Step aside, 2016’s Suicide Squad – it’s 2021, and James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is on the way (note that definite article), presenting a brand new take on DC’s villains-forced-to-do-good gang, packed with new characters, and bearing a tone that could only come from the guy who gave us Guardians Of The Galaxy and Slither. The first trailer forThe Suicide Squad is packed with gorgeous imagery, gruesome gross-out moments, foul-mouthed dialogue, Michael Rooker in a flowy blonde wig, and smooth tunes – and it looks like a downright blast.
Not sure what you’ve just seen? Allow Empire to take you through the trailer blow-by-blow, chomp-by-chomp, introducing the new members of the Squad as they embark on a mad new mission.
It all kicks off with an action sequence – the Squad (somewhat) assembled already on a bashed-up bus, Idris Elba’s Bloodsport trading insults with John Cena’s Peacemaker, and the gang clearly under the instructions once again of Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller. Their first mission? To break Harley Quinn out of… well, some kind of fortress where she’s being held.
Free as a bird (of prey)
…except, she’s already made it out on her own while the gang are trying to reach her. She’s touched by the gesture though: “You were gonna save me?” she asks. Robbie really is a delight in this role, isn’t she? “Well, I can go back inside and you can still do it!” she offers. Not that Harley appears to be holding some kind of large ornate spear – our guess is it may be one of the javelins wielded by Flula Borg’s appropriately-named Squad member Javelin? Either way, pity anyone coming up against the pointy end.
This is a James Gunn movie, so cue the soulful soundtrack – once again pilfered from the ‘70s. This time it’s the strains of Steely Dan’s ‘Dirty Work’ – an apt phrase to describe the sort of violent black-ops shenanigans the Suicide Squad gets roped into. Even if there’s no Awesome Mix for this one, the soundtrack here could still end up being an awesome mix.
The Squad’s basically all-new here, so we get plenty of introductory shots of our incoming characters – locked up and wearing fetching orange prison jumpsuits. There’s Michael Rooker’s Savant chucking a ball around a courtyard, Pete Davidson’s Blackguard with rubbish stuck to his fetching orange Crocs, and Sean Gunn’s Weasel, er, licking a window. [As per last time], the squad members are incentivised with 10 years off their sentences – but also have explosives implanted in their necks to stop them going off-piste. “So this is the famous Suicide Squad,” asks x – cue theories as to whether this takes place in the same timeline as David Ayer’s film, since the Squad seems to be a known entity.
Facts are facts: look over his filmography and James Gunn’s mind does seem to be ‘horribly beautiful’ (perhaps more just ‘horrible’ when it comes to the Scooby Doo movies). But that particularly Gunn-ian combination of sweetness and gonzo gun-ho-ness seems to be in full effect this time, especially in hard-R territory – and ‘from the horribly beautiful mind of James Gunn’ is one hell of a sell.
Speaking of sweetness and nastiness, here’s our introduction to the adorable King Shark – who promptly eats a man head-first. Given his size, he surely needs a pretty hefty intake of food right? Since we soon see that King Shark is amused by his own digits (“Hand!” he says, cheerily), he seems to be an endearing combination of dopey dude and savage sea-beast. Most notably, while the internet has been fired up with rumours that King Shark will be voiced by Taika Waititi (the character was performance-captured on set by Steve Agee), those clearly aren't Waititi’s distinctive Kiwi tones. No, instead this is – of course – the one and only Sylvester Stallone! If that isn't a glorious piece of casting, we don't know what is.
Deploy the F-bomb
The Guardians Of The Galaxy movies we’re always going to be PG-13, but here Gunn is really unleashed with a no-holds-barred R – and Idris Elba’s part here seems to be gloriously foul-mouthed. In an awkward team briefing, Bloodsport finds himself surrounded by weirdos (David Dastmalchian’s Polka Dot Man, King Shark) with a death wish. “Oh for fuck’s sake,” he groans. After The Suicide Squad, we might all be able to forgive Elba post-Cats.
More weirdos! Here’s Peter Capaldi with a head like a lightbulb studded with electrodes. It seems his character, Thinker, has inside info for the Squad’s mission – which comes with its own pressure courtesy of the rogues gallery: “We fail the mission, you die.” Noted. Bonus points for Harley channelling all of our pandemic vibes with her own threat: “If you cough without covering your mouth…”
More evidence that this Squad really is a bunch of a-holes – a verbal slinging match between Bloodsport and Peacemaker. “I’m deciding that you should eat a big bag of dicks,” barks Bloodsport. Cut Peacemaker defiantly stating that he would eat an entire beach of dicks with no problem whatsoever. We wonder if Christopher Nolan ever thought, way back when he was executive producing Man Of Steel, that the DCEU would eventually bring us a film with dialogue about eating a bag of dicks. Maybe he did, and the whole thing has been a Temporal Pincer Movement to get us to this moment. Either way, we’re happy.
Well, King Shark has clearly worked out what he’s doing with those hands – he’s just torn a guy cleanly in two with them. We say cleanly. What we mean is bloodily and goo-ily. Yuck.
There are some nice little action shots in here – Harley and her fellow Squad members jumping through a building that’s falling apart around them, and their helicopter crashing as they make it to a beach on their mission. If it’s clear there will be massive setpieces here though, they’re not the focus of the trailer – which is more preoccupied with introducing us to the oddball members of the Squad and Gunn’s vision for the gang this time around.
We smell a rat
Here’s another squad member – Daniela Melchior’s Ratcatcher 2 (no word yet on what happened to her predecessor). She’s not in the trailer much, but this is a killer line that teases much of what to expect fromher: when Bloodsport promises her that he’ll get her out alive on the mission, she flips it back around on him: “I’m going to get you out of here.”
Honestly, who could have said that they saw this coming? The exact nature of the Squad’s latest mission is completely under wraps in the trailer – we don’t know who they’re against, where they are, or why. What we do know now, though, is that they’ll face up against a “freaking kaiju” – but not Godzilla, nor Ghidora, nor any of Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim beasties. Nope, this one is massive colourful… starfish. Which might not sound terrifying, but if you were about to get squished under one of its stubby little feed, you’d probably still be screaming.
A shower of angels
And we close out with a little extra blast of Harley Quinn, who delights in a downpouring of rain. “It’s like angels are splooging all over us!” she exclaims. Oh, Harley.
Angels, giant mutant starfish, murderous shark-people, beaches full of dicks, and a sweet, sweet 1970s soundtrack – this looks like a James Gunn movie alright.