Honestly? I’m amazed this movie exists. Not just because they somehow managed to get James Gunn who somehow managed to convince DC to let him use characters like Polka-Dot Man and John Cena. But because the first movie was a fucking catastrophe!
It’s no secret that the first Suicide Squad was a butchered nightmare. It was a nearly finished movie, but then Warner Bros. decided to go in and completely change practically everything right at the last second. What resulted was a disjointed, confusing, boring, and sloppy half-hearted attempt at a Deadpool ripoff. Many people consider it to be one of, if not the, worst super hero movie of the last ten years. And I’m inclined to agree with them.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I watched the new Suicide Squad movie and discovered that it was, in fact, one of the best superhero movies of the last ten years.
In the South American island nation of Corto Maltese, the government has been replaced by an anti-American regime. Their plan to destroy America rests in Jötunheim, an old laboratory/tower, and is known Project Starfish. In order to prevent this, Amanda Waller sends in two teams, once again putting the Suicide Squad back in action. Now, it’s up to a rag-tag group of criminals, idiots, and a giant shark-man to destroy Jötunheim, end Project Starfish, and otherwise save America. Or so they believe…
It’s not an especially complicated plot. It’s coherent, which is already a huge step up from the first one. And… well, it’s a huge step up in every other regard as well! The characters get more screen time and character development, so you actually know who they are and care about them. Most of the antagonists are used more as jokes than proper threats, but the main threat of the movie is suitably menacing. It’s a very simple, funny, and dark story.
Granted, not all of it works. The ‘twist’ near the end is underwhelming, a good number of the characters introduced at the beginning are killed off before they could do anything interesting or funny aside from die (which does work well into the darker tone of the movie, but it detracts from the characters itself, so it’s a double-edged sword), and as I said earlier, the villains are lackluster. It’s not an airtight narrative, but it’s still the best DC movie story told in a loooong fucking time.
I love how creative this movie is! James Gunn seemingly picked a random bunch of DC villains, some familiar and some new and some straight-up stupid, and found a way to make them all memorable and compelling! Not to mention that there are tons of fun creative scenes, like the stealth assassination show-off duel between Idris Elba and John Cena. There are even some creative visuals, like Harley’s escape rampage! This feels like the first DC movie in ages that’s actually trying to do something fun!
The whole movie is also pretty damn funny. Granted, comedy is entirely subjective (which is why I really need to stop reviewing comedies). But there weren’t many jokes that missed for me in this movie. I haven’t laughed this hard at a comic book movie in a long time.
It’s also very visually compelling! This is the first DC movie in about ten years where the CGI isn’t distractingly awful! Not only that, but we get some super fun cinematography! Each major chapter of the story is segmented by these really creative text shots, where the text itself will be made of something in the environment (fire, a broken building, so on and so forth). I love it!
As for music, it’s alright. All the tracks work really well in the scenes we hear them in. But once the movie is done, you won’t remember much, if any, of it. Guardians of the Galaxy this movie is not.
Which is fine. Cause honestly? I like this movie more than GotG. James Gunn really outdid himself with this one.
The same compliment can be extended to the cast. Margot Robbie is still the perfect Harley Quinn. Idris Elba absolutely kills it as Bloodsport; his chemistry with Daniela Melchior, playing Ratcatcher, is phenomenal. And John Cena does a really good job as Peacemaker; the on-screen rivalry between Bloodsport and Peacemaker is easily one of the best parts of the movie purely because of these two actors.
Also, I just found out that Sylvester fucking Stallone voice King Shark, what the fuck?!
The Suicide Squad (can we all just pretend the first one doesn’t exist now, to avoid confusion?) is easily the best DC movie since the Dark Knight. And this is coming from the guy who adored Shazam! This movie is gruesome, creative, visually engaging, and fun to watch from beginning to end! If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Although this movie makes me wonder: what kind of film would Guardians of the Galaxy have been if James Gunn were allowed to make it R-rated?