Review: The Suicide Squad

While many found flaw with the original Suicide Squad from 2016 I actually quite like it. Yes, it was a flawed film but I still found enjoyment in it and now five years later we have a new big screen adventure, this time helmed by James Gunn. The Suicide Squad doesn’t ignore the first film however it makes no effort to follow up on that narrative or explain the absence of some of the characters who survived that film and instead focuses on telling it’s own self contained story not beholden what has come before or for that matter the wider DC Extended Universe.

If I had to describe this film in one word it would be carnage. From start to finish The Suicide Squad is absolute carnage as anything that could go wrong for our heroes, does go wrong as they take on a literal army on the fictional island of Corto Maltese which many DC fans may remember being mentioned in Tim Burton’s Batman from 1989 as well as making a brief appearance in the third season of Arrow. Too often has it been said that films are unpredictable yet The Suicide Squad actually manages it with great success.

Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis and Jai Courtney all return to their original roles from the 2016 film and they are joined by a star studied cast lead by the likes of Idris Elba and John Cena as well as some familiar and some new ones as well with special mention going to Daniela Melchior for her portrayal of Ratcatcher 2 who really is the heart of the film.

I called the characters of The Suicide Squad heroes earlier, and let me tell you why. Despite being premised as being a group of DC’s biggest and baddest supervillains being forced into literal suicide missions to earn time off their prison sentences, at no time are we ever actually shown what makes these characters so bad. I mean, yes we’re sometimes told but we’re really never shown why we should fear them or for that matter what some of them even did to land themselves as a pawn on Amanda Waller’s human chess board.

None of our “villains” are actually villains but rather antiheroes doing their part of the good of mankind even if it is against their better judgement and at no point did I ever fear they’d go off the rails and into business for themselves.

One thing I had heard about the film was how violent it was but it wasn’t actually as violent as I had expected it to be. The violence is definitely a step up from your average 12A superhero film and it is maybe a little more extreme than say Deadpool, but none of the strong violence is really malicious and nature and with very rare exception, a lot of it is played for laughs.

I never got to see The Suicide Squad last week due to wanting to see Jungle Cruise instead however after watching this I can safely say that while I really, really enjoyed Jungle Cruise, The Suicide Squad is by far the better film even if it is made for a more mature audience. As you’d expect, James Gunn masterfully blends the weird and wacky (and sometimes forgotten) side of DC’s long history with his unique brand of marquee film making, fusing it together into one of this year’s best films.

by Edward Laing