It’s clear pretty early on in The Suicide Squad that James Gunn’s standalone sequel is not only aiming to fix all the wrongs of David Ayer’s polarizing 2016 original, Suicide Squad (without the “The”), but is successfully doing so. Though Ayer shouldn’t bear all the burden of guilt for his own film’s shortcomings since the studio practically set him up to fail by giving the hard-R director a premise ripe for blood and violence, yet constraining him to a PG-13 rating. The limitations forced the writer-director to focus more on the emotional weight of villainsturned-heroes rather than playing in the sandbox that is “psycho villain protagonists.”
The first Suicide Squad not only played it safe, but did so with unfunny, brooding stagnation, seemingly acquiescent to include any sort of action whatsoever while simultaneously struggling to utilize all five of its caricatured antiheroes. Gunn, on the other hand, not only utilizes all of his characters effortlessly, but takes bold chances in every single scene, constantly challenging our expectations of what a superhero movie can be.