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The Suicide Squad Review

August 6, 2021 | Posted by Rob Stewart
The Suicide Squad
8
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The Suicide Squad Review  

Suicide Squad is an R-rated movie.

And don’t worry, because the movie sure as fuck wants you to know it.

Unlike the Zack Snyder’s Reheated Justice League Movie from earlier in this year which was seemingly given an R-rating by the skin of its teeth in an attempt to feel edgier than it should have been (THE JOKER MAKES A HANDJOB JOKE TO BATMAN, GUYS!), James Gunn’s Suicide Squad sequel embraces its R with all of its heart and soul.

The violence and language in this flick could almost make the Deadpool movies blush. There are sequences of the movie that are just the characters saying the F-word over and over. King Shark beheads a guy and rolls his victim’s confused face around in his mouth. Remember the Harley Quinn beanbag assault on the police in Birds of Prey? She has a similar scene here which is significantly more bloody–even as animated princess flowers and cartoon animals float around her.

None of this is to say that being crude and vicious are good; just grabbing the R rating brass ring doesn’t inherently make a movie watchable. And going nuts with what the rating lets you do doesn’t excuses a bad movie’s warts. So now that we know that the 2021 iteration of The Suicide Squad is hardcore… is it quality?

I am pleased to say that it very much is. Given the, at best, uneven nature of the DCEU to this point, this was a relief!

James Gunn Drops Major Tease for Final The Suicide Squad Trailer

Everyone really brings their A-game into this one. From James Gunn, who really adds a sense of style and flair and lets the film just breathe on its own, to the cast, all of whom shine to various degrees, there really doesn’t seem to be any slouching here. Gunn’s occasional on-screen chapter titling, which seems to possibly be a subtle shot at both the MCU’s ridiculous on-screen location blasts and the Zack Snyder’s Justice League’s pretentious chapter breaks, are often a lot of fun and creatively displayed amidst whatever else is on screen at the moment. There are a few non-sequential scenes that back everything up, but it’s done far better than was attempted in Birds of Prey. Gunn is telling the story in a very in-your-face style because he has the panache to do so and still let it work within the confines of what he is creating.

The cast is huge, and as we all suspected going in, some actors have far more to do than others. There is a core group you likely guessed from the trailers, though, with Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, John Cena, Daniela Melchior, Sylvester Stallone, Joel Kinnamen, and David Dastmalchian being the heaviest lifters. All of them work; every single one. Their characters are all a joy in one way or another, and no one feels buried. The weakest among them MAY be Dastmalchian’s Polka-Dot Man, but even his character has a recurring shtick that really hits every time it comes up.

Is there a negative or two? Definitely. The DCEU still manages to have MASSIVE issues with their special effects, as everything they do seems to look like movies from five years earlier than they were made. Everything here works until Starro, and while the conqueror doesn’t look horrible, he certainly is much more cartoonish and unbelievable than everything around him. Opposite that, though, King Shark is consistently brilliant, so they are getting there.

Additionally, in spite of its Rotten Tomatoes score, this is a movie I could 100% see not having universal appeal. If you told me you found it too goofy, bloody, long, unimportant, or formulaic for your tastes… I couldn’t really argue against that. For me, this movie touched what I wanted it to be, but at the end of the day, it’s essentially just another overlong comic book flick with all the jokes and punch-ups we’ve come to expect. Even with Gunn swinging for the fences with his vision, there is no new ground here. If you are looking for something fresh, this ain’t it.

All told, though, this really works and is a complete joy to watch. The ensemble cast all perfectly share the screen and let each other shine.

UPDATED DCEU ERA DC MOVIE RATINGS

I still don’t hate WW84. So sue me. But I bet it falls a bit when I finally rewatch it. Also, some of these are REAL close. JL/ZSJL and BoP/BvS are both toss-ups I could switch depending on how I feel when I wake up.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Stew World Order podcast on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, Spotify, SWOProductions.com, or whoever else. Did you enjoy King Shark in The Suicide Squad? Our newest episode (8/1/21) looks back to another Sylvester Stallone comic book effort: JUDGE DREDD! That… definitely got a lower score than this. But by how much? Listen in!

8.0
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Fun and stylistic, this is pretty definitively the second best DCEU era DC flick for me. Not sure #3 even comes that close.
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The Suicide Squad, Rob Stewart