The Suicide Squad

It’s always a one-way mission with these motley crew of DC villains, isn’t it?  You either love or hate them.  You pretty much know that going into James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, a reboot (or a rebuttle) of 2016’s Suicide Squad.  But, as is the case with much of DC’s cinematic universe (as I have no favorite in their output since The Dark Knight), what you are never told is that a little of this insanity goes a long way.

"more than a little repetitive as the continuous thread in this irreverent comic book rug gets pulled out from under us time and time again"

With no one to really connect to, The Suicide Squad - while the most cartoonish DC cinematic offering since the original Batman movie with Adam West - has style and wit to boot, but not much else when it comes to storytelling.  Go in for nothing but the sheer insanity of side-switching villains being assholes to each other and you will leave with a smile on your face.

As it stands, The Suicide Squad could only be made by writer/director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy).  His madcap fingerprints are all over this freestyling action comedy.  Like much of Gunn’s work, it celebrates the macabre, has a confidence that enjoys its own swagger, often insane, and super stylish in all the right ways.  It also has a crazy cast of villains who, you know, do super bad things.  That doesn’t necessarily mean, though, that you have a movie which doesn’t overstay its welcome as gags get beaten into the ground, jokes get old, and the characters become a bit stale.

Highlights include Harley Quinn (a returning Margot Robbie) killing a buttload of soldiers as animated birds take flight and flowers spring up around her, a gigantic killer starfish named Starro the Conqueror smashing buildings and people, and some of the obscene banter between Bloodsport (Idris Elba) and Peacemaker (John Cena) as they both try to one-up each other in the assassin game while on this one-way mission.

But none of the self-indulgent nonsense that highlights the action in the film makes for a movie with any sort of forward trajectory that actually makes you want to keep watching.  This is where I struggled with it.  The Suicide Squad, being better made than the other film which shares its name, is fun, sure, but it’s also more than a little repetitive as the continuous thread in this irreverent comic book rug gets pulled out from under us time and time again.  We get it, this is supposed to up-end the comic book superhero genre.The Suicide Squad

That, coupled with an over 2-hour long running time, makes the stop-and-go momentum of this flick - as long standing DC characters are killed off left and right in a spectacularly gnarly fashion - a difficult one to keep paying attention to.  Sometimes it is basic and sometimes the gags are extreme.  This makes the joyride a bit uneven.  Even the upside down book-reading gag of King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone) - ya know, so that people will think that he is smart - feels out of step with the gruesome wit splattered about. 

Brought together by the ruthless tact of government official Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), these goons - which includes Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), T.D.K. (Nathan Fillion), Savant (Michael Rooker, who is knocked off way too early), Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), psychopath Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and a werewolf-looking humanoid named Weasel (Sean Gunn) - share a love for a high body count, sheer ruthlessness, and being as bad as they can be.  

Waller bribes them to travel to the island nation of Corto Maltese and bring a stop to something called Project Starfish that The Thinker (Peter Capaldi) is in control of.  What follows is a severe case of search and destroy through the jungle as no one is to be trusted to carry out this mission without killing everyone in their path.  With little heart in its mass destruction mojo, even the more sympathetic characters come across as nothing more than comic bookish.

The Suicide Squad might be fun for a minute but its got no lasting soul.

3/5 stars

Film Details

The Suicide Squad

MPAA Rating: PG-13 on appeal for crude sexual content and language.
94 mins
: Chris Addison
Mark Frost, Daniel F. Bacaner
Margot Robbie; Idris Elba; John Cena
: Action | Sci-fi
They're dying to save the world.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Rats are the lowliest and most despised of all creatures, my love. But if they have purpose, so do we all."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 6, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Supervillains Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker and a collection of nutty cons at Belle Reve prison join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X as they are dropped off at the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.


The Suicide Squad