Which Suicide Squad Movie Is Better?

How does James Gunn's new take stack up against the 2016 version?

Suicide Squad
Warner Bros.

With James Gunn's much-anticipated The Suicide Squad now hitting cinemas around the globe, it's inevitable that critics and fans alike are going to be comparing it to David Ayer's highly divisive 2016 iteration.

It's no secret that Gunn's film has received decidedly stronger reviews than Ayer's, though in complete fairness to Ayer, his film was chopped up by Warner Bros. during post-production.

But beyond the simplicity of an aggregated critical consensus, how do the two films hold up when comparing every single aspect of their filmmaking?

It's time to examine the 2016 and 2021 movies with a fine tooth comb and break down their individual strengths and weaknesses, before determining which film succeeds in which area - and an overall winner, of course.

It surely won't surprise many to see which movie comes out on top overall - and in most areas, to be honest - but James Gunn's movie doesn't win by a triumphant landslide in every category, and it's worth noting that Ayer's film isn't without its underappreciated merits.

From writing to direction, acting, music, and general audience appeal, this is how both Suicide Squad movies stack up against one another...

11. Direction

Suicide Squad
Warner Bros.

The 2016 Suicide Squad was directed by the talented David Ayer (End of Watch, Fury), whose experience working with ensemble casts made him seem like a snug fit for the material on paper.

But with Warner Bros. ultimately taking the edit away from Ayer and transforming the film into something he didn't authorise, it's tough to even really consider it a full-hearted Ayer-directed work. For his part, Ayer maintains that his own cut of Suicide Squad would've been very different.

On the other hand, James Gunn seemingly had total freedom to deliver his intended vision. In addition to this, he's a superb actors' director, which is demonstrated in spades throughout the film, alongside his knack for delivering imaginative, visually enticing action sequences.

Winner: Ayer got a raw deal here, but there's no way the winner isn't 2021's The Suicide Squad.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.