Not falling for that shit again, so I had thought when I heard Warner Bros. were making another Suicide Squad movie.
It was 2016 and my love of directorial autonomy and indie films did not in the bit diminish my love of the big-budget hero-franchises that dominated both then and now. I didn’t think Batman v. Superman was amazing but not terrible, and I enjoyed most of those MCU films, with few exceptions. At the very least, even if I didn’t think a film had much objective quality, I thought they could entertain me for the better part of a couple hours. And as for Suicide Squad, I’d had much faith in David Ayer, its director who had shown a love of genre filmmaking with both Fury and End of Watch, and he had promised it to be a comic-book rendition of The Dirty Dozen, a film I had seen and loved the preceding summer.
And thus came a colossal disappointment, where I learned some movies in these franchises are so corrupted and muddled by a multitude of corporate hands that they no longer concern themselves with being remotely entertaining. The performances were lackluster, the story repetitive and painfully generic, and I was bored beyond belief.
Therefore, it took not only the overwhelmingly positive reviews of this film but personal recommendations for me to bother to see it. I was told it was stupid (which it is) but in a way that’s enjoyable and fun. I attended a showing and hadn’t laughed that hard in far too long. Here is a film that not only embraces its mass volume of goofy flamboyance, but flaunts it. Constantly flexing mostly-amoral characters and jokes directly correlated to a blood-spatter color palette, The Suicide Squad is purely itself and does not care if you don’t agree with it.
We open with a raid-on-the-beach scene with some familiar faces (Pete Davidson, Margot Robbie, Michael Rooker) and watch most of the crew get blown to bits and smithereens. Director James Gunn makes no effort to make anyone genuinely care about them, nor any effort to make their demise seem like anything shy of a minor inconvenience. Not all of the aforementioned famous actors make it out, and in their cameos alone they show not only sportsmanship but dedication to making us laugh at their bloody end.
In all its tar-black humor though, this film is not entirely soulless. It has moments of camaraderie, backstories of misunderstood characters, and even a surprising turn toward the ideological near the film’s climax. My biggest fault is not that the film’s final third felt like a singular action scene, but that the action scene dragged several minutes and overstayed before its finale.
This is the lovably weird Deadpool/Dirty Dozen love-child that I was hoping Ayer’s film would be. I know very little about Gunn’s filmography, aside from my lukewarm reception to his take on the Guardians of the Galaxy, but it managed to revive an interest in the comic-book-film genre that I felt had been beaten to death at this point, for I had skipped all the new ones ever since I was let down by Spider-Man: Far From Home. While I’m not rushing to Snyder’s 4-hour apparent epic or seeking Birds of Prey on streaming services, I’m at the very least optimistic for the genre’s future and intrigued by what people like James Gunn can do with it.