I have to admit that I’m not a comic book aficionado. I have hardly read a comic since I was ten years old, when I used to read the occasional 2000 AD ( Zarjaz says OQ editor!) But here we are in 2016 and I’m very excited by the prospect of seeing Suicide Squad. This excitement is based purely on the impression I got from watching the three trailers for the movie as they’ve been rolled out. My interest in the movie first came about when I saw on-set pictures of Jared Leto playing The Joker with a manic grin and sans eyebrows. After years of people raving about Heath Ledger being the ultimate Joker it was nice to see that somebody else was able to do something new with the character – if albeit still being immediately recognizable as the Joker.
The first of the three trailers dates back to last year’s Comic Con where the world was given a sneak peek at what to expect. From the beginning we’re told that these characters are the worst of the worst and a reference is made at the start of the first trailer to the franchise leading Superman. All three trailers rely heavily on classic rock tunes, the first begins with a cover of the Bee Gees I Started A Joke. As the music plays we are introduced to the main characters via a series of short glimpses accompanied by the text ‘Justice Has A Bad Side’. This is a direct reference to the DC Comics world this is set in: starting with Man of Steel (2013) and followed up by this year’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Zack Snyder, who directed the first two movies is here in an executive producer role. He’s currently hard at work on the follow up to Batman v Superman, Justice League which is due in 2017. So this leads me to suspect that this movie is set post Batman V Superman. The trailer ends with a deranged Joker saying, “Oh I’m not going to kill you, I am just going to hurt you really really bad”. From this first trailer my overall impression is that this could be quite a sinister movie. Personally I’ve enjoyed the darker realm of DC Comics movies over the softer Marvel universe.
The official first trailer – second of the three – aired in early 2016. This time it’s Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody which acts as the soundtrack to proceedings as we are given glimpses of each character in a prison environment. And again we are reminded that these are the ‘worst of the worst’ as Joel Kinnaman playing Rick Flag lists the various super villains special powers. This is followed by a montage of actions scenes interlaced with comic relief and the text “The worst heroes ever”. The trailer emphasises the more fun side of the story and it appears that the film will not be as dark as it seemed in the Comic Con trailer. Then again, this is all about the art of editing and what the makers want the audience to see.
The worst heroes ever
The last of the the three trailers debuted in April 2016 and begins again with another reference to Superman. The first half of the trailer is soundtracked by You Don’t Own Me by Grace, whilst the second half by the blistering Ballroom Blitz from The Sweet. This trailer emphasises the action movie elements of the film with a montage of big set pieces. With Will Smith’s Deadshot character exclaiming “Don’t forget we are the bad guys” followed by even more action. Meanwhile Batman – presumably played Ben Affleck – makes a fleeting appearance. This Caped Crusader reference suggests he may have been the one who incarcerated these characters in the first place. It remains to be seen will Superman or other characters turn up, firmly tying the movie into the current DC Comics movie world. It looks like Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is the queen of the show. It’s already been announced that she will head up her own stand alone Harley Quinn movie.
Don’t forget we are the bad guys
So, what were my final impressions? Well, I think the big sticking point here is that this is the first major comic book movie where the main characters are a group of super villains, making this more akin to something like Marvel’s Deadpool rather than The Avengers (or Justice League itself). David Ayer is on board as director, whose best known for making tough, male themed action movies like Fury (2014), End of Shift (2012) and Street Kings (2008). All in all I’m giving this a 9 out of 10 in respect of advance expectations – not quite up to Star Wars levels of anticipation but not far behind. Let’s hope that this isn’t some horrible let down.
Suicide Squad is in cinemas on Friday, 5th August.