The Suicide Squad Review: My New Favorite Comic Book Movie

The Suicide Squad is finally here! The highly-anticipated attempt at rebooting the Suicide Squad franchise doesn’t just achieve what it set out to accomplish. The movie transcends the superhero genre and delivers an action-packed war film satire that masterfully checks off every single box that makes both genres exciting. Both critics and fans have responded overwhelmingly positive, and the film is an instant classic. Many – including myself – now consider The Suicide Squad to be James Gunn’s Magnum Opus. The film captures everything that the Guardians of the Galaxy director is famous for and more. Gunn took his talents and style and let it run wild, creating a cartoony and fun comic-book world that puts even Deadpool to shame. I will discuss exactly what makes this film so great in this in-depth The Suicide Squad review.

I could go on forever about what I loved about the film, but in this The Suicide Squad review I will focus on six main points that make The Suicide Squad one of the best comic book movies of all time. This goes without saying, but this article contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film yet, and are avoiding spoilers, please turn back now and return after viewing.

The Redemption of One Harley Quinn

The Suicide Squad Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn is an increasingly popular character – now more than ever thanks to her own hit animated series – and now the character is finally getting the live-action representation she always deserved. In The Suicide Squad, Harley is a bad-ass woman that doesn’t need the Joker (or no man at all, as Harley proves several times throughout the film). From surviving the initial beach-front massacre at the beginning of the film – to breaking the neck of her own torturer – to killing dozens of armed men single-handedly – and escaping from captivity all on her own – Harley Quinn is incredible.

Her action scenes are great and animated (literally! flowers and pastel colors soar with all of the blood and gore), but they aren’t the sole reason the character is better than ever. Harley Quinn is also written better than ever. Her lines are great and effortlessly humorous, and she even have some touching lines and moments. It is hard to believe this is even the same character. Margot Robbie makes for an amazing Harley Quinn and I couldn’t be more happy that she gets to play a huge role in the character’s redemption. Now this is a version of Harley that deserves a solo film.

A Gorious Display Of R-Rated Goodness

The Suicide Squad TDK

The Suicide Squad is unapologetically rated-R. With this rating James Gunn is able to let his disturbingly creative and wonderful mind run free. I can’t that of a better movie that requires the rating to deliver the same product. You can’t tone down the violence, language, or sexual nature of The Suicide Squad and get the same film. Sorry – not sorry – but there will be no Once Upon A Deadpool treatment for this film. As mentioned previously, the film opens up nearly immediately to a massacre that leaves over half of the Suicide Squad dead. This sets up the “no one is safe” atmosphere for the film, and it examples the kind of violence to expect from the film.

A Hyper-Violent Cartoon For Adults

One of my favorite things about The Suicide Squad is that it retains this mature rating while feeling like a cartoony animated graphic novel. It gives the film a completely original attitude that I can’t compare to any other film on my mind. Gunn delivers this tone by adding in 2D art and animations throughout the film. As mentioned previously, Harley Quinn has an incredible scene where she gruesomely mows down dozens of enemy soldiers. While doing so, colorful streams of pastel colors and flowers liter the screen. I knew I had to see the film in IMAX and scenes like this made me glad I did so. This cartoony vibe wrapped in an adult R-rated bow makes for one hell of a good time.

Non-Linear Story Telling Adds To The Fun

The Suicide Squad Jungle

The narrative of The Suicide Squad is flawless. The film utilizes non-linear story telling in a comedic and charming Quinton Tarantino-inspired way. This keeps the film exciting, and the slower – more story focused – scenes separated by quirky fun. There is not a dull moment throughout the whole film. Right as a scene starts to get boring or drag on, the scene changes in a cheesy and humorous way. The scenes are separated by animated title-cards often displayed over the end of a scene. Whether this is made with blood, smoke, or fire, there is always an opportunity for Gunn to deliver one of these creative transitions.

The best part is when the non-linear story telling sets up a joke and the next segment leads to the punchline. These setups reminds me of the style Arrested Development, and how the series delivers some of the most rewarding punchlines in television history.

The Inglourious Basterds Influence Shines Through

The Suicide Squad takes plenty of notes from satirical war films such as The Inglourious Basterds and Tropic Thunder. From the previously mentioned non-linear story telling – to the chapter titles – the film takes influence from these violent yet comedic war films. The Suicide Squad feels closer to these films than any superhero comic film. Fortunately, the final battle is so goofy and chaotic that the superhero aspect of the film comes back full-force. You really get it all with this film.

James Gunn Writes Human Characters

James Gunn The Suicide Squad

The whole film could have flopped if it just followed a bunch of random DC comic characters we didn’t care about. Fortunately, Gunn masterfully creates human characters; flawed, but realistically motivated characters that feel relatable (well, hopefully you don’t imagine people look like your mom). I found myself genuinely caring about every single member of the Suicide Squad (except for Michael Rooker’s Savant, we don’t tolerate bird murderers here).

