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'The Suicide Squad' Review

the-suicide-squad-review

The Suicide Squad is a 2021 American superhero film based on the DC Comics team Suicide Squad. It is a standalone sequel to Suicide Squad (2016) and the 10th film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). It was written and directed by James Gunn and stars an ensemble cast including Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchoir, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi, Michael Rooker, Alice Braga, and Pete Davidson.

The government sends the most dangerous supervillains in the world, Bloodsport, Peacemaker, King Shark, Harley Quinn, and others, to the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Armed with high-tech weapons, they trek through the dangerous jungle on a search-and-destroy mission, with only Col. Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave.

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James Gunn has done it again. The Suicide Squad is fun, weird, goofy, hilarious film that I loved. Admittedly, I loved the original. I thought it was great even if most people disagree, so I went into this film expecting it to be really good and it didn't disappoint.

The film did a lot of things that I loved in the original, but it greatly improved on other aspects, mainly the comedy. This film was hilarious. The opening scene perfectly set the tone as a bloody, funny, beautiful good time. They dedicated an entire scene to one joke that was genuinely hilarious and tons of fun banter throughout.

That's what I think the film did the best, the tone. It was perfectly set as just being fun. That's something the original really struggled with. It was dark but tried to infuse a lighthearted feel and comedy, but it felt very shaky. Here, it's very clear they're here to have fun. I thought they handled the more emotional scenes very well and it happened naturally. I will say though this film did feel like the original.

For all the right reason I might add, because again I'm probably the only person that loved the original. If you hated the original, I'm not sure if you'll love this one. While I do think this is better than the original, both follow very similar story beats, even down to the characters. Idris Elba felt like Will Smith. Both had similar abilities and were there for their daughters. Harley Quinn was awesome in both. King Shark took over for Killer Croc, although I thought he was a lot funnier. And Polka-Dot Man kinda took over for Diablo as the mentally haunted character. I'm not saying it's bad, but it's something you notice.

I'd say the biggest problem with this film was the antagonists. This film had a villain problem as did the original, but here it's mainly because they're invisible. The main villains for most of the film were very inactive, and the final one was a little goofy. It was frankly stupid. I don't know the character and it might be in the villain hall of fame, but watching it on screen, it was definitely a little silly. Because the film's tone is so good, it didn't take me out the film, and because most of the film before it was so good, I was still along for the ride.

The other thing the film did better than the original was the focus. I'm not sure if that's the right word for it, but the original had two main characters in Will Smith and Harley Quinn. Both of those characters got genuine development, but the rest only got a scene or two of backstory. You don't feel that much for those side characters because of it. It felt like a one-man band dragging the others along while this one felt much more like a cohesive group. All of these characters are given development throughout the entire film, so they like more than just a story or situation.

Rick Flag wasn't a character I loved in the original. I felt more for him in a five minute scene than I did in the entire previous film. That's excellent writing on Gunn's part.

I will say, however, that while this film does characters much better, the original handled an individual a lot more powerfully. Will Smith as an individual character was far stronger than any character in this film. He had a goal and motivation that really propelled his character. He was doing it for his daughter, specifically looking for redemption and trying to be a much better father to her. That's something I can really get behind that was absent from this film. Harley Quinn was mentally and emotionally broken from love and pain, and while here she's still awesome, she felt like she was just there. She was just part of the team, and I think that's the biggest problem I had with this film. Nothing feels personal.

This film although extremely good and fun felt like a group of random soldiers going on a random mission to stop a random thing. Nothing connects these characters to this situation. At least in the first one Flag had personal connection to the witch and that kept him going. Will Smith was looking for redemption and Harley Quinn was trying to fill that void. Here no one is grounded to the story. They're all here because they're here and there's nothing else. It takes away from the emotion of the film to the extent.

However, overall this was an extremely fun film. The comedy was fantastic with excellent directing and writing from Gunn. There were also fantastic performances from everyone. The film dragged a little during the second act and had a few more problems here and there, but overall this was an excellent film and a definite bright spot in the DCEU.

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The acting was great all around. Idris Elba is getting better with age. He was funny and really entertaining as the lead. Margot Robbie is still one of the best casting choices I've ever seen. She plays Harley Quinn perfectly, but I would say I would've liked to have seen her a little more in this film. She had some great moments and one of my favorite scenes, but it feels like they don't know what to do with her. She's extremely popular, they have the best actress they're going to find, but they don't know where she fits. I hope they figure it out sooner rather than later.

Sylvester Stallone was also excellent. I had no idea he played the shark, but he did and he was great. Viola Davis is also Viola Davis. The standout for me, however, was John Cena. This is without a doubt his best role, and I think it's the one that's going to solidify his place in Hollywood. He was really funny, and I'm glad he got to do a little more than just the occasional throwaway joke. He also has great chemistry with Idris Elba.

Daniela Melchior, who played Ratcatcher, also really surprised me. This is my first time seeing her but she was really good. She gave a ton of emotion and life to her character. She kinda became the heart of the film and really grounded the story in a much needed way.

The plot is pretty simple. A group of criminals join together and go on a mission to stop a bad thing from happening. It's very similar to the first, but I think it handled clarity a little better. You know where everything is and where everything fits within the story. Again, it's very simple but it works. I wish there was some sort of antagonist working against them, because the film really lacks urgency. Even during the climax you don't get that sense of urgency.

I'd say the characters in both uplift the plot to places it wouldn't have reached on its own. I'd say the tone really helps out the urgency problem because you can't take anything too seriously, but there were definitely times were I was asking how much time was left. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that things happen when they don't need to, and because there's no urgency they feel a little slow.

Overall though, I was very happy with both the acting and story.

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Spoilers

The film opens up with a great scene and a hilarious fake out. Michael Rooker and Pete Davidson are there with a bunch of other people as they land on this beach where everything that can go wrong does. It's a really bloody and funny scene that set the tone beautifully. Literally everyone dies with the exception of Flag and Harley Quinn.

Then we open to our real characters and the story starts. The first act was great and the characters got a solid enough introduction. Idris Elba has a f-bomb laced shouting match with his daughter before going toe to toe with Amanda Waller in a really good scene.

One of the best scenes in the film dedicated five minutes to a single joke. Idris Elba and John Cena are competing to see who can get the coolest kill and they run through and destroy this camp only to find out it was full of good guys. It's the funniest scene in the entire film and sums up what made this film great for me. It didn't care what people thought. It took risk that most big budget films don't take anymore, and even if they don't already work I respect the film so much more for that.

The third act was fantastic. They blow up this research building when Flag finds out the truth behind it. The U.S was working on the research and were trying to cover it up and Amanda Waller ordered John Cena to make sure it didn't get out. He and Flag go at it and I felt so much for his character in this one scene way more than the entire last film. In the end John Cena kills him which is something that surprised me.

Idris Elba then drops down and shoots a tiny bullet through Cena's bullet and kills him until the end credit scene where he made it, which I'd personally love to see this character again so I'm happy with that.

The ending wasn't fantastic and as I said before it was a little goofy. This giant alien starfish sends smaller starfish down to control the minds of people. He goes around and destroys buildings and things before a million rats eat him alive and Harley Quinn slices his eye in half. It's goofy, but the film was good enough for me to not care.

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Overall I thought this was better than the first. It's funny, entertaining, bloody, and awesome with some great acting. James Gunn needs to be fired more often if it means he gets to make things like this. Overall, The Suicide Squad was a fantastic film.

© 2021 Royce Proctor Jr

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