“The Suicide Squad” Kills the Competition

Photo courtesy: imdb.com

Photo courtesy: imdb.com

This review is coming out a little late, considering it came out in August of 2021. But due to the release and inevitable rise of popularity of the television series, “Peacemaker,” I’ll take any excuse to talk about “The Suicide Squad.”

I absolutely adore this movie.

Up until the release of “The Batman”, this was my favorite superhero movie since “The Dark Knight.” That’s not to say they are even remotely comparable though because “The Suicide Squad” is not even remotely trying to be realistic or down to earth.

This film goes against a lot of other comic book movies out there, as “The Suicide Squad” seems to take more reference from the original comics. The color grading, stylistic action, chapter breaks, and silly premise.It all makes the movie feel like a comic book come to life.

Ten years ago if you told me a movie about a humanoid shark, a girl who controls rats, and a guy who shoots polka dots fighting a giant starfish would be the best superhero movie of the last decade, I would’ve laughed in your face.

Right from the start, you see that this movie doesn’t pull any punches as it starts with a massacre of over a dozen Suicide Squad members with only two survivors with each death being brutal and graphic.

It sets the idea that no one is safe, especially with the death of major flash villain, Captain Boomerang, who is a known and high-profile member of the team. Along with this, it also establishes just how ridiculous this movie is with a humanoid weasel and bombastic action.

Despite the movie’s over-the-top nature, it maintains a firm emotional core that gives it a human and relatable element that makes this ridiculous plot feel more grounded in reality. Personally, that’s what makes the best comics.

Sure the cool colors and action are nice but when the story has a rich emotional backing, it makes the silly stuff far more believable because you can almost put yourself into the shoes of the characters. Similar to “Peacemaker,” this film is about a group of broken societal outcasts moving past their pasts and becoming better and more whole because of it.

Every character is at some point forced to confront their past in some way or another.

Harley Quinn deals with the trauma from her relationship with the Joker, Bloodsport learns to become a leader while also confronting his fear of rats coming from his abusive childhood, Ratcatcher 2 has to overcome the grief of her father’s death when she was a child, etc.

It’s honestly insane how 6+ characters all get satisfying and fulfilling marks and it’s to the point where I can legitimately see why people have different favorite characters in the movie. Comparatively, the Avengers movies have very clear stars for each movie who get more development than everyone else. Like if your favorite Avenger is Black Widow I’m more than likely gonna make fun of you.

The action on display here is great and is Gunn’s best action yet. Every action scene is engaging and a treat to look at. It doesn’t feel like the mindless mediocre action that’s come to define superhero movies. Each scene is memorable and satisfying to watch and it doesn’t feel like it was only there to fill the scene.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite set piece because they are all great in their own way. If I were absolutely forced to pick a favorite, I would probably choose the Harley escape scene as it’s surprisingly creative in how it emphasizes Harley Quinn’s insanity while also showing how much of a threat she is as she solo’s dozens of soldiers with nothing but a scratch.

The comedy for a lot of people is hit or miss but unlike Peacemaker, this movie has much tighter and funnier jokes. This movie is consistently funny and I still laugh at many of the jokes even after rewatching it multiple times. Where Peacemaker’s jokes feel like a first draft this feels like a finely edited and reviewed final product. It does exactly what it needs to do and honestly, I think it’s one of if not the funniest comic book movie out there.

The movie is also really well-paced. It doesn’t ever feel like there’s a dull moment but with that, it also doesn’t feel like it’s moving at supersonic speeds.

I think this is partially helped by the aforementioned chapter breaks that make each part feel distinct and exciting to watch. It’s almost like they keep the movie in line with itself so it doesn’t get lost in its own self-indulgence like what happened with “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”.

I could talk about this movie for days and I absolutely adore it. This movie just further cements James Gunn as one of the best people working in Marvel and now DC today. His style, tone, and voice are so distinct and appealing to me because despite making lighthearted movies, they feel so impactful and resonant.

Even his worst project for either Marvel or DC, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2,” still had some tear-jerking moments and impactful and well-delivered themes. I can’t wait to see where Gunn goes next with these characters both in “Peacemaker” season 2 and more with other Suicide Squad projects on the horizon.

Score: 9/10