Written and directed by “Guardians of the Galaxy” alumnus James Gunn, “The Suicide Squad” is one of the best movies out this year. The film not only had a great director, but also a great cast with the likes of Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, John Cena and Viola Davis. 

I watched the movie as soon as it came out on HBO Max on Aug. 5. Unlike many DC Comics fans, I enjoyed the first “Suicide Squad” movie and figured this one would be just as good, if not better. 

It proved to be better. One of the pluses of this movie is that with an almost entirely new team, it could stand alone on its own rather than be seen as a typical sequel. It was also nice to see the movie mainly focus on the actual suicide squad instead of outside characters like the Joker and Batman. 

The film also seemed to have two villains much like the first film. From reading a few Justice League comics back in the day, I was familiar with the villain Starro; a giant alien starfish that could mind control its hosts was a big upgrade from the previous film’s main villain. Then of course there was Amanda Waller. 

If you thought Amanda Waller couldn’t get any sicker, think again. In this movie, she threatened to send Bloodsport’s daughter to jail if he didn’t cooperate and join Task Force X. She also created two separate teams in this movie, one of which taking on the sole purpose of dying and creating a diversion for the other. Thankfully, her own team recognized her craziness and knocked her out before she could do any more damage.  

In addition to the action of battling such villains, there was of course the comic relief. My one grievance was that there is not enough Harley Quinn, but I guess it’s alright after getting so much of her in “Birds of Prey.” Some people don’t like Robbie’s portrayal at all, but that will never be me as she has been my favorite character since the first movie. I think she just gets better and better in each film. From proving to be an independent woman who doesn’t need help to just being crazy funny, Harley is an icon.

There are also heartfelt moments in the movie. The character King Shark just wanted to have friends and by the end of the film, he finds one in the likes of Ratcatcher 2, who is another character that melted my heart. Ratcatcher 2 explains her back story in the film and the loss of her father that led to her attachment to rats. 

Polka-Dot Man also tells his backstory, which is similarly just as sad. He is one of the remaining squad members toward the end of the film but is ultimately killed by Starro. 

Then of course there was Peacemaker. I love John Cena, but the character he played in this film was an absolute jerk. I mean anyone who says, “I cherish peace with all my heart. I don’t care how many men, women and children I need to kill to get it,” has major issues. He betrayed the team to protect government secrets and killed Rick Flag, yet he’s getting a whole HBO Max TV series next year. 

Aside from my disdain for a few characters, this film had all the right elements to make it a hit. If it weren’t for the pandemic, I could see it making a big splash at the box office. I would give it an overall 8.5/10 and even if you’re not a fan of superhero movies, I highly recommend checking this one out.