and shoulders above previous appearances of the character. It could be argued this is the best version of Amanda Waller we’ve ever gotten, competing with the depiction of the character in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. Davis portrays the character as the ultimate leader of a government agency who only cares about results. This helps elevate how the mission that the Suicide Squad are forced to go on to be a much better story.
Now for all my positives of The Suicide Squad this not a perfect film. One of the things that holds it back is that there are many scenes that go on for a little too long. There are even certain characters that just come across as unnecessary. All their roles do is just add more time to the movie’s length and could’ve been cut to make the movie’s pacing better.
Peter Capaldi’s The Thinker was another negative. Capaldi is just not given a lot of material to make the Thinker more than a one-dimensional villain. Which goes back to the villain problem that most superhero movies have had. Luckily Gunn does find a way within the developments of the movie to improve the antagonists of The Suicide Squad during the final act of the movie.
Overall, I enjoyed The Suicide Squad much more than I thought I would. The more I think of this movie the more I am remembering all the scenes I enjoyed. The chemistry between the entire cast and Gunn’s directing make this easily the best movie in the DCEU era. I highly recommend you watch this movie when it releases on August 5th.
MOVIE RATING: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
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