Exactly five years after the Suicide Squad (2016) disastrously underperformed, The Suicide Squad (2021) hits the mark that the first attempt completely missed.
It's vulgar, it's lewd, and it pushes the boundaries of what a comic book movie can achieve. Writer-director James Gunn is bold and brash in his unapologetically bloodsoaked breakout into the DC Extended Universe. Gunn knows what he can get away with and he continues to drive those limits forward.
This giddy, profane, and grisly superhero story is heroic in its own means, but there are no heroes among Gunn's squad. The collective of cads is comprised of a stacked cast of DCEU alum and newcomers to DC Films alike. Old characters and fresh faces cross paths and swap traumas, but as the tagline teases, don't get too attached. Every unsettling headshot or body dismembered mercilessly is recovered by Gunn's inventive approach to audiovisual means. Creativity is key when the casualties rack up countlessly.
There are means of marrying the tragedy of each misfit member of the motley crew together with a good time, racing the heart and the humor of the movie against each other. Awkward dips into sentimentality combat against the gleeful hysteria that looms overhead. Punchlines and morals are put head-to-head, though one thing is for sure: The Suicide Squad is an incredibly fun film.
There's the defiance of the superhero craze that has consumed Hollywood while remaining bleakly self-aware. The political commentary serves as a reminder that comics have always been political in nature. The binaries between morals are bleared as the conversation around "what makes a hero a hero" is invited to be had. It's a contemporary mix of conventional themes shroud in gory satire priding itself on its atypicality.
Cascading with carnage, The Suicide Squad is shamelessly silly and savage while tapping into gruesome imagination. The over-the-top attitude and impulsivity of the film make it weirdly wonderful. The second crack at the titular team is ultimately delightfully messy and overstuffed with chaos. This is the sardonic summer blockbuster that DC has been waiting for. 8/10.
*There is one mid-credit and one post-credit scene.*