“The Suicide Squad:” Action-Packed and Surprisingly Heartwarming

“The Suicide Squad,” directed by James Gunn (not to be confused with “Suicide Squad,” directed by David Ayer) did a lot of things differently this time around. With a whole new storyline and a fresh cast of characters, this new and improved Suicide Squad prepares to take on villains worse than themselves are and even battle a…starfish?

Despite the less than kind welcome the first “Suicide Squad” movie received from fans and critics, James Gunn decided to give it another shot and put his own spin on it this time. While the storyline of this 2021 version has nothing to do with the one directed by Ayer in 2016, there are a few familiar faces that have returned to reprise their roles — Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Joel Kinnaman (Colonel Rick Flag), Viola Davis (Amanda Waller) and Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang). 

Photo from Denofgeek.com

The movie also stars Idris Elba (Bloodsport), John Cena (Peacemaker), Pete Davidson (Blackguard), Daniela Melchior (Ratcatcher 2) and Sylvester Stallone (King Shark).

Gunn, most widely known as the writer/director of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, took this version of “The Suicide Squad” to the next level, both in his writing and his direction of the film. 

One of the main aspects that stood out was the very refreshing format compared to what usually awaits movie-goers. The movie jumps from place to place within its designated time frame, using scene titles to inform the audience of where they are. However, this isn’t done in the usual way, where big white letters appear at the bottom or across the entire screen, pulling the audience out of the film. Instead, the titles are naturally added into the scene. Whether it’s by leaves blowing across the ground that form themselves into words, or with flames appearing behind the characters that happens to spell out a change in location. This unique touch allowed viewers to stay connected to the film and gave it more of an organic element. 

While it had unparalleled action scenes, copious amounts of fake blood and some killer one-liners; it also had something that most action movies don’t. It had heart.

The most stand-out aspect of the film was how character driven it was. In most action films, it’s all about how many people can be killed in the bloodiest way (Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of that) and there isn’t that much focus on the growth of the characters and why they’re making certain decisions. 

Photo from Collider.com

Especially in a movie like “The Suicide Squad,” where the main plot point is that villains are forced to become heroes; it’s natural to wonder why these characters ended up as the villains to begin with. With this film, each character clearly had something driving them and the audience got a slight glimpse at what that was. 

In his writing, Gunn gave each member of the “squad” a chance to reveal how they came to be villains and what made them that way, without it being an overwhelming amount of information. This makes the audience understand certain decisions they make throughout the movie, thus reinforcing the idea of a character driven action movie. 

There were also more heartwarming moments than usual. The quote-on-quote “villains” actually have a chance  at becoming a version of the heroes that they are pretending to be for most of the movie. This element added a lot to the overall impact of the film. After most audiences finish watching crazy action movies, they leave the theatre feeling like they’ve seen enough fake blood for a lifetime, but after finishing this movie, you’ll leave feeling fulfilled. 

It’s clear that Gunn wanted to create something lasting and something that has an impact on those who watch it. Despite the movie literally swimming in fake blood and crude language, you may leave with a tear in your eye or even a fuller heart. 

“The Suicide Squad” will be released in theaters on August 6, 2021 and on HBO Max on August 5, 2021 at 7pm.


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