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Trailer Reaction: Suicide Squad

After previously being leaked, the San Diego Comic Con first look trailer for DC’s upcoming Suicide Squad has been released online in full HD by Warner Bros. The film will be the third entry in DC’s cinematic universe and star a group of villains serving as mercenaries for a secret government agency’s black ops missions in exchange for clemency. This team includes Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and Slipknot (Adam Beach), who are called together by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). Somewhere in the mix will be an appearance by Batman (Ben Affleck) and The Joker (Jared Leto). The film is set for release on August 5th 2016 and the trailer follows below;


I’ll start with the positives; Viola Davis seems to be an excellent fit for Amanda Waller. While not as physically heavyset as most portrayals of the character in other adaptations, this trailer shows off her ability to command true authority and gravitas that are vital for the character. Plus, her describing the essential point of the Squad shows that she has the conviction to come up with a plan this seemingly crazy, yet sell her reasoning without breaking a sweat. It makes me hopeful that we’ll see more of her in the oncoming DC slate.

… And that’s about all I can think of for positives honestly. The rest of this trailer just seems to confirm many of the worries I had had about the tone of DC’s film slate. Now I’m not as familiar with the Suicide Squad comic series, but when I first heard about the idea, I was intrigued. One could see the concept of a group of villains coming together to earn their freedom while begrudgingly helping the system that imprisoned them as an opportunity for an anti-hero focused supervillain tale we’ve never seen before cinematically. Now, that premise would necessitate a certain amount of darkness, but all of the grit that’s attempting to be displayed here by director David Ayer rings hollow. The cinematography looks like it’s stuck on the X-Pro II Instagram filter, the characters all have the same exact mean mugging glower that comes off as a forced attempt at portraying a sense of badassery and elements like someone dressed as a panda bear or in a Batman mask seem to really clash with the overall tone shown in the trailer. None of this is helped by the music choice of a “haunting” cover The Bee Gees’ ‘I Started A Joke’, which feeds into one of the worst current trends in trailers of having a dower cover of an existing song to give the false impression of this product being a new spin on an old idea, in this case that this isn’t your average superhero movie. And they kind of sell that… in that it looks far worse than your average superhero movie.

It doesn’t help that most of the actors and characters seem lost. Will Smith is less like Deadshot and more like a poor man’s Will Smith who spews one liners that are grating (“We’re some kinda suicide squad” being the worst offender), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc looks like a Goomba from the Super Mario Bros Movie and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang  radiates the same amount of wooden block charisma he usually does, only this time with his natural Australian accent. The worst offender here though is Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley feels completely out of character, ditching the Brooklyn accent and darkly humorous charm for a spacey look and far too much over sexualizing of the character. What worked about Harley Quinn since her initial arrival in Batman: The Animated Series was that she had a playfully psychotic sidekick to The Joker who embraced who she was yet still couldn’t fight the inherent tragedy of her backstory. Yet, based on what we’ve seen here, this Harley seems less like a clever retooling of that character’s core and more of an excuse to ogle at Margot Robbie’s admittedly alluring figure.

As for Jared Leto’s Joker, he seems just as much like a mix between late 90s Marilyn Manson and James Franco from Spring Breakers as he did back when we first got an official look at him several months ago. This is the first official time we’ve heard his voice, though that just feels like a nasally combination of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger’s portrayals of the character than anything really new. Plus, his confrontation with Batman we see glimpses of worries me, mainly due to the rumors that it’ll be a flashback sequence adapted from A Death In The Family, which saw Joker brutally murdering the second Robin Jason Todd. While this is ripe for potential in cinematic form, it seems perplexing to me that they’d have it happen this early, especially when we don’t know anything about this version of Jason Todd. If we don’t know that much about the character, I worry that his torture won’t have nearly as much impact as they’d potentially want.

But that’s just one man’s opinion. How did you all feel about Suicide Squad‘s trailer? Does it look promising or worrying? Post your thoughts below!


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