THE SUICIDE SQUAD Review: James Gunn's Magnum Opus Is A Beautiful, Blood-Soaked Blast

THE SUICIDE SQUAD Review: James Gunn's Magnum Opus Is A Beautiful, Blood-Soaked Blast

You've seen the highly positive social media reactions to The Suicide Squad, but now that the review embargo is up, you can find our take on James Gunn's utterly bonkers DCEU debut right here.

Review Opinion
By MarkCassidy - Jul 28, 2021 08:07 AM EST
Filed Under: The Suicide Squad

When James Gunn claimed that Warner Bros. had basically given him free rein to go off and make The Suicide Squad exactly as he saw fit with zero restrictions or parameters, most of us took it with a pinch of salt. After all, this was the same studio that had gained a reputation for micromanaging its filmmakers and insisting on tonal and narrative changes which completely altered the final product.

Well, having seen the film, we can safely say that the writer/director was not exaggerating, because The Suicide Squad is genuinely, gleefully, James Gunn dialled all-the-way-up-to-11(ly), insane.

Setting aside the gore (and it is very bloody) and the trademark irreverent/sophomoric humor (most of the gags lands, some don't quite), this "Man on a Mission" style DC Comics adventure might just be the most bizarre mainstream blockbuster of all time. The plot itself is fairly straightforward, but Gunn peppers the film with lots of brilliantly odd little touches. One moment, in particular, is so jaw-droppingly bonkers that we're afraid to say any more for fear of spoiling the visual.

The story begins with Amanda Waller assembling a (mostly) new team of recruits for a mission known as Project Starfish. This incarnation of Task Force X is told only that they are to infiltrate the heavily fortified island of Corto Maltese, and that if any of them cut and run, Waller will detonate the explosive device in their head. After a disastrous opening battle, the depleted team make their way inland, only to discover that Waller left out a few minor details during her briefing. 

Our "heroes" must then decide if they're going to complete their mission no questions asked, or risk losing their heads by deviating from their objective to protect the locals.

James Gunn's The Suicide Squad - Official Rain - One News Page VIDEO

Of the new faces we meet, Bloodsport is the closest thing to a primary protagonist, with Rick Flag, Peacemaker, Ratcatcher 2, Polka-Dot Man, King Shark, and, of course, Harley Quinn all given roughly equal time in the spotlight. Even with so much going on around them, Gunn ensures that all of these characters are well fleshed out and vital to the story. King Shark and Ratcatcher will likely emerge as fan-favourites, but it's honestly impossible to single out a weak link, due in no small part to the excellent performances. 

Everyone brings their A-game, but Daniela Melchior deserves special mention. Ratcatcher 2 proves to be heart of the film, and the young Portuguese actress delivers a powerful, star-making turn. John Cena also surprises as Peacemaker. The WWE Superstar turned actor showed promise in some of his earlier roles, but really gets the chance to demonstrate his range here as the initially amusing, but increasingly unhinged vigilante.

Then, there's Starro the Conqueror. A few eyebrows were raised when this relatively obscure DC Comics baddie was revealed to be the main villain, but it's actually difficult to imagine a more perfect antagonist for this film. Equal parts preposterous and terrifying, not even the giant, mass-murdering extraterrestrial starfish proves to be completely unsympathetic.

So, is The Suicide Squad a reboot or a sequel? As frustrating as the answer may seem, it really does depend on how you choose to categorize it. While it never directly references David Ayer's film, it doesn't disregard or contradict anything that happened in it, either, and there are a few indications that the events of Suicide Squad are canon (Harley, Boomerang and Flag all know each other, for example). That said, if you would rather forget the 2016 movie ever happened, TSS works as a fresh slate for the franchise and its characters (those who survive, that is).

Gunn has already stated that audiences will be surprised by how many of these guys are killed off, so it's hardly a spoiler to confirm that, yes, a lot of these guys are killed off! We're not going to go into specifics, but let's just say the filmmaker may not be quite as ruthless as he made out in interviews, and aside from some early cannon fodder, he ensures that all of the deaths are meaningful and pack an emotional punch.

While a few tears will undoubtedly be shed for the fallen, the most heartfelt moments actually spring from the relationships that develop between these reluctant brothers and sisters in arms as they face insurmountable odds together. Sure, some of them are pretty despicable villains, but most do have some sort of moral compass (even if they can't remember the last time they used it), so don't be surprised if seeing that humanity shine through amid the carnage is what ultimately has you reaching for the tissues.

The Suicide Squad is James Gunn's magnum opus: A near pitch-perfect blend of tones and genres, which somehow coalesces to form not only the film of the year so far, but one of the most purely entertaining comic book movies you're ever likely to see. It is brutally violent at times, but what emerges through the array of flying limbs is a surprisingly tender tribute to camaraderie, and an ode to all the despised and misunderstood creatures out there. 

Steak House: Lasas Steak House Palanga
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Margot Robbie Eyeing Lead Role In Olivia Wilde's AVENGELYNE Adaptation; POOR THINGS Scribe To Pen Script

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santoanderson - 7/28/2021, 9:00 AM
So the embargo lifted?
bigdannymac - 7/28/2021, 9:01 AM
Wow! This is high praise.

I was already excited, but now I'm even more so! Can't wait to see it.

