The Suicide Squad (2021)

The Suicide Squad (2021) Cover

Many artists fall from grace as soon as they're allowed absolute freedom on a project, proving that they work best inside of the limits set by others, but not James Gunn. James Gunn has been working with his hands tied and we finally get to see what we get when he's let loose and the results are amazing! The Suicide Squad succeeds by combining the comedic sensibilities of Deadpool with a rich sense of humanity and wrapping it all in a wrapper of ultra gore.

If you're not familiar with the premise, The Suicide Squad is about a government agency that specializes in manipulating incarcerated super-villains into black ops work around the world, sending a variety of DC Comics villains (both famous, such as Harley Quinn, and the less famous, such as Calendar Man) to stop world-threatening events. If you are familiar with the premise, you'll notice that the story is almost identical to Suicide Squad (2016).

Comparisons between The Suicide Squad and its predecessor are impossible to avoid. Where the original work is wasteful in its character introductions, The Suicide Squad is deliberate and cautious. Where the 2016 movie couldn't be bothered to spare any effort on a story worth telling, James Gunn weaves a story that builds on the layers of the characters and unifying the themes of the premise. While the original film was meandering with no sense of direction except to indulge in the characters, here we are treated to some of the tightest filmmaking and editing I have seen in a long time.

I could absolutely go on, but I think further comparisons are better suited to a long-form, spoiler-filled essay than a review. Suffice it to say, The Suicide Squad appears to deliberately demand to be judged against its predecessor entirely to its benefit and that the most important difference by far is that it knows when to not tell a joke.

The cast of characters selected for this outing is beautiful. The main characters of Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Ratcatcher 2, King Shark, and Polka-dot Man are phenomenal enough (yes, Polka-dot Man is awesome), but the cameos that fill out the rest of the film just blow it up. Nathan Fillion as T.D.K., Taika Waititi as Ratcatcher, and Sean Gunn as Calendar Man of all characters. The love for off-beat underserved characters by the creators is palpable both in the breadth of selection and in the implementation of each.

It is important to stress again the ultra-violence that is present. The Suicide Squad is so violent as to be cartoonish in nature. People are ripped in half, chomped on by King Shark, heads explode like grapes up close, and more. I don't want to cite this as a positive or a negative, because it is what it is. This will be a draw for some and put others off of being able to enjoy it, you just need to know it's there. For those who do love the cheese of Troma films, however, this is something special in that it's able to imbue that kind of gory storytelling with a set of characters that work on an emotional level.

Overall, The Suicide Squad is a work of art that brings a breath of fresh air to the genre, something that James Gunn has done before and will hopefully continue to do. If you aren't put off by the violence, it is a must-watch.

Final Verdict:A unique blend of action, comedy, and heart all sprinkled with the Ultra Violence.