DC’s attempt to create their own exciting ensemble superhero films have resulted in messy projects like Justice League and 2016’s Suicide Squad, the latter of which was partially panned because of Jared Leto’s underwhelming 16-minute performance as the Joker, the dearth of audience familiarity with the individual villains and an overall disconnect with the carousel of characters at the heart of the film. Follow-up films like Birds of Prey effectively offered a villain origin story to Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and ingratiated that character to audiences. Now that DC has shown off the first trailer from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy ringmaster, James Gunn, it appears that The Suicide Squad—which doesn’t REALLY seem to have much to do with the 2016 film—holds some serious promise.
The R-rated The Suicide Squad, which is set for a simultaneous theatrical and digital release (thank you, HBO Max) on August 6, heavily showcases the film’s dynamic ensemble cast. Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney and Joel Kinnaman reprise their roles as Harley Quinn, Amanda Waller, Captain Boomerang and Rick Flagg, respectively, but there are bevy of fresh faces too:
Idris Elba makes his Marvel to DC crossover appearance in The Suicide Squad playing Bloodsport. SNL cast member Pete Davidson is Blackguard and John Cena will play Peacemaker, a role he will also portray in a HBO Max spin-off project helmed by Gunn. Nathan Fillion is also in this? That big shark is voiced by Sylvester Stallone? The Suicide Squad cast includes a great blend of character actors, comedians and everyone in between which, alongside writer/director Gunn, may give DC its first truly successful ensemble film.
The premise for The Suicide Squad matches that of the predecessor: A group of supervillains have been recruited by the government to complete a task. If they comply and cooperate they will be protected, if not they will be killed by the microchips inserted into their bodies. Talk about an allegory for exploitative prison labor, eh?
The Suicide Squad trailer boasts snippets of great banter, quick-witted exchanges between characters which suggest that this film will contain some of the playful character work Marvel fans adore and that 2016’s Suicide Squad seriously lacked…and compensated for with Will Smith’s flat one-liners and an expensive classic rock soundtrack. This trailer’s splicing of gory action sequences, banter and intriguing visuals (you ever see a shark with opposable thumbs?) all set to the fitting sounds of Steely’s Dan’s “Dirty Work” have certainly piqued my interest.
The Suicide Squad may mark a pivotal point in DC’s effort to re-assert themselves to superhero fans during this year’s late summer—and by the looks of the trailer, it just may work.