AzorAhai - 7/28/2021, 9:58 AM
@bigdannymac - It is, especially coming from Not-Josh
bigdannymac - 7/28/2021, 10:18 AM
@AzorAhai - Amen 🙏
ModHaterSLADE - 7/28/2021, 9:01 AM
Ever since the first trailer this looked like it was gonna be a pretty entertaining watch. The cast seems to have some great chemistry with each other.
Urubrodi - 7/28/2021, 9:05 AM
For a second there was worried it was a Josh review, but it's from Ror, so I'm relieved. Excited for this movie as I have never been for a DCEU movie up to this point.
EZBeast - 7/28/2021, 9:20 AM
@Urubrodi - haha same here!
MrDandy - 7/28/2021, 9:10 AM
Nice! This and The Batman are probably my two most anticipated CBMs. Awesome to hear it’s been getting positive feedback
KanchaCheena - 7/28/2021, 9:11 AM
Nope! Not believing. 1st of all James Gunn's writing is sub-par. His jokes are cringe-worthy. He only shines in directing. On top of that it's a Josh review.
regularmovieguy - 7/28/2021, 9:13 AM

It’s actually a ROR review
BigBoiJoe - 7/28/2021, 9:26 AM
@Waddles - oh damn 😂
OmegaDaGrodd - 7/28/2021, 9:17 AM
Called it 2 years ago, Best DCEU film

PapaSpank54 - 7/28/2021, 9:18 AM
Can't say I'm *excited* but will definitely check this out on Max.
Kinda fücks me up that the word 'kaiju' will be spoken more in the DCEU than in the WB Godzilla movies!
MosquitoFarmer - 7/28/2021, 9:23 AM
"...but what emerges through the array of flying limbs..."

99OPTIMISTPRIME - 7/28/2021, 9:26 AM
Can't find one negative review so far. This is looking like The Dark Knight/Deadpool territory.
Thing94 - 7/28/2021, 9:27 AM
Cool will catch it on HBO Max next Friday

Comicbookart - 7/28/2021, 9:35 AM
Very interesting that a Marvel director was the one able to get this to happen at DC. Even Patty Jenkins fumbled with WW84 from the great Wonder Woman smh. I'm almost tempted to see how Snyder and Marvel would work. Almost... 😅
kylo0607 - 7/28/2021, 9:37 AM
@Comicbookart -

Keep Snyder away from Marvel, please.
Comicbookart - 7/28/2021, 9:39 AM
@kylo0607 - Ok, ok. I kid ..I kid. 🤣🤣
regularmovieguy - 7/28/2021, 9:45 AM

“Very interesting that a Marvel director was the one able to get this to happen at DC.”

Not sure where the Patty Jenkins connection came from. She didn’t direct the first Suicide Squad.
Comicbookart - 7/28/2021, 10:01 AM
@regularmovieguy - Never did connect her. Just stated that it's really strange how she could go from a good film like Wonder Woman to WW84. What happened? I honestly expected she was going to get the keys to the DC movie verse.
bigdannymac - 7/28/2021, 10:18 AM
@Comicbookart - He's not a "Marvel director". He's had work before Marvel (check out Slither, it's awesome).

Directors direct movies for multiple studios. Happens all the time.

As for what's "in the bag/complete" he's done 2 for Marvel and 2 for DC (movie and HBO spinoff show).

I know he's got GotG 3 coming up and it sounds like more with DC also.

Marvel has nothing to do with his DC success, other than GotG was his first big budget movie, and learned from it .. and Disney fired him while WB welcomed him with open arms, paving the way for Disney to bring him back also.

Enough with this Marvel vs DC crap.
Comicbookart - 7/28/2021, 10:31 AM
@bigdannymac - Never pitted them against each other. I'm a fan of bath properties. In fact the James Gunn situation is the best thing to happen to CBM's in a while. Hopefully this leads to a crossover. I think Gunn even pitched it.
kylo0607 - 7/28/2021, 9:36 AM
(Looks at RT score):

Finally a good Suicide Squad film.

Will make Ayer's stink from 2016 go away quickly.

Tickets for Friday booked and I am SO hyped now!
bkmeijer2 - 7/28/2021, 9:41 AM
Ror with the raving review? Now thats all I need. Not that I didn't already was planning on going, but Ror being a reviewer I almost always agree with does affect my expectations a little (for the better ofcourse).

"but let's just say the filmmaker may not be quite as ruthless as he made out"

Kinda bummed about this though, but whayever works in the movie is for the better in the end I guess.
Itwasme - 7/28/2021, 9:43 AM
Sounds awesome. I'm glad that they went for the more zanny. I actually feel like that's where DC would shine. You can't hire a stylistic director like a Snyder and then go for grounded realism. Should have gone the other way like this.

Of course Shazaam and WW are my 2 favorites from DC, so what do I know?
Comicbookart - 7/28/2021, 9:44 AM
Reviews can be off sometimes, but I definitely believe these reviews since Gunn had to work against Joel Kinnaman, probably the most uncharismatic person in the DC movieverse. Makes bored Cavill seem almost oscar worthy.

If Gunn was able to do this with Kinnaman part of the cast, just hand him the keys dammit. 😆
WakandanQueen - 7/28/2021, 9:48 AM
Not shocked by the raves this is getting, many people have been saying it's the best DC film in over a decade. Really hyped for this one.
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