This humanizing aspect is what makes conflicts such as when Peacemaker and Rick Flag have their final fight to the death. I was so nervous and I had no idea where it was going, but I didn’t want to see either character die. I cringed and gasped with every brutal throw and punch, and I anxiously anticipated the end of the fight. When Flag was stabbed by Peacemaker I was shocked and sad. Gunn always knowns how to hit me hard in the feelings. Both Guardians of the Galaxy films make me cry and movies rarely hit me like that.

As previously mentioned, Harley Quinn becomes a wonderfully likeable character in The Suicide Squad, and this is due to this high-quality writing that makes characters feel alive.

The Ensemble Cast Brings Great Writing To Life

The Suicide Squad Main Cast

There is not a bad performance in The Suicide Squad. Even a newcomer to Hollywood films such as Daniela Melchior absolutely nails their role. Melchior plays Ratcatcher 2, an original character created for the film. She is the daughter of the actual DC villain, Ratcatcher (of course). Non-like the worst character in the new Mortal Kombat film, Ratcatcher 2 is a fantastic character. James Gunn even makes the OC characters work. She was the greatest pleasant surprise of the whole film. Gunn set out to make Ratcatcher 2 – one of the only members of the Suicide Squad in prison for a petty crime – the heart of the film, and he exceeded wonderfully. Enough about just Ratcatcher 2 though, as this is true for all characters.

New and Returning Characters Are More Alive (Until They Aren’t) Than Ever

The Suicide Squad Characters

Returning characters like Rick Flag and Boomerang are more full of life than ever; the later unfortunately dies almost immediately, and this shocked me! Rest in piece Boomer. The new characters grow on you quickly, and this is great because the whole films falls apart if you don’t care about anyone on screen. King Shark is an instant fan-favorite, Peacemaker is a hilarious douchbag that has you laughing the whole film and then pisses you off, Ratcatcher 2 – as previously mentioned – is the heart of the film and a kind soul, Polka-Dot man is a tragic character that is a victim of his painful upbringing, and Bloodsport is an innate leader who is victim to his own self-doubt and primed disdain for himself. You really get a sense of who these characters are both externally and internally.

I must add that I really enjoyed how Gunn utilized realistic and organic says of still delivering each character’s origin story. In charming (often visualized) memories, Gunn is able to retroactively deliver short-and-sweet origin stories that explain each character’s power and motivations. This is brought up in conversation as each character is questioned by other. Personally, I believe Gunn nailed this every single time, and none of the explanations ever felt like lazy expositions. Let’s take this time to think about the 10 members of the Suicide Squad that were lost in battle, the unfortunate deaths of dozens of freedom fighters, and the countless civilians killed by a kidnapped space star. Rest in peace.

Huge Stakes Make For A Nerve-Wracking Good Time

The Suicide Squad Ratcatcher 2

In a film where you care about every character, it is that much more nerve-wracking knowing any of them could die in a brutal rated-R fashion. This made the stakes feel high, and straight up anxiety-inducing. During the third act I would sit at the end of the seat and just pray that King Shark doesn’t die (he doesn’t fortunately). I am not sure if this is intentional, but there are at least five scenes that feel like the beloved bi-pedal shark could bite the dusk.

The beginning of the film sets up the “anyone could go” tone, and fortunately this isn’t the only spot. If the film – from there going forward – never continued this attitude, then it wouldn’t have worked. However this isn’t the case, as even classic characters like Rick Flag are killed in the third act. Heck, I was still upset when I Peacemaker (seemed to have) died. I really enjoyed every character, and this added immensely to the stakes of the film.

Closing Thoughts:

The Suicide Squad is a fantastic superhero film that transcends the genre in every way. The comedy, action sequences, characters, acting, and writing offers a cartoonishly violent and exciting war satire that is sure to be enjoyed for years to come. I know I loved the film due to my genuine and candid enjoyment of the film – during my much-deserving IMAX viewing – which included tons of laughs, claps, and cheers. I haven’t had such a giddy experience in theaters since well perhaps the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films. However, the Suicide Squad takes everything Gunn learned from those films and sets it to 100. I firmly believe that the film is Gunn’s Magnum Opus, and I look forward to seeing if he ever tops it.

Following the movie, I highly anticipate James Gunn’s Peacemaker spinoff coming to HBOMax. I wonder what comes next for the DCEU?

Final Verdict: 10/10 Shells.

Bring The Suicide Squad Home With You

Want The Suicide Squad around whenever you need them? Either get yourself a subscription to HBO MAX (which I highly recommend, as it is full of great content!) or grab yourself a copy of the DVD, Blu-ray, or in 4K ULTRA HD by utilizing my affiliate links down below. Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, I will never recommend a product or service I don’t have 100% faith in. Happy watching!

Did you enjoy the Suicide Squad as much as I did? What did you think of this The Suicide Squad review? Share your thoughts in the comments.