FoofDeckman’s review published on Letterboxd:
When I first heard that Warner Brothers were already remaking/rebooting Suicide Squad only after 5 years, I was skeptical. Suicide Squad (2016) is a movie I really dislike, there's nothing that comes to mind about that movie that I find enjoyable. So when I heard that the one and only James Gunn was attached to write and direct the reboot, I was immediately interested. As someone that's a fan of his work, I was curious to see what he'd be able to do with this R-rated Superhero film. I can safely say that this didn't disappoint in the slightest.
I coincidently re-watched his Guardians of the Galaxy movies within the past month during my MCU re-watch, unrelated to the build up to this movie. In many ways they share aspects in terms of character dynamics and how these morally bad people work off each other, I just personally think this movie does it so much better than the Guardians films. Now I'm not here to say that The Suicide Squad and Guardians of the Galaxy are the same type of movie, but I can definitely see some inspirations here and there when it comes to certain aspects of the characters.
I don't know if James Gunn was just given the opportunity to do whatever the hell he wanted, but it definitely feels like it. I don't know what's taken so long for Warner Brothers/DC executives to realize that giving talented film makers FREEDOM to do what they want actually BENEFITS THE QUALITY of the movie. It's like I have to spell this out to them, cause they consistently contradict themselves in retrospect when looking at other successful superhero movies. The Suicide Squad needed a unique creative vision, and it got that with this movie. Now that I've praised James Gunn for 3 paragraphs, let me talk about the actual movie.
The movie itself is packed to the brim with energy. Whether it be the action, the performances, the direction or even the writing, everything just clicks in a way that a lot of movies similar fail at. There's approximately 1000 characters in this movie, and somehow you manage to get a grasp of the large majority of them. Would I have liked to had more screen time for certain characters? Sure. Am I satisfied that I at least was interested enough in wanting more of these characters instead of feeling like I was robbed of possible character moments? Absolutely. With a movie juggling this many characters, it's inevitable that the movie is going to pick favorites, but pretty much everyone gets at least one moment to shine, which also gives enough room for you to care about them.
As someone that's been on the record as saying that I wasn't a big fan of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, even after watching both Suicide Squad (2016) and Birds of Prey (2020). I actually see the appeal now. I'm not entirely familiar with how she's portrayed in the comics, but I ultimately don't care, cause that's not what I'm reviewing. She has a lot of funny moments that I feel work better in The Suicide Squad than in other movies I've seen Margot Robbie play this character in. She also has one of the best action scenes in this movie, that's almost solely dedicated towards her, which was extremely fun to watch.
The new characters that the movie really focuses on are all really fun as well. My favorites out of all of them being Peter Capaldi and Sylvester Stallone. I know I'm biased towards Peter Capaldi cause I'm a Doctor Who fan, but he's really fun as this character. Sylvester Stallone basically plays the "Groot" equivalent in this movie, which is perfectly fine cause I found his character to be really funny. John Cena is surprisingly great in this, I don't know if it's his enthusiastic line delivery when he says these truly morally wrong things and the way his dialogue is written and executed, but I loved seeing him in this movie. (Or maybe I didn't see him who knows) He brings such life to this character that I couldn't see many other people doing and made this a lot more fun than I would have expected. Idris Elba is great as well, he's more of the straight-man as compared to these wacky characters, but his performance is still solid. This is one of those cases where the characters themselves are really good, but seeing them all interact with each other is when the movie shines the brightest. The other 9995 people I couldn't fit in this paragraph were also good in the movie.
The action in this is surprisingly well executed too. When I heard R-rated I just assumed every blood effect would be CG, but it turns out they did a mix of a lot of things. Not only that, but it's so much fun just seeing fun characters like this swear at each other. Everyone talks in the most vulgar way and it's fantastic to see in a superhero movie. There's several action sequences where the camera is able to just hold instead of constantly cutting with shaky cam like most action movies nowadays. You actually get to see what's happening during the set pieces and look at the great choreography and stunt work. While this movie does use a lot of CG, they do decide to opt for practical effects when it comes to certain scenes, which is nice to see as well.
Some negatives I have with this movie is that at points the cinematography choices are somewhat questionable. This movie chooses to do a lot of snap zooms and whip pans that seem overused. They also do a lot of backward dolly shots mixed with whip pans, which doesn't look the best in my opinion. This is more of a nitpicky thing than anything, cause it doesn't happen too often. It's never noticeable to the point where the majority of people who watch it will act like nitpicky a-holes like me. It sort of gave me early Edgar Wright editing vibes, like in Hot Fuzz. (Which by the way Hot Fuzz is great go that watch that). I do think this movie overuses licensed music to some degree. It works in Guardians of the Galaxy because those songs are directly tied into the main character's backstory with his mother. In this movie, most of the time the songs just sort of play without much meaning behind them. The context behind the songs playing is just because it's a "fun song for action sequences", which in most cases that works fine as an excuse. It doesn't feel shoehorned, but at the same time I would have preferred more of the originally composed music.
Overall this movie was so much better than I was expecting it to be. I knew James Gunn was a competent director and this movie was in safe hands, but I might go as far to say that just after seeing The Suicide Squad, it's my favorite thing he's done so far. I was somewhat worried about how this movie would turn out based upon my feelings towards the 2016 iteration, but this did not disappoint. I highly recommend people check out his other works outside of the MCU and DC movies, such as Slither and Super. Super was my previous favorite movie from him and now I think this has topped that. Please check out this movie and show the Hollywood executives that we need more of these dumb superhero movies to take risks and be creative. Otherwise we'll be stuck with movies like Ant-Man and the Wasp for the rest of our existences. I highly recommend The Suicide Squad, hell, even see it in a theater if you're able to.
2021 Reviews: boxd.it/aMx3a
On a side note, I know this is unrelated, but I've decided to create YouTube content again and would be very grateful if you were to check out this recent video I made. The support helps out a lot! youtu.be/PddNKtHiUwE