HomeStreamingMaxReview: The Suicide Squad Mashes Heart with Bloody Gore and Dark Humor

Review: The Suicide Squad Mashes Heart with Bloody Gore and Dark Humor

the suicide squad 4k still1 One second, heads are bursting like water balloons, blood flying everywhere. The next, two characters are sharing heartfelt tales as they overcome childhood trauma. James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is a chaotic mess, pinballing back and forth between various genre extremes. But, in the end, it works. In fact, it works pretty damn well.

When Gunn first took the reins as director of the soft-reboot of/ follow-up to 2016′ Suicide Squad, there was a unanimous consensus. Everyone agreed it was going to be good. After sustaining a respectable years-long career as an outside-the-box director in Hollywood, Gunn was propelled into mainstream stardom thanks to his direction of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Gunn knew how to make an eccentric group of outsider anti-heroes not only likable but lovable.

So, when Disney fired him from directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (Gunn was later rehired), DC saw the perfect opportunity. Everything Gunn had accomplished with Guardians, he could do with their like-minded collection of outsiders — the Suicide Squad. The only difference being, this time he could do it without the constraints of the family-friendly Disney brand. In other words, this time James Gunn could work his magic with an R-rating.

Tonally, there certainly is a bit of Guardians of the Galaxy in Gunn’s latest box office outing. But, surprisingly, the film also preserves the feel of its predecessor as well. Both feature hitmen who have strained relationships with their daughters as the lead characters. Harley Quinn plays an important emotional role in both movies. Both have an assortment of dark and quirky characters with competing agendas. And both have the heroes facing off against an extremely powerful creature that can turn civilians into its own foot soldiers.

It really is a stroke of genius. Although most critics thoroughly despised the initial Suicide Squad film, it did garner a large fan-following and, by many measures, was a box-office success. The Suicide Squad manages to please both fans of the first film and audiences who want to pretend that its predecessor never existed.

The story jumps around quite a bit, going back and forth in time, switching between various character perspectives. It can feel a bit jarring at times. Nevertheless, it manages to pull together quite nicely. Partially, this is due to the strength of the main cast.

Idris Elbas’ Bloodsport is the perfect lead for this movie. I’m essence, he is a much better version of Will Smith’s Deadshot. He’s funnier, the relationship with his daughter (the character’s primary motivation in the film) feels more genuine, his weapons and abilities are legitimately cool and, overall, his emotional development over the course of the film is heart-touching.

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is as strong as ever in this film. She is essentially a psychotic optimist with a bubbly personality and a flair for bright colors.
Also returning from the 2016 film is Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag. Flag is perfect as the straight man among the cast of crazy characters and does an amazing job of subtly hinting at the insanity surrounding him.
John Cena was solid as Peacemaker. At times his lines fell flat and performance felt forced, but, when his character is at his darkest, Cena excels.
Sylvester Stallone’s King Shark is criminally underutilized. He is essentially this team’s version of Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, except he likes to snack on human beings like a toddler munching on Cheerios. King Shark’s longing for friendship is incredibly compelling but isn’t given the emotional payoff that it deserves in the end.
the suicide squad 4k still2
Another comedic high point of the film is the performance of David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man. Again, like Stallone, however, Dastmalchian is criminally underutilized (albeit his character gets some great moments).
Rounding out the team is Ratchatcher II played by Daniella Melchior. She is the emotional core of the film. Melchior’s relationship with Elbas’ character is a key aspect of this emotional core, with their witty banter and heartfelt exchanges serving as the most compelling emotional exchanges of the entire film.
It may feel disjointed and messy at times, but the large cast of eclectic characters glues the whole cinematic experience of The Suicide Squad together perfectly. Gunn captures the original film’s feel, injects it with his own twisted sense of humor, and adds a hard-R rating to create an experience no one is going to forget anytime soon. While far from perfect, The Suicide Squad is one of DC’s best outings delivering laughs, heartfelt notes, and dazzling spectacle.
The Suicide Squad streams in 4k, Dolby Vision, and with Dolby Atmos audio on systems that support it (even though we found Apple TV’s description not displaying the Atmos logo). See a full list of 4k movies on HBO Max.
Michael Austin
Michael Austin
As a professional journalist, Michael considers himself a bit of a renaissance man — he’s covered the television and film industries, comic books, food, politics, religion and video games.


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