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The Suicide Squad (2021)


It’s weird that we now live in a time when a studio is willing to make the same movie twice, only a few years apart and call it by the same title. But here’s DC’s The Suicide Squadagain. This time it’s written and directed by James Gunn, who brought Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to life in a fun and heartfelt way. With The Suicide Squad, he’s telling a similar story — at least at its core. A rag-tag team of ne’er-do-wells are united to face a common enemy and redeem their sketchy pasts. There’s nothing novel about the plot, and it shares Guardians of the Galaxy‘s willful irreverence, too. It’s much gorier and violent than anything Marvel has done, but except for its tonal extremes, it’s pretty much ‘just another comic book movie’.

If you have to make a return trip to the well, at least do it with as much panache as James Gunn can. He assembles a fun cast, lead by Idris Elba and Margot Robbie. John Cena is along for the ride, too, along with weird characters who can summon rats (Daniela Melchior) and throw deadly polka dots at people (David Dastmalchian). Sylvester Stallone voices a man-shark creature with the brain and verbal abilities of a two-year old. And Viola Davis is back as their bad-ass commander-in-chief.

Gunn’s writing and this top-notch ensemble make the old just new enough to enjoy again. The movie’s best moments are when Gunn adds some poetic, visual splendor. Robbie, as the delightfully dangerous Harley Quinn, takes on a horde of henchmen with a javelin, feeling the weapon is somehow helping her fulfill some mystic destiny. Animated flowers cascade from her during this fight scene, and a couple of Cinderella-esque birds swirl around her. Another favorite moment is when Stallone’s shark character finds a darkened aquarium and interacts with small sea creatures who seem delighted to meet him.

With Joel Kinnaman and many cameo appearances from Gunn regulars, including Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, and Sean Gunn.

Oh, and as a bird lover: What the hell, James Gunn?!?! I had to cover my conure’s eyes TWICE!