The first trailer for The Suicide Squad the sort-of sequel, mostly reboot of Suicide Squad, is here in all its red-band glory to try this whole villain team-up thing all over again. Some of the characters featured in David Ayer’s dismal movie are back, such as Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, but the new movie features a huge lineup of characters including Pete Davidson as Blackguard, Nathan Fillion as T.DK., Peter Capaldi as Thinker, and Sean Gunn as Weasel (a human-sized weasel). I am positive most of these people are going to die in the first fifteen minutes, as the trailer shows Rick Flag, leader of the team, walking out with two different versions of the squad, but either way this is a fun collection of B-C-and D-list DC characters to play with.
The trailer includes voiceover from Amanda Waller reiterating the rules of the squad which is what gives The Suicide Squad its reboot feel, but aside from re-covering the bases, The Suicide Squad feels completely different in tone from the first movie. Warner Brothers wanted a Guardians of the Galaxy knock-off all along, and it feels like that is what they’ve gotten here, only with an R-rated upgrade for language and violence. This feels more accurate to what a big-screen Suicide Squad should have been anyway. This was never a project for the grimdark side of superheroes, it should be violent and weird and a little goofy, which is certainly what is going on in this trailer. Also, tagging the trailer “From the horribly beautiful mind of James Gunn” feels like a direct reference to the controversy that resulted in his being available to make this movie, which is level of perversity I always appreciate out of a marketing department.
As for the trailer itself, I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it, either. I definitely like the tone better than the first film, and as always, Robbie as Harley Quinn is a major highlight. I also appreciate that Gunn realized that Joel Kinnaman is best used not as a mopey dope but as a beleaguered leader, put upon by his terrible team. I’m curious about Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2, but I am curiously unmoved by Idris Elba as Bloodsport. There are just so many characters, besides a couple key hits on flashier bits like King Shark—voiced by Sylvester Stallone—it’s hard for any one particular person to pop. Mostly we’re just seeing the sheer number of famous people stuffed into this movie, though I do expect King Shark to be an instant fan favorite (the version on the animated Harley Quinn is SPECTACULAR, and that show in general is the dopest thing DC is doing right now). And then there is the big question of what Taika Waititi, whose role is still under wraps, is doing in this movie. He is not voicing King Shark or Starro the Conqueror, the giant starfish kaiju, so what is he up to?
One major character featured in the trailer is John Cena’s Peacemaker, who is getting his own spin-off on HBO Max. I watch him in this trailer and, I don’t know, I don’t love it. Again, maybe it will play differently in the full movie, but there are like two seconds of David Dastmalchian in this trailer and I already love everything he is doing as Polka-Dot Man. Granted, I love David Dastmalchian and think everything is automatically 15% better when he’s around, but I have enjoyed Cena in other things, such as Blockers, and I’m not rooting against the guy. I just watch this trailer and think, Him? Really? He’s the one getting a spin-off? Okay, I guess. There are so many people in The Suicide Squad I suspect we’ll all end up with different faves. I also suspect no trailer will ever really do this movie justice, and by the time we see it, it will be not quite what we’ve been sold in the trailers. Not in a bad way, I just think they’re cutting around potential spoilers which is why this trailer seems kind of disjointed and uneven. For now, I will settle for Margot Robbie coming back as Harley Quinn, and DC finally going full-weird with its bizarro rogue’s gallery. Did you SEE King Shark pull that guy apart?