Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
Supervillains Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker and a collection of nutty cons at Belle Reve prison join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X as they are dropped off at the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.
James Gunn has been unleashed. He was given full control here, and that is evident from the opening scene. Not only are the returning characters just as great as ever, but the new cast members provide so much in terms of entertainment. Margot Robbie and Viola Davis are the consistent pillars of this franchise, but Idris Elba’s Bloodsport and Daniela Melchior’s Ratcatcher 2 are newcomers that make an immediate impact. Even John Cena is ridiculously entertaining here, and Sly as the voice of King Shark is perfection. I could rave about the cast all day, but that means nothing without a good story. The beauty here is within the execution because the story itself is simple, but just like how Mad Max: Fury Road thrives off of its simplicity, The Suicide Squad does the exact same.
There is a nice balance of heart and humor, but there is also a deviously dark side to this film. It gets as bloody and violent as any comic book movie ever, and there are some decisions made here that will have jaws on the floor. While a death or two may have been predictable, most of it happens before you even have time to assume it is coming, as Gunn just makes these drastic decisions for the fun of it. Even then, none of it feels random, as each decision means a lot to the plot itself. There is so much to praise to give regarding the visuals; not only is the cgi excellently interweaved into this realistic setting, but there are some great practical effects utilized. We also have a rousing score, excellent sound design, and a soundtrack that flows perfectly (unlike the random one in the first film).
The only moment where I felt like I did not care as much came prior to the halfway point, and this was when the rampant action slowed down to focus more on the story. That is a good idea on paper, but it may have hurt the flow at that point. Regardless, it doesn’t hinder the experience in the least bit because the film picks right back up. The movie does such a great job of remaining in the universe that we love, but it never relies on knowledge of the first film’s plot, other than knowing what the team actually does (which is helpful). If you are not a fan of hardcore violence, this may not be one for you, as it does not let up. Otherwise, it does feel like a blockbuster for everyone. Also, those who know these lesser known characters will have the best time seeing them come to life. Overall, The Suicide Squad absolutely shocked me and immediately shot to the top of my yearly ranking. I never imagined that I would enjoy this movie on this level. Thank you James Gunn.