What’s it about? A key cog in DC Comics’ shared cinematic universe ambitions (which began with Man of Steel), Suicide Squad will directly follow Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice next year. For the uninitiated, the Suicide Squad are a ragtag team of anti-heroes blackmailed into doing black ops missions for the U.S government, in exchange for reduced prison sentences. They first appeared in comic-book form back in 1959, but were more popularly reimagined in 1987.
Who’s directing? That would be David Ayer, writer of Training Day, who went on to direct Harsh Times, Street Kings, End of Watch, Sabotage (one of the worst movies of 2014) and Fury (one of the nicest surprises of 2014).
Who’s in it? A lot of famous faces and rising stars. Men in Black’s Will Smith is playing marksman Deadshot, Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street) is crazy Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys) is Aussie assassin Boomerang, model Cara Delevingne is the magical Enchantress, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost) is the disfigured ‘Killer Croc’, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop) is military officer Rick Flag, Jay Hernandez (Hostel: Part II) as El Diablo, Adam Beach (Flags of Our Fathers) as Slipknot, Oscar-nominee Viola Davis (The Help) as the Suicide Squad’s controller Amanda Waller, and most excitingly of all: Jared Leto will play the Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker.
I want to assemble a task force of the most dangerous people on the planet, who I think can do some good.
–Sounds like a foolproof plan, Amanda Waller.
Best moment? I liked Harley Quinn literally hanging around in a giant Hannibal Lecter-style cage, licking the bars, or pretending to reload a baseball bat like a shotgun…
… but it has to be The Joker’s climactic entrance, doesn’t it? There’s just no escaping the fact everyone’s going to be watching Suicide Squad primarily to see what Leto brings to the table as the comic-book world’s greatest villain, following in the iconic Oscar-winning footsteps of Heath Ledger.
Worst-case scenario? The Suicide Squad may be familiar to comic-book readers and folk who watch The CW’s Arrow, but they’ve never been household names. A supervillain team is a great idea (sort of like an anti-Avengers), but most people will struggle to recognise any of these characters beyond The Joker. Does it really matter? Maybe not, because the presence of Will Smith and the film’s association to the DC universe should be enough to turn a profit at the box-office… but it still seems possible the masses just won’t care about a psycho gang they largely have no prior knowledge of. Getting people into the multiplexes will be half the battle.
Best-case scenario? While it’s true that Marvel are the unrivalled experts when it comes to building and evolving a shared cinematic universe, I have to admit that DC Comics’ darker vision is a clever choice to help differentiate it. (It’s just a shame that vision doesn’t suit Superman terribly well.) Suicide Squad sounds like a very bleak movie, and this trailer suggests something far more psychologically complex than anything Marvel would consider making. Will that equate to a box-office boon? Who knows, but if Batman v Superman joins the ‘1 Billion Dollar Club’ I think people will certainly be interested in seeing this new Marilyn Manson-esque Joker, and the Batman cameo this trailer confirms.
When does it premiere? 5 August 2016, five months after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. A summer movie, but perhaps wisely placed at the tail-end of the holidays, with minimal competition. Unless the Pete’s Dragon remake is being overlooked at DC’s peril.