Fed up of family-friendly comic book movies that play by the rules? Step forward DC's The Suicide Squad, which unleashes a dizzying volley of enjoyably surreal characters, grisly set-pieces and dark humour that seeks to honour the tone of its source. Forget the much-maligned 2016 movie – James Gunn's movie puts the cray cray front and centre, while also recognising that a degree of heart and empathy is required. In other words, exactly what we've come to expect from the director of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Critics have lauded the movie as the best big-screen DC comic book experience so far, one that juggles multiple tones and acts as a breakout for some previously little-seen characters. The movie is currently rated 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, so here's a sampling of the responses, which ought to galvanize you into booking your seat at Cineworld pronto.
"James Gunn’s gleefully violent new picture mostly ignores David Ayer’s 2016 dud — but isn’t a reboot," writes John Defore in The Hollywood Reporter. "Not only does it find the nastily enjoyable vibe that eluded its predecessor, but it also tells a story worth following — while balancing its most appealing character with others whose disposability (they aren’t sent on suicide missions for nothin’) doesn’t prevent them from being good company onscreen."
"The Suicide Squad gets it right," enthuses Variety critic Owen Gleiberman, "honing that rogue attitude to a much sleeker edge of outrage. It’s a team-of-scruffy-cutthroats origin story that feels honestly dunked in the grunge underworld, and 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). In this movie, which he wrote and directed, the mind of James Gunn comes off as a happy downscale sick-joke place — no wilder than the sort of the thing you got in “Deadpool” or the more outré parts of “The Dark Knight,” but driven by an invigorating embrace of f**k-it-all no-futureness."
Brian Tallerico writes for RogerEbert.com: "Gunn has brought the B-movie sense of humor and brazenly adult level of violence that he honed working with Troma Entertainment in the 1990s to his first DC adaptation, even giving his mentor Lloyd Kaufman a cameo. Only the man who wrote Tromeo and Juliet could deliver something this gleefully grotesque, vicious, and unapologetic, and the DC Universe is all the better for it."
"For Gunn, fun constitutes letting rip with some extreme violence that bloodily dispatches many of the movie’s extensive ensemble (the clue is in the title), while keeping the gags coming thick and fast. He positively revels in the inherent silliness of his beloved, dime-store source material," writes Dan Jolin for Time Out. "While this sounds like it could be a lurid, teen-boy-fever-dream mess, Gunn gels it together with a wicked sense of humour and an evident affection for his characters who, though not so endearing as his Guardians of the Galaxy, are a hoot to hang around with."
"Perhaps the best metric for comparing Suicide Squads is how they treat the character of Harley Quinn," muses A.V. Club journalist Katie Rife. "In Ayer’s film, Harley is a side character, obsessed with her boyfriend, who the camera continually ogles in short-shorts and high-heeled sneakers. In Gunn’s, she wears a red ball gown and work boots for much of the film, and is the focus its most prominent subplot, a save-the-princess scenario where the princess chokes a man to death with her thighs before bashing in the skulls of a couple dozen flunkies."
Needless to say, not everyone is won over by the movie. Little White Lies writer Lillian Crawford describes it as "crass" and "disturbing", adding: "It’s about as anti-woke as you could possibly fathom, and there’s a complete disregard for what might be offensive to some viewers."
Regardless of what the critics think, it's now time to make up your own mind. Click here to book your tickets for The Suicide Squad, on release now in Cineworld cinemas.