The Suicide Squad: Positive reviews for ‘riotous’ film
The Suicide Squad, which stars Margot Robbie and Idris Elba as mercenary supervillains, has received largely positive reviews.
The film, directed by Guardian of the Galaxy’s James Gunn, follows on from 2016’s similarly-titled and poorly-reviewed Suicide Squad.
The Independent called the new installment an “unbelievably vast improvement”.
The Guardian said it was “a long, loud, often enjoyable and amusing film”.
The latest movie sees the US government send the world’s most dangerous supervillains to a remote island, to trek through the jungle on a search-and-destroy mission, armed with high-tech weapons.
Some actors from the 2016 superhero film reprise their roles for The Suicide Squad, but others such as Will Smith and Jared Leto are absent this time around. Elba is a new addition to the cast, along with John Cena.
Clarisse Loughrey wrote in The Independent: “Gunn’s film is as sugary sweet as it is bloody, like an ice cream sundae drizzled with organs.”
She added that his “distinct and self-assured vision” puts the film “alongside the very best of modern comic-book filmmaking”.
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave the film three stars, commenting that it “blitzes your eyeballs and eardrums and covers all the bases”.
He picked out the acting talents of Viola Davis, saying she “once again brings a touch of class to the Suicide Squad franchise as the chillingly manipulative security chief Amanda Waller, who now springs supervillain Bloodsport (Elba) from jail so that he can head up an elite new crew of misfits, desperadoes, and undesirables”.
‘Lovable, if lethal’
The film’s producers have previously encouraged fans not to think of the new film as a sequel or a reboot, but its own entity which takes place within the same Suicide Squad universe.
“Technically this is a sequel to Ayer’s piece, but that film’s plot was such an incomprehensible mess that it’s quite simple for Gunn to largely ignore it,” noted Empire’s Olly Richards. “The addition of ‘The’ to the beginning of the title seems a less than subtle instruction to consider this the real deal and the last one just a clumsy test run. That was merely a Suicide Squad.
In his four-star review, Time Out’s Dan Jolin said: “You may be wondering whether this is a remake of, or a sequel to, David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad. After all, it’s the exact same DC-comics-based concept. It’s a reasonable question. But one which new writer-director James Gunn answers by effectively saying: ‘Don’t worry about all that. Let’s just have some fun.”
Jolin praised the 2021 film’s leads, saying that “as high-tech mercenary Bloodsport, Idris Elba gives all the manic antics some world-weary grounding”. Sylvester Stallone voices King Shark, who is described as “counter-intuitively lovable if lethal, lunk”.
“But the show really belongs to Robbie as Harley, on her third outing as the fan-favorite bubblegum psycho,” he said. “Gunn not only gifts her the best lines, but also the movie’s finest action sequence.”
The Times’s Ed Potton simply said: “Now that’s how you do it,” and gave it four stars, adding it was “slicker, stranger and funnier” than the first film.
Not everyone was full of praise, however. The i’s Christina Newland awarded it two stars and said: “Not even Margot Robbie can save this confetti-colored stupidity.”
She added that the humor “doesn’t land” and the “grotesquery, an obvious attempt to tart up the DC Universe with adult material, falls even flatter”, but praised the acting skills of Elba, Robbie, and John Cena.
The Daily Telegraph’s Robbie Colin was more enthusiastic, describing the film as “a riotous reboot that has the original film for breakfast”.
“Colourful, crass, and emotionally alive, this new adaptation of a niche DC series almost makes you feel sorry for the frightful 2016 version,” he said.
Variety’s Owen Gleiberman said Gunn “delivers the cunningly scuzzy throwaway that the first Suicide Squad should have been”, adding: “Shot for shot it’s made with a slicing ingenuity that honors the genre of The Dirty Dozen (and also, in a funny way, Ghostbusters)”.
He pointed out that Harley Quinn – who got her own breakout film in 2020 – is the only Squad member to return for the second film. Describing Robbie’s “delectable performance”, Gleiberman said she “gives her the charisma of the truly unhinged – a duel pulse of wide-eyed spaciness and raciness, innocence and possession”.