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Will James Gunn save 'The Suicide Squad'?

Let’s hope I don’t want to walk out of the cinema this time around. Luckily, the new ‘The Suicide Squad’ (2021) has an incredible director on their side and a brand new slate… almost. New slate or not I will still be comparing this movie to the previous 2016 version, in my eyes they are making this movie to reinvent the franchise and almost redeem themselves and I truly hope they do. The Suicide Squad has been a group of super-villains in the DC universe since 1959, brought together by Amanda Waller. The squads primary purpose is to execute black-ops missions in exchange for a shorter sentence or time with their family, for example. Essentially their name reflects that each mission they accept is potentially their last.

I have always been a fan of the squad as I adore Harley Quinn’s character, luckily for me she is one of the few characters who have transitioned in the 2021 remake, along with Amanda Waller, Captain Boomerang and Rick Flag. Margot Robbie’s performance, although it has been slightly saturated with her ‘Birds Of Prey’ spin-off in 2020, is by far the stand out performance of the original movie. Her performance helped me forgive and forget the infamous portrayal of the Joker by Jared Leto, which I refuse to talk about in great detail because it is utterly laughable. Essentially in this blog post I am going to address some of my issues with the 2016 movie and discuss whether I think James Gunn can save the franchise. Does The Suicide Squad have the potential to be the next Avengers or Guardian’s of the Galaxy?

Firstly, I thought I’d start with the false advertisement of the Joker. In 2016, Jared Leto’s Joker was plastered all over the posters, promotions and the trailer, only to be included in the film a total of ten minutes. I think the absence of his character would have been forgivable if the interprtitiaion was sensational but it really wasn’t, plus the Joker has never been written into the Suicide Squad or Task Force X comics so why should he be a member now? Oh, to sell tickets and they did sell tickets but instead of the glowing reviews they anticipated they got shocking feedback. In a nut shell, the 2021 adaptation has made it very clear Jared Leto’s Joker, is nowhere to be seen and that makes me very happy. With the release of Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker (2019), there is no necessity for a new adaption because Phoenix was transcendent, I hope to never see Jared Leto’s Joker again in the DC Universe and I’m pleased they are taking a step in the right direction with Gunn’s movie.

Secondly, was The Enchantress a good choice for the central villain? In my opinion, she was not, The Enchantress was originally written into Task Force X in the comics and temporarily becomes villainous, similar to the narrative of the 2016 Suicide Squad, my problem is not with the accuracy of her narrative or involvement with the squad, I simply do not understand why she was chosen to be the main focus of the movies development. The Enchantress has only had a handful of comics from her first appearance in 1966 to her last in 1987, which to me speaks volumes, she is not an incredibly popular or likeable character… plus she ends up being in a relationship with Killer Croc in the comics and I wanted to see that happen so bad, it didn’t. To conclude, I was pleased to see, what looked like, some female empowerment back in 2016 but that’s all. Although the villain for Gunn’s movie is unannounced, The Justice Leagues villain Starro the Conqueror is currently in speculation… although Starro has appeared in an abundance of comics from 1960, television shows, both live action and animation and video games, the question still stands. Can this character be believable or realistic on screen? For some reason, this choice of villain appears to be taking a similar route to the 2016 movie. A villain with unstoppable powers whilst being extremely unlikable. I am not a fan of this villain choice but something that could redeem the character for me is if Starro’s ‘spores’ (smaller duplications of itself which attaches to the human face) are reminiscent of the facehuggers from Alien (1979), now that would be cool! But could it save the movie? Probably not…

I could continue discussing the 2016 Suicide Squad but I want to round this post up with my true feelings towards James Gunn and his 2021 movie. I trust Gunn to execute a successful superhero movie, as he has done with the Guardian’s of the Galaxy. If this movie is anything like those movies, we’ve got a winner. I hope the movie keeps elements of humour and slapstick but with Gunn I have no doubt the movie will be written with plenty of jokes and physical comedy. Lastly, I want this movie to reflect the Suicide Squad for the real villains they are. I want the characters to be represented as criminals, I felt the last movie sugar coated each character a little and made us forget who they are. I hope James Gunn marries dark subject matter with light comedy and I think he can and will do that. Ultimately, this is DCs last chance to make up for the horrendous 2016 movie, I am still a fan of the suicide squad and I think it is about time DC bring us an incredible franchise that could expand and bring their reputation out of the gutter. This movie is highly anticipated by a lot of hard core fans, myself included, I hope they FINALLY bring us the suicide squad we deserved back in 2016.

Also, one last thing, they seem to have brought Harley Quinn back to her original red and black colours and original jump suit style costume, which makes me very happy.

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Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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