What’s better than one film about the Suicide Squad? Two films about the Suicide Squad, of course! DC’s Suicide Squad is a group of supervillains forced to carry out top-secret and life-threatening missions for the American government in exchange for reduced sentences. In the comic books, the modern version of the team has existed since 1987 and has since become a recurring element in the DC universe.
Two films have been made based on the team: “Suicide Squad” from 2016 and “The Suicide Squad” from 2021. Tonight, both are being shown on TV.
“Suicide Squad” from 2016 was directed by David Ayer and was made during a time when superhero films were becoming increasingly grand. Zack Snyder’s “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” and Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” are two other superhero films that came out in 2016.
“Suicide Squad” was highly anticipated by many, based on entertaining trailers that promised a darker tone than Marvel’s films mixed with general madness. Additionally, Jared Leto, known for his general madness, would play the role of the Joker.
However, when the film was released, it was criticized by many critics for everything from the story to the visual style. The action scenes were considered dull, the characters flat, and the villain uninteresting. Leto’s performance as the Joker divided opinions, and many did not really like it.
The standout for many seemed to be Margot Robbie in the role of Harley Quinn, a character she reprised in both “Birds of Prey” and “The Suicide Squad.” Even she did not escape criticism, as many felt the character was too sexualized, something director David Ayer later apologized for.
Despite the criticism, “Suicide Squad” performed well at the box office and became the tenth highest-grossing film of 2016. This did not console David Ayer, who felt that his vision for the film did not come to fruition due to Warner Bros. executives’ interference and tampering with the film.
Just like with “Justice League” and “the Snyder Cut,” there is a vocal group of fans on the internet demanding to see “the Ayer Cut,” Ayer’s version of the film. The director has been open to the idea, and the new DC boss James Gunn has also seemed positive but indicated that it is not a priority at the moment.
Speaking of James Gunn, he directed “The Suicide Squad” in 2021 after being fired from Marvel. It was a film with reversed problems. Gunn got to run his race unhindered, not a single studio executive stood in his way, and the blood-soaked, profanity-filled, and very James Gunn-esque “The Suicide Squad” was praised by critics but didn’t attract many to theaters.
In defense of the film, it was released during the COVID-19 pandemic and was available on HBO Max in the USA from day one, which likely affected the number of theatergoers.
Common to both films are a few actors and characters. The aforementioned Margot Robbie as the Joker’s crazy ex-girlfriend Harley Quinn has a significant role in both films. Viola Davis also appears in both films as Amanda Waller, the ruthless American government official in charge of the Suicide Squad. Jai Courtney, who before Suicide Squad was known for being handsome and dull in films like “Terminator Genisys,” is in both films grungy and entertaining as the alcoholic boomerang-thrower Captain Boomerang.
And then we have our own Joel Kinnaman in a major role in both films as Rick Flag, the military captain tasked with controlling the villainous gang and getting them to shoot in the right direction and blow up the right thing.
Both films are available to watch on HBO Max.
Which “Suicide Squad” film is your favorite?