A few weeks ago, critics lucky enough to attend an early screening of The Suicide Squad began sharing their first impressions of the film on social media. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Now, the review embargo is over, and we have a better idea of what to expect.
The Suicide Squad is currently sitting at a score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes with 60 reviews. This makes it the highest-rated entry in the DC Extended Universe canon. It sounds like poaching director James Gunn was one of the smartest decisions Warner Bros. has made in recent years. Check out some highlights below.
According to The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore, The Suicide Squad’s greatest strength is its embrace of the macabre. Unlike David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, the reboot is able to “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.”
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Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt echoed these comments. Although she gave the film a C+, she appreciated the fact that it “celebrates the nonsense.” More specifically, she observed that “Gunn seems to revel in the squishy viscera of it all, earning his hard-R rating again and again with a kind of casual brutality that treats collateral damage like a bonus, not a bug.”
David Ehrlich (IndieWire) says The Suicide Squad is “the most fun and least depressing superhero movie in a very long time.” He confessed that the tone doesn’t stray too far from that of Ayer’s film. However, Gunn’s update “actually has the chutzpah (and the creative freedom) to make good on Harley Quinn’s whole ‘we’re bad guys — it’s what we do’ routine.” Ehrlich also described Sylvester Stallone’s King Shark as “the role he was born to play.” Likewise, he singled out John Cena’s performance as Peacemaker. He also adds that Cena’s “strongman comic schtick is so much funnier when it belies a certain weakness, and The Suicide Squad uses him more effectively than any movie since Blockers.”
Writing for Collider, Matt Goldberg was particularly impressed with how the movie handles its jam-packed cast of supervillains. As he tells it, “not a single person feels wasted here,” and everyone gets in a joke or two. He also advised us to once again keep an eye on Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Because apparently, The Suicide Squad has “arguably her best scene in any DCEU movie thus far.”
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In her four-star review for The Independent, Clarisse Loughrey lauded Gunn’s “distinct and self-assured vision.” She also teased that the movie offers some meta commentary on comic book adaptations in general. For instance, it “provides a firm critique of the kind of imperialism often tethered to the genre. Where superheroes are free to mow through foreign countries, leaving destruction in their wake – all to advance the American Way.” In the long run, Gunn’s efforts put The Suicide Squad “alongside the very best of modern comic-book filmmaking.”
Meanwhile, Variety’s Owen Gleiberman called the movie “cunningly scuzzy, disreputable fun.” But more importantly, it hones Suicide Squad’s “rogue attitude to a much sleeker edge of outrage.” And that’s what makes the film a “rare” do-over that actually works.
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But of course, you can’t always please everyone. And so far, the lone “rotten” review comes from Christina Newland. Writing for the U.K.’s iNews, Newland seemed put off by The Suicide Squad’s gratuitous violence, especially when combined with “Guardians of the Galaxy-style goofiness.” She was similarly unimpressed by the humor: “It’s all try-hard postmodernism and quippy one-liners, concealing an unfunny cruelty just beneath.”
The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max on August 6.
What do you think about these early reviews for The Suicide Squad? Are you looking forward to seeing it for yourself? Let us know in the comments down below!
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