When Suicide Squad hit theaters in 2016, it was one of the most highly-anticipated features of the year. Then, it quickly became one of the biggest disappointments of the year.
Luckily for the DCEU, James Gunn came to the rescue five years later with the standalone sequel The Suicide Squad, which, unlike its predecessor, makes for one heck of an awesome movie-watching experience.
Bold And Chaotic
The Suicide Squad (2021), directed and written by James Gunn, is a bold and chaotic addition to the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).
This superhero film took a unique approach to the notorious group of comic book antiheroes from which the film got its name.
Unlike Warner Bros.’s first attempt at a Suicide Squad movie, the second film hit the mark, creating an action-packed, story-focused, hilarity-infused time.
Shifts in directorial leadership marked the journey to bring The Suicide Squad to the big screen. Initially, David Ayer, director of the first film, was set to return for the sequel.
However, by March 2016, Ayer had chosen to explore other projects. Ayer’s exit was probably for the best and it opened the door for various directors to be considered.
The reins were eventually handed to Gavin O’Connor in September 2017, only for him to step down due to creative differences.
James Gunn Takes Over
In October 2018, James Gunn, known for his work on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy series, took the helm. Gunn’s hiring was unconventional, considering Disney and Marvel Studios had briefly fired him in the interim, but it was exactly what The Suicide Squad needed.
Gunn’s vision for The Suicide Squad tossed everything the DCEU had in mind out the window. Rather than direct a sequel to the poorly received Suicide Squad, Gunn pitched a complete relaunch of the franchise.
This time around, at Gunn’s lead, the film drew inspiration from John Ostrander’s 1980s Suicide Squad comics and infused the film with the gritty essence of 1970s war movies.
The Suicide Squad’s Star-Studded Cast
The star-studded ensemble cast added new and returning faces to the Suicide Squad, including Margot Robbie reprising her role as Harley Quinn, Idris Elba as Bloodsport, John Cena as Peacemaker, and Sylvester Stallone lending his voice to King Shark.
The characters were carefully chosen to contribute to the film’s unique genre-inspired dynamics, with each member bringing their own flavor to the chaotic mix.
Just as carefully chosen, were the ones chosen not to return for the sequel, including Will Smith’s Deadshot, Jared Leto’s Joker, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Killer Croc.
The Suicide Squad Premiere
The Suicide Squad premiered in the United Kingdom on July 30, 2021, and was simultaneously released in the United States on August 5 in theaters and on the streaming service HBO Max.
This dual release strategy, adopted by Warner Bros. in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, became a double-edged sword.
While it allowed widespread access, it impacted the film’s box office performance, contributing to its underwhelming $168.7 million global gross against a $185 million budget.
Despite its box office struggles, The Suicide Squad garnered positive reviews from critics, holding a 90 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to its predecessor’s 26 percent rating. It became the most-streamed DCEU film on HBO Max with audiences loving the film’s blend of irreverent humor, unpredictable characters, and Gunn’s distinctive style.
Now, The Suicide Squad, possibly the most kick-ass film to come out of the DCEU, is available to stream on Netflix.