- 30 Jul 21
The Suicide Squad refreshes a tired franchise with a fun entry into the DC canon.
According to critics and comic book fans, 2016's Suicide Squad movie was a singularly huge disappointment. Though it earned Warner Bros. a ton of money at the box office, the film – which starred Viola Davis, Margot Robbie and Will Smith, among others – was lambasted in reviews and left DC fans with much to be desired.
But DC's newest effort, directed by James Gunn (you may know him from Guardians of the Galaxy), is a massive improvement on the first film.
Now that The Suicide Squad is finally out for you to enjoy, Hot Press is giving you five quick thoughts on the film to whet your appetite. Minor spoilers follow, so look away now if you want it to be 100% fresh when you see it!
1. It thrives on violence.
Multiple characters are killed off throughout the film, including a clever bait and switch in the opening act. This will be divisive; you're either going to revel and enjoy the comedic nature of the cartoonish bloodiness, or be put off by it. Personally, I found it a welcome change of pace from the PG-13 frequency on which most superhero movies operate. Unlike much of Marvel's output, The Suicide Squad took a risk instead of catering to mass audiences. But maybe don't bring the kids until you've seen it yourself first.
2. John Cena can actually act.
Former wrestler and now actor John Cena delivers a convincing performance in this film. His various forays into acting haven't seen him quite reach the success of someone like, say, The Rock. He had a penchant for quirky comedies (like Amy Schumer's Trainwreck and the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler double bill Sisters), and while his comedic timing has always been brilliant, those films aren't for everyone. His turn as Peacemaker is a fun parody of the American military-industrial complex (think Captain America saying the quiet part loud) – and will bring his skills to a much wider audience.
3. Jared Leto doesn't return as The Joker.
Thank God. Now, it's difficult for Leto to be sandwiched in between two Joker performances that were so affecting they both won Academy Awards (Heath Ledger's unmitigated masterpiece in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight and Jaoquin Phoenix in Todd Philips' bleak origin story, Joker). But Leto's turn as the Crown Prince of Crime was one of the many issues with the first Suicide Squad film, coming off insincere and unrealistic. Gunn's take instead focuses on the main cast of characters – without the method actor's Joker chewing up the scenery.
4. Idris Elba shines as the star of the film.
The film has more than one protagonist, but one character that gets significant focus is Idris Elba's Bloodsport. He shares his uniquely excellent, charismatic chops here. The character's running conflict against Peacemaker and budding friendship with Daniela Melchior's Ratcatcher are two of the film's highlights. The endlessly talented Elba brings his A-Game, and delivers both a comic and touching performance.
5. It's the best DC film since Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.
This isn't hard, considering some of DC's output since The Dark Knight Rises. Nevertheless, this is easily the best release about DC characters since the Nolan Batman trilogy. It's exactly what fans were hoping for when the trailer for 2016's Suicide Squad dropped and more, reinvigorating a tired franchise that seemed directionless (especially after Zach Snyder felt he had to release a four hour cut of Justice League to salvage his original film). Although The Suicide Squad doesn't reinvent the wheel like Nolan's films did, it's a funny, unique, well-directed and acted film.
The Suicide Squad is out now in cinemas nationwide.