In the past, writer/director James Gunn has expressed doubt in the future of superhero cinema. He’s said that which is vaguely boring and formulaic will permeate the genre. Back in 2014, his solution to that problem was Guardians of the Galaxy and an anthropomorphic tree named Groot. Gunn’s first outing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe retained a certain style he coined making smaller films by scrapping the bottom of Marvel’s barrel, bringing Peter Quill/Star-Lord the notoriety he so desperately craved.
Gunn’s foray into the DC Extended Universe with The Suicide Squad does a similar thing by plunging into the depths of its rogues’ gallery and coming up with a handful of oddball villains. As a standalone follow-up (wrap your mind around that) to David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (2016), the latest iteration of Task Force X sees the Joker’s pasty buffalo joined by an anthropomorphic great white and douchey Captain America. The R-rated film is bloodier and weirder than Guardians, but is it better?
No surprise here: once again, Marvel trumps DC. Both of these follow characters learning to become the best versions of themselves. The Suicide Squad is unrestrained by its R-rating and never boring, which is perhaps an adept reflection of Gunn’s signature style. However, Guardians of the Galaxy feels more genuine as its characters are more well-rounded and accessible. King Shark may be trending but Groot will live forever. Every time he dies a new version will sprout.
Overall Winner: Guardians of the Galaxy
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