When it comes to The Suicide Squad (2021), it is easy to become skeptical about whether or not it’ll be good. That’s understandable since the first film underperformed and was divisive among fans and critics. But no need to worry any more, since this iteration of Task Force X goes all in on the violence and weirdness. Seriously, they have a member of the task force called Polka Dot Man (portrayed by David Dastmalchian) you honestly can't get much weirder than that! In The Suicide Squad (2021), Colonel Rick Flag (portrayed by Joel Kinnaman) must lead Task Force X into the city of Corto Maltese to destroy evidence of a black ops project known as Project Starfish.
When Suicide Squad (2016) released, it had big names like Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis to bankroll the movie. With the exception of a few returning faces, this cast is entirely new and 3 times as big. Margot Robbie and Viola Davis are back as Harley Quinn and Amanda Waller respectively; joining them are John Cena and Idris Elba as Peacemaker and Bloodsport, along with many other big names. Not only is this cast nothing to scoff at, but the chemistry between the leads and supporting characters is completely genuine; it feels like they've known each other for years. There are great character relationships, for example Bloodsport and Peacemaker’s hilarious rivalry, which is put on full display during a camp raid in an attempt to rescue Rick Flag. Not to mention Rick Flag and Harley Quinn’s adorable, if unconventional, friendship shown by Rick risking the mission in order to save her from torture and imprisonment.
Then there’s the performances: Idris Elba as Bloodsport is as charismatic as ever, bringing nuanced drama and well timed comedy to a movie brimming with it. Margot Robbie delivers again as Harley Quinn and Viola Davis gives a more terrifying performance as Miss Waller than she did the first time around. John Cena as Peacemaker is the film’s most standout character, being as charismatic as the rest of the cast but delivering what seems to be his best performance in a film so far! It almost feels as if he was born to be Peacemaker! In addition, I can’t just ignore the scene-stealing King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone) in this movie, he’s just so loveable.
Even the story in The Suicide Squad (2021) is less convuluted than its previous entry, making a pretty straight forward black ops mission with a team of complete weirdos instead of a world-saving band of misfits. Warner Bros has to remember these are bad guys, not anti-heroes selfishly saving the world because of “reasons”. Ok, maybe a few anti-heroes with hearts of gold, but by the climax where the team goes up against Starro the Conqueror, we aren’t caring. We’ve grown attached to these characters over the course of 2 hours. But this story does not work without Ratcatcher 2 (portrayed by Daniela Melchoir). She is undoubtedly the heart of this film through her heartbreaking backstory and overall friendly nature which makes her an odd duck out in a team full of them. I also have to off-handedly mention that her rat friend, Sebastian, is adorable!
Along with the tremendous amount of heart throughout the film, there’s also a gratuitous amount of beautiful violence and death, particularly in the prologue when the squad infiltrates Corto Maltese and is met with a not so friendly welcome from the island’s military. The film introduces Savant (portrayed by Michael Rooker), Blackguard (portrayed by Pete Davidson), and others only to kill them off within the first five minutes of the film, telling the audience the unpredictability of every character’s fate throughout said film. I also have to give a special mention to Harley’s mansion escape as she mows down dozens of goons without even breaking a sweat, and the visuals get so outlandish you can’t help but be mesmerized by its beauty.
The Suicide Squad (2021) is a fantastic recovery from the 2016 attempt and proves that sometimes you just have to be as weird as possible, what with characters like King Shark acting as the DCEU’s Baby Groot. Not to mention the human interactions between characters truly feels organic and genuine. And with an over-the-top weird climax to boot, you cannot take your eyes off the screen. Its blend of dark comedy, violence, and complete weirdness is exactly what the DCEU needs to find its footing. Embrace the weird, it doesn't pay to be normal nowadays.