Written and directed by James Gunn (Slither, Guardians of the Galaxy), The Suicide Squad is a reboot of sorts of the 2016 David Ayer Suicide Squad. You know, the one that Warner Brothers just couldn’t keep their hands out of? ANYWAY.
James Gunn clearly had a vision and he was not going to make the film unless he had 95% of the control. And, I’m happy that the studio has, seemingly, learned from their mistake and allowed him to have almost complete control. The Suicide Squad boldly gets rid of the characters that we know so well and gives us B-list replacements, which works wonderfully because for the DCEU, those villains could now be crafted any way Gunn wanted. Take Polka Dot Man, for example (#JusticeForPolkaDotMan). They changed his powers from the comics to something much more sinister but can be portrayed better on screen. Plus, David Dastmalchian perfectly walked the line between heartbreak and comedy.
In fact, the entire cast was solid in their portrayal of each of their characters. However, I must say, Margot Robbie definitely has a finger on the pulse of Harley Quinn. Out of all the comic book movies that have been made, she’s up there with the top on her portrayal of her fictional character. I enjoyed the inclusion of Harley Quinn and appreciated that she was not the main focus. That made it feel more like the comics. Also, Viola Davis absolutely left me in awe for how villainous she played Amanda Waller, the true villain of our story.
The style of the film worked best in two ways: first, it was a great homage to action films of the 70s, with some comedy thrown in for good measure. Second, having the titles shown in creative ways throughout the film helped in keeping that “comic book” feel that will so often be overlooked. The changing color pallette worked well. Everything had a pretty dark or neutral palette, but once the team landed in Corto Maltese, the colors were bright and vibrant. There was a stark visual difference, which I enjoyed. The pacing of the film was near perfect. I could have sat there for another two hours and would have loved every second of it. Honestly, one of the biggest triumphs that this film has over its predecessor is not having Amanda Waller jamming thirty minutes of exposition down our throats in the most bland way possible. This film gave you exposition throughout, and through action/conversation, which is how it should be.
The Suicide Squad was a perfect mix of action and comedy. The film never takes itself too seriously, which works in its favor. But, that’s always been something that Gunn has been good at in his writing (looking at you, Slither. Or even 2002’s Scooby-Doo). The studio had little involvement and it shows. Here’s hoping they’ve learned their lesson with creative control and “R” rated comic book movies.
In comparison, it is far superior to its “counterpart”. As a standalone summer blockbuster, it’s a fun action film that’ll have you actually laughing out loud and smiling from ear to ear. If you have watched or are choosing to watch the film on HBOMAX, where it is currently streaming, that’s fine. However, I would strongly recommend seeing The Suicide Squad in theaters. It’s killer on the big screen.