I recently finished watching The Suicide Squad (2021) and found it a delight from beginning to end.
I tried watching the first film when it came out and have never been able to get past the first half hour so I approached this with some trepidation.
I was pleased to discover the sequel was much closer to the comics and had all of James Gunn’s signature humour and pacing as well as a highly appealing cast with loads of charisma.
For those who say comic books movies are all the same this one proves them wrong, as do Gunn’s earlier “Guardians of the Galaxy” films. The entire Suicide Squad concept is pretty much anti-super-hero, giving the villains a chance to step beyond their usual job description, and isn’t forced to cleave to any of the stale tropes that the heroic movies employ. It was a great idea for a comic (which I’ve always loved) and and even better idea for a movie.
The plot never stops moving forward as the body count rises in the most outlandish and amusing manner. And somehow we come to actually like and care for this band of malevolent misfits. Harley Quinn is a character I’ve never cottoned to- as is the case with any “Joker’s Girlfriend” character- but her treatment here is spot on and actually allows her some heart and dignity- as much as can be provided by an absolute psychopath. Margot Robbie is amazing in the role. And other ridiculous characters like Polka-Dot Man and Ratcatcher 2 are treated with a respect that makes them endearing.
I also have to say that Gunn’s films tend to subvert the so-called male gaze of films as the men seem to be objects of physical adoration as much, or more than, the women. Cena’s musculature and immovable package, Elba’s charisma and Kinneman’s rugged good looks are all highlighted in a delightful way and there’s no resorting to the usual sexist T&A we often see in these films.
Criticisms? There are a few but they are minor and generally well dealt with, including the fact Flagg, Bloodsport and Peacemaker are all basically the same character. My only caveat is that I wish there were more women in the film. DC has a rich roster of amazing female villains and I’d love to have seen Cheetah, Poison Ivy, or any nearly any other woman in the squad. But that’s a small quibble for a film that supplies over two hours of laughs and thrills.
The Rating: 4 out of 5.