THE SUICIDE SQUAD: 5 Things That Worked And 3 Things That Didn't - Spoiler-Free Breakdown

THE SUICIDE SQUAD: 5 Things That Worked And 3 Things That Didn't - <font color=red>Spoiler-Free</font> Breakdown

The Suicide Squad arrives in theaters and on HBO Max this Friday, but for those of you looking for a better idea of what to expect, we're taking a deep, spoiler-free dive into what did and didn't work...

The Suicide Squad has already been released in some counties across the globe, but it won't arrive in the U.S. until this Friday (where it lands on HBO Max at the same time it hits theaters).

For the most part, the reviews for James Gunn's DC Extended Universe debut have been overwhelmingly positive. Does it deserve that 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes? Well, it's not hard to see why so many critics loved it, though it will be interesting to see how fans respond this weekend. 

We'll have lots of spoilery features to share with you over the next couple of weeks, but for now, we thought you might appreciate some insight into what did and didn't work in The Suicide Squad. From certain characters who stole the show to specific ideas or creative decisions that failed to hit their target, we have you covered with this in-depth breakdown of Gunn's take on Task Force X.

As far as we're concerned, there's nothing here that you wouldn't find in any other review or the movie's many trailers and TV spots; however, click that "Next" button at your own risk as some of you may consider what we cover here to be relatively minor spoilers for the DC Comics adaptation...
 

Did Work: Nom Nom

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We'll start off talking about part of The Suicide Squad we're confident everyone will love: King Shark.

Understandably, some fans might not like his intelligence being dialled down to the point where he's essentially a shark-shaped child, but he's instantly endearing and so much fun to spend time with. His story arc is actually one of the most satisfying to follow, and he's impossible not to love (props to Sylvester Stallone for delivering perhaps the most unexpected performance of his career).

Whether it's watching King Shark bond with his teammates or literally tear a dude to pieces, Gunn has done an amazing job bringing this character to life in the context of the story he's telling. If you've had a Groot-sized hole in your heart, then rest assured King Shark is here to fill it!
 

Didn't Work: Jokes That Wear Thin

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If you've seen any of James Gunn's movies prior to Guardians of the Galaxy (and some of you may even want to include that and Vol. 2), you'll know the filmmaker has a very unique sense of humour. However, it's also one that occasionally veers into a relatively tasteless or juvenile place. 

That's certainly the case here, and some jokes fall flat in a big way. Now, there are plenty that are legitimately very funny, but in our screening, gags about "dicks" and "splooge" were met with deathly silence. These jokes frequently undermine more serious moments too, something that hurts the filmmaker's attempts to get us emotionally invested in the journey these villains are taking.

One running gag about Polka-Dot Man's past becomes beyond tiresome and isn't exactly original. Humour is subjective, of course, but if the jokes in The Suicide Squad - and there are a lot of them - don't work for you, then you might find your enjoyment of the movie takes a hit. 
 

Did Work: John Cena's Peacemaker

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John Cena has gone to great lengths to establish himself as a Hollywood star since winding down his wrestling career, and the results have been...mixed. He's been both very good and undeniably bad on screen thus far, but it's Gunn who manages to get what proves to be a great performance from him.

Peacemaker is an asshole, but he's an asshole who is actually a joy to spend time with. He's certainly not likeable (not a bad thing when he's supposed to be a villain), though Cena's performance helps make him an extremely complex and interesting character we're excited to spend more time with.

After watching The Suicide Squad, it's easy to see why Gunn wanted to make an entire series revolving around Peacemaker, and there's clearly a lot to delve into that this movie only briefly touches on. 
 

Did Work: Comic Book Inspired Visuals

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With Warner Bros. basically allowing Gunn to do whatever the hell he wants with this movie, the filmmaker is able to stretch his creative chops and deliver some downright brilliant visuals. 

That includes a lot of very cool comic book-inspired shots that are used as they might be on the page, and that lends something of a graphic novel feel to The Suicide Squad. It's really cool, and it's clear Gunn is a filmmaker whose aesthetic works perfectly in these worlds of superheroes (and supervillains).

We certainly can't say that about everything he does here; the gore is a little over the top, for example. Oh, and that's not us being prudes: it's just an example of bloody violence that takes you out of the movie because it's so ridiculous. It sort of works in context, but mostly comes across as being a bit lame. 
 

Didn't Work: Harley Quinn's Story Arc

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Love it or hate it, Birds of Prey took Harley Quinn on quite the journey and established her as someone who no longer needed The Joker and had the ability to be an anti-hero in her own right.

We're not saying The Suicide Squad necessarily undoes that journey, but it does occasionally feel like a step back. That's particularly the case in the first half of the movie when we see Harley fall under the spell of another powerful man; here, Gunn attempts to show that she's learned from past mistakes, but it's not overly tasteful, and feels like a typical example of a male screenwriter attempting to write a woman in a way they feel is meaningful and deep. 

Things do get better in the second half of the movie for Harley, though, and we can't fault Gunn's wackier take on the character in those moments (such as a very colourful escape from captivity). 
 

Did Work: Some Great, Albeit Forgettable, Characters

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Bad jokes aside (some of which those of you reading this might find riotously funny), there's no denying that Gunn is a great writer. That's particularly the case with the characters he breathes life into here, though it's hard to escape the feeling that the amazing cast deserves most of the credit. 

Idris Elba's Bloodsport feels a lot like Deadshot with a different name and costume (he even has a daughter he's trying to protect by joining Amanda Waller's team), but the actor elevates the role enough that it doesn't matter. Daniela Melchior is a revelation as Ratcatcher 2, while returning cast members Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, and Margot Robbie are all on top form as their respective characters.

As for why we've described them as forgettable...well, that's perhaps too harsh, but they're probably not going to have a lasting impact. Some certainly will more than others, though an argument could be made that Gunn doesn't put this Task Force X on the map the same way he did the Guardians. They're a little like a one-night stand; fun in the moment, but you won't remember 'em when you sober up.
 

Did Work: You'll Find It Hard Not To Have Fun

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We get that not everyone will appreciate the criticisms here, and many of you are going to love the things we hated and perhaps even hate the things we loved. Opinions are like, well, you know. 

However, while not everything hit the mark in this particular critic's opinion, there's no denying that The Suicide Squad is an absolute blast for the most part. It never gets dull, features heaps of action, and is undeniably entertaining even when some of the aforementioned jokes do fall flat. 

Putting aside what are perhaps quite minor complaints, this movie is a good time and one it's hard not to recommend. Your mileage may vary when it comes to whether this adventure for Task Force X should be considered a masterpiece, but we can safely say this is one of the better DC movies.
 

Didn't Work: It's...Kinda The Same As The Last Movie?!

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There are some critics who clearly love The Suicide Squad so much that even suggesting this is likely to send them to the E.R. with chest pains, but Gunn's reboot...well, it's really not that fresh a take on Task Force X. We'll preface this by saying that the movie is a massive improvement on David Ayer's 2016 effort, and a superior piece of filmmaking in just about every way imaginable.

However, the way things play out feels extremely similar. We meet the team behind bars; they're sent into action by the despicable Amanda Waller; it's quickly established that no one is safe; as time passes, we learn these baddies are actually kinda good; they put their differences aside to tackle a world-ending threat. Basically, the premise of these two movies is nearly the same. 

Perhaps that's just the way it is with a franchise like this one, and it's not like The Suicide Squad follows the inferior Suicide Squad beat for beat. However, you'd be best off not heading into this reboot expecting a comic book movie that's unlike anything you've seen before as it fails to break new ground.
 

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