The Suicide Squad: Do critics love James Gunn’s film or want to kill it?

The Suicide Squad)
(The Suicide Squad did not kill at Box Office)

In 2018 James Gunn was unceremoniously fired from Disney over a series of offensive tweets dug up by far-right provocateur Mike Cernovich before filming Guardians of the Galaxy 3 could begin. Disney quickly realized their mistake and rehired him to continue his successful reign as writer/director of the series in 2019, only after he already signed a deal to write and direct The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros. 

Gunn has thus become the rare filmmaker to direct comic book movies in both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe. Gunn recently revealed on Instagram (via The Playlist) that The Suicide Squad took shape because Warner Bros.’ offer to join the studio was as open-ended as possible.

Part of Gunn’s deal to direct Guardians Vol. 3 was that he would be able to finish production on Warner Bros.’ The Suicide Squad” first, which comes out on August 6, 2021 in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

Critics who have already screened the film are in agreement, this film is 97% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes! Here’s what they are saying:

Travis Hopson from Punch Drunk Critics claims, “(Suicide Squad) is not only everything the studio could’ve hoped for it’s exactly what fans expect from the popular favorite. From the eclectic soundtrack to the over-the-top violence and jet-black humor, this is a movie only Gunn could deliver and it’s easily the best of the DCEU.”

Alonso Duralde from TheWrap declares, “The Suicide Squad is by no means perfect, but like the “Deadpool” movies, it’s a showcase for what can happen when a superhero movie is allowed to be sprightly, self-aware, and sardonic while also indulging in hard-R violence, gore, and language. Gunn’ latest creation is not without moments that drag, but when it pops, it pops brilliantly.”

Matt Singer from ScreenCrush affirms, “Here is the edgy, sardonic adventure filled with witty characters and eclectic needle drops that the first Squad was supposed to be. It is directed with style and verve by James Gunn, who previously made the irreverent Guardians of the Galaxy films that surely inspired those funky Suicide Squad trailers in the first place.”

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Perri Nemiroff from Perri Nemiroff (YouTube) also agrees, “One of the franchise’s biggest, bloodiest and most bizarre movies yet – and also one of its best.”

Owen Gleiberman of Variety reports, “The Suicide Squad gets it right, 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).”

Jenna Anderson from proclaims, “There are so many things about The Suicide Squad that are revolutionary, from the extraordinary ensemble cast to the compelling and downright absurd story. But the most surreal element of the film might be the way it showcases the endless potential of the DC universe, with a feeling of wonder that those who have spent hours thumbing through back issues at their local comic shop will probably recognize. The Suicide Squad not only raises the bar for just how much a superhero movie can accomplish in one sitting, but it proves that the weird and oft-forgotten comic characters are superstars deserving of your attention. I have never seen a superhero movie with such a refined sense of identity and such a love for the source material — and if I never see one like it again, I’ll only be a little disappointed.”

Brian Truitt from USA Today touts, “The body count is high and chaos reigns in Gunn’s absurdly delightful and indubitably not-for-kids, which embraces a superhero vibe (even chock-full of morally questionable rogues hoping the government doesn’t blow their heads off) and adds elements of workplace comedy, gritty war movie, dysfunctional family drama and kaiju disaster flick.”

David Ehrlich from indieWire attests, “A lot of superhero movies like to masquerade as “cold war thrillers” or “war epics” or whatever because their directors are rightfully embarrassed by the narrowness of contemporary studio filmmaking, and while Gunn would rather gasp for air within the suffocating confines of that system than fight to dismantle it from the outside, The Suicide Squad is the rare blockbuster of its kind that actually feels like the “men on a mission” classics that studio executives used to greenlight before spandex cut off all the blood-flow to their brains.”

Jake Coyle from the Associated Press professes, “Within The Suicide Squad is not only a negotiation with American power, and its depiction in comic-book movies, but a heartfelt if extreme gallery of damaged souls. It’s a kind of genuinely tender freak show. The upside of selecting DC characters from the Z-list is that Gunn has free reign in molding and shaping them as he likes. And, as in Guardians, his heroes all derive their strange powers from emotional trauma. They are outcasts, weirdos, laughing stocks and whatever you call Nanaue. That makes The Suicide Squad — as ridiculous as it is to say about a movie that renders a bloody rampage with gushes of animated daisies and birdies — kind of beautiful. Plus, the shark in jammies is funny.”

Kirsten Acuna from Insider says, “The Suicide Squad is relentlessly unapologetic, wacky and weird, violent and bloody, and darkly humorous. It also has so much heart that you may find yourself fighting back tears by its end. Not only is TSS the strangest comic-book movie you’ll ever watch, it’s also one of the smartest — you just may not grasp that until a second viewing.

The Suicide Squad stars Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi, Alice Braga, Pete Davidson, David Dastmalchian, Michael Rooker, Daniela Melchior, Juan Diego Botto, Joaquin Cosio, Steve Agee, Storm Reid, Nathan Fillion, Mayling Ng, Flula Borg, Sean Gunn, Jennifer Holland, and Tinash Kajese; with Sylvester Stallone and Viola Davis and is written and directed by James Gunn. See it in theaters or on HBO Max on August 6, 2021.