The Suicide Squad Review
Flashback to 2016 when Warner Brothers and DC were trying desperately to figure out a way to compete with Marvel Studios. In March their first effort toward an expanded film universe was released with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to scathing reviews. The next film slated for release in their new shared universe was Suicide Squad about a group of DC villains forced into working for the government on a secret mission. The trailer for Suicide Squad was very well received, but after Batman v Superman's poor reception, executives lost trust in the creative vision for this film universe and they panicked. With months to go until the film's release, Warner did some major recutting to the film in hopes to cater to audiences with more Marvel tastes. The result was a disaster.
Surprisingly though, the studio didn't throw out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak, and they did recognize that there were parts of this movie that people liked--namely Margot Robbie's performance as Harley Quinn. So WB moved forward with a Harley Quinn solo spinoff (while also functioning as another team-up film introducing new superheroes as well). But what to do with Suicide Squad? The answer for the executives waws simple....time for a rebootquel (that is to say, a reboot sequel--a film that vaguely acts like the first film exists, but mostly does its own new thing).
If there's one thing WB always wanted Suicide Squad to resemble it was Guardians of the Galaxy. So given the chance when James Gunn was suddenly free from Disney after being canceled for some old Twitter jokes, WB swooped right in and gave him complete artistic license to do what he wanted with the almost identically titled follow-up The Suicide Squad. His total creative freedom happens to be the best and worst thing about The Suicide Squad if that's even possible.
Gunn once again brings back Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, along with Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Viola Davis' Amanda Waller, and Jai Courtney's Boomerang. The rest of the characters from Suicide Squad were scrapped. Instead of Will Smith's Deadshot, we have Idris Elba's Bloodsport. Gone without a trace is Jared Leto's Joker. But rounding out the rest of the new squad is John Cena as Peacemaker, Sylvester Stallone as King Shark, David Dastmalchian as Polka-dot Man, and Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher II. These new anti-heroes seem as purposefully outlandish as possible, which is definitely feels quirky and offbeat for a comic book movie. But that's what James Gunn seems to be going for--covering familiar bases but this time in an unexpectedly oddball way. You really get the sense that he really wants this to be a group of misfits out for both themselves and to save the world.
There's definitely a lot of fun to be had here. Once again Margot Robbie is having such a great time with the role of Harley and her scenes are such a blast to watch (even if a large portion feel somewhat disconnected from the rest of the film). Idris Elba and John Cena's back and forth competition is certainly amusing to behold. Joel Kinnamon got a lot more to do here and his presence was very welcome. The other members of the team got laughs as well, but at the same time, their schtick felt a little bit more gimmicky and got old for me. Plus they kind of felt like extra baggage, not an organic part of the ensemble.
All in all, I'm not entirely sure where I stand on this film. Entertaining? Yes. Necessary? Probably not. A little too eccentric for its own good, but also really refreshing because it is. Nice to see something outside of the usual formula.