Breaking Down The Suicide Squad's Madcap, Bloody Trailer

The Suicide Squad meeting a new friend.
Gif: Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. has just given the world a new, extended look at James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Who possibly could have guessed that a movie with a cast that large would have a beefy trailer in need of some breaking down?

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Just based on The Suicide Squad’s use of Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work” in the new trailer, you can immediately get the very specific James Gunn sort of energy Warner Bros. is betting can get everyone hyped up to see Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn reunite with Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller and Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flagg in a what definitely feels like a reboot masquerading as a “non-sequel.”

It’s in the finer details, though, that you can see how Gunn plans to mash these characters up with a slew of new faces for a deadly mission that’s going to leave more than a few of them deceased when things are through. While we knew that The Suicide Squad was set to bring a number of classic DC villains to the big screen in new incarnations, what’s interesting to see in the trailer’s early shots is how this team’s dynamic seems to be far more collaborative than in David Ayer’s film.


The Squad gearing up to go get Harley.
Gif: Warner Bros.

After Harley somehow gets sidetracked in a way that might compromise their mission, Peacemaker (John Cena), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), Thinker (Peter Capaldi), King Shark (Steve Agee and Sylvester Stallone), