Superheroes: ‘The Suicide Squad’ Review

Screenshot of Margot Robbie, Daniela Melchior, Idris Elba, and David Dastmalchian in ‘The Suicide Squad’. Copyright goes to DC Films and Warner Bros. Pictures.

Hey! Hallie here!

I, surprisingly, was able to see ‘The Suicide Squad’ right after it came out. I don’t have HBO Max and I’m still not going to movie theaters, so at first it didn’t look like seeing this movie early would work out. But a good friend of mine made watching this movie possible via her own HBO Max account, so here’s my review! Right away I’m going to warn everyone that I’m not a gore person. Gore makes me feel a little sick and is a major reason why I stay away from the Horror genre. This movie has a lot of gore. It definitely earns its R rating. So know going into this review that there were parts of the movie that just weren’t my thing. I’ll go a bit more into that later. As for right now, here’s your warning that there will be SPOILERS ahead! Let’s talk about this movie!

The Good:

Bloodsport: I’ve wanted to see Idris Elba heading a superhero film for a long time. He was so good in all of the ‘Thor’ movies and it only made me wish he was onscreen more. This movie let him shine as the starring role and he absolutely killed it. Bloodsport is a really interesting lead for this movie. He doesn’t see himself as any kind of leader and doesn’t have the motivation to do much of anything at the beginning of the movie. You can tie this attitude back to his relationship with his daughter. This relationship at first feels like a copy of Deadshot’s relationship with his daughter, but once Bloodsport interacts with his daughter you can see that it’s nothing like that at all. His relationship with her is horrible. She deliberately makes poor decisions to see if he will be concerned for her and the path she’s going down, but Bloodsport never criticizes her crimes, only the way she goes about them. His daughter even goes as far as to say that he’s an embarrassment to her. He feels like a failure to his daughter, which both zaps him of any desire to do anything at the beginning of the movie, and pushes him forward when Amanda Waller does recruit him. Throughout the movie we get to see him grow as a person and as a leader, and by the end of the movie he makes the ultimately good decision to save the day. Which, of course, finally redeems him in the eyes of his daughter. He’s an intimidating guy who only wants to do right by the people he cares about, and it makes for a much softer character than you initially expect.

Harley Quinn: I love Harley Quinn in every movie she’s been in so far. This movie is no different. Right from the beginning I knew her character was going to be perfect here. Between her playful banter with Captain Boomerang and her adorable flirting with Javelin, she stole my heart right from her first scene. And her hilarious reaction to Javelin’s death because he isn’t able to finish his last sentence, reassured me that James Gunn had her brand of insane down. My favorite Harley moment occurs when the leader of the island the Squad is trying to infiltrate decides he wants to marry her. Harley goes along with all of it at first and even finds him very romantic. But when he starts talking about the atrocities he’s committed, she shoots him. While he bleeds out on the floor, she explains in a very detailed manner that she promised herself she’d murder the next guy she was dating who had red flags because she deserves better. Not only is the moment empowering, it’s hilarious to watch her have this emotional moment with herself while her now ex-boyfriend tries to crawl away. Horrific but hilarious. She’s captured afterwards, but the killing spree she goes on to escape her captors is the most badass part of the whole movie. Especially while all the brightly colored hallucinations occur around her, as only Harley could conjure in a fight scene like that. Margot Robbie is the perfect Harley Quinn and no one can tell me otherwise.

King Shark: King Shark is one of the most brutal characters in this movie. In fight scenes he rips people apart or graphically eats them. But he’s such a sweetheart. He’s not the brightest character. He’s attempting to read an upside down book when we first meet him and his idea of a disguise is a fake mustache that’s just his finger held up to his face. But he’s so cute. He’s friendly to nearly everyone he meets even if he intends to eat them, and when others display interest in being his friends he promises not to eat them and stays true to his word. No one can say they didn’t feel soft when he tried to make friends with the strange fish creatures at the end of the movie. Or when he wasn’t able to join the rest of the Squad in a bar, so he was left sadly sitting in their bus. King Shark might have been my favorite character in this movie aside from Harley. James Gunn really knows how to write adorable side characters.

Ratcatcher 2: This character is the heart of this movie. She gets along with everyone almost instantly, and who wouldn’t want to be her friend? Just her association with her rat, Sebastian, makes her seem adorable and approachable. After first meeting King Shark he attempts to eat her in her sleep, but rather than being angry at him, she notes that he’s probably just lonely. She befriends King Shark and, when the Shark survives the final battle, she gives him a giant hug. Ratcatcher 2 also lost her father, which instantly gets the attention of Bloodsport. Given his rocky relationship with his daughter, he sees Ratcatcher 2 as a young woman in need of a father figure who he feels he can actually support. Their relationship is really cute, but she has his back just as much as he has hers. I’d argue that she and her rats are the major reason the final battle was won at the end of the movie. And while she sends her rats after Starro, she uses herself to protect Bloodsport from the rats because he has a phobia of them. She deserves nothing but the best.

Rick Flag: I’m not the biggest Rick Flag fan, but this movie really did its best to undo some of the harm the first movie did to this character. He’s no longer ruled by his relationship with his girlfriend and his small friendship with Harley is really fun to watch. Not only that, but his loyalties to the government aren’t strangely corrupted like they are in the first film. Instead of watching Amanda Waller kill a room full of innocents and shrugging it off, he hears about the horrible experiments the government did with Starro and tries to leak the information. For this he ends up dying at the hands of Peacemaker, but his death is a heroic one. Rick Flag deserved to go out like the hero he was always meant to be.

The Government and the Suicide Squad: Whenever you’re telling a story about the Suicide Squad, you have to carry through the messages about government corruption. No moral government would allow Amanda Waller to send anyone out on dangerous missions with the threat of being killed if they fail or refuse orders. This movie does an excellent job of making this point. The fact that it’s actually this exact government that put together the horrific Starro experiments, rather than the bad guys we’re lead to believe it is, sent the perfect message. Even without this plot point, the opening segment of the movie alone shows how disturbingly awful the Suicide Squad arrangement is. All those characters I was worried wouldn’t get character development? They don’t get any. Because they die within the first fifteen minutes of the movie. Half of the characters seen in the trailer turn out to be part of a distraction team, meant to engage with the enemy in a fight they can’t win so another team, our actual main characters, can infiltrate the island of interest at a separate location. Everyone in this decoy group, save Rick Flag and Harley Quinn, end up brutally killed. Including Captain Boomerang. The scene is horrible and yes, one person does try to get away and gets their head blown off. There’s nothing moral about the fact that this team wasn’t told exactly what they were in for. Or that this team was sent in to such an unwinable battle in the first place. That lack of morals displayed by Amanda Waller, and by association the government, is important to every Suicide Squad movie.

The Bad:

Character Relationships: The individual characters were built up pretty nicely, but aside from Bloodsport and Peacemaker’s rivalry, it never felt like the characters were truly connecting. Even Ratchatcher 2 and Bloodsport’s father-daughter relationship received hardly any time. This lack of connection is also the reason why Polka-Dot Man’s death didn’t hit me very hard. Ratcatcher 2 was saddened by his demise, but the fact that she was nice to everyone spoke more to Ratcatcher 2’s personality and less to an actual bond between the two characters. Everyone in this movie felt disconnected and the lack of care the characters had for each other definitely affected how much I cared about the characters as well. And with a few characters backstories relegated to a single sentence in some cases, like that of Polka-Dot Man, I wound up not caring about some characters at all. Not every movie like this needs to feel like found family, but a sense of at least camaraderie would have made me feel more emotionally engaged.

The Gore: Here we get to personal preference. This movie started off with the gore right away. Blackguard gets his face blown off in a graphic manner and I wasn’t prepared for it. I didn’t appreciate how fast this movie got to the gore, nor did I appreciate how quick it was to show human entrails and characters being literally ripped apart. If you’re squeamish like me, I wouldn’t recommend ‘The Suicide Squad’. It’s an action movie and all the action scenes are gruesome. There’s some scenes without gore, but I don’t think those alone can get you through this movie.

Overall I really liked ‘The Suicide Squad’. I wished they had done more to tie the characters together emotionally. A lot of the time I find that is what draws me into a story the most. But there was definitely some good writing for the major characters that interested me. I really want to see more of the surviving cast in the future. I can’t say I know why they chose Peacemaker for their spin-off series and I’m not sure I’ll be watching that, but that doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of the movie. I don’t think you’ll catch me watching this movie again, but that’s because of the gore more than anything else. This movie was good! It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely better than the last movie that attempted this concept. If you don’t have any problems with gore, I’d recommend it!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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