The Suicide Squad Review
The DC film I've been waiting for
A couple of things before we get rolling on this review. First, this is the 1,000th piece of media that I have logged on Letterboxd! Not reviewed, but logged, just to clarify. It's insane I've logged that much stuff on here, but I've loved every minute of doing it. For two, my local theater is actually playing this film this weekend, but I just moved into my college dorm, so I didn't get to see it there. I DID get to see it with some fellow college students, though, in a gathering that my old roommate was a part of, which I really needed after the insane and rough day I've had. Finally, because of how long it took me to get to that gathering, I missed the first ten minutes of this movie and the post-credits sequence, so I went back and watched them on my own HBO Max account once I got back to my apartment. No spoilers, but turns out those first ten minutes were more crucial than I realized.
Now, this, THIS, is the fun, fast-paced, brilliantly written, and excitingly choreographed superhero film I've been waiting for for a long time. Maybe a big part of this has to do with the fact that I love James Gunn's work on Guardians so much and this does take a lot of elements from that, but another big part of it just has to do with the fact that it feels so unflinchingly brutal, unabashedly exciting, and uproariously funny all in equal measure. I have not seen the original Suicide Squad (even though I've been curious because of how much people hate it), but I'd heard genuinely great things about this film, I'd been excited about it for a while, and I knew you didn't need to see that first film to enjoy this one. Long story short, it was worth it in every single way.
First, let's talk about the technical craft on display here, because look, even if you're gonna make a fun action movie with superheroes, it's still really important to feel like you're watching an incredible spectacle unfold. This film nails every single one of its action set pieces with incredibly creative shot composition, a color scheme that consistently pops off the screen and makes you feel like you're watching the movie form of your favorite subtly sugary candy, and really great CGI work that, while obviously CGI, never feels like its cheaply used or even out of place for what this movie needs. The writing is also spectacular, with biting zingers and well-established character dynamics forming the heart and soul of this movie. You know me, I love movies with well written characters and character dynamics, and this movie has both of those.
However, a big part of the likability and intrigue of those characters comes from the performances on screen. Take your pick, who are you engaged with the most? You've got Idris Elba in a fantastically fleshed out leader role, Daniela Melchior's adorable and likable presence in her English-language debut, John Cena in a role I NEVER would have expected him to pull off and yet can't see anyone else playing (in what is easily his best performance to date), David Dastmalchian as the kind of superhero that sounds absolutely ridiculous on paper but becomes one of the brighest spots of the film, particularly with his performance, and Sylvester Stallone in a derpy yet unbelievably ravenous role. Every single one of these characters is an absolute blast to watch individually and in the way they interact with the other members of the team. Viola Davis makes an incredible return as Amanda Waller from the previous film, an intimidating presence that even those who aren't anywhere near her don't want to double cross. Along with that, it's great to see Peter Capaldi get to chew up a mainstream villain role and come on, at this point, I think we can ALL agree that Margot Robbie is the perfect Harley Quinn. FINALLY, she gets to play the role in an amazingly written movie!! I've been waiting so long for this day!!!
There's something about these fast paced action comedies that really work well for me. When a movie knows it just wants to give its audience a good time but STILL takes the time to create likable characters with genuinely investing writing, that's when you know you've got a fantastic film on your hands. While the film does rely a little bit too much on exposition early on and I definitely got confused with what exactly the goal was with the heroes trying to negotiate with the villain about halfway through, I had a blast the entire time with this movie. I even thought at that first the pacing was moving a bit slow, but then before I knew it, the final action set piece hit and that pacing just flew right by before I knew what hit me. This is EXACTLY the kind of movie I wanted to see when I sat down to watch it, and I'm so glad that The Suicide Squad is the first GREAT DC movie I've seen.
Letter Grade: A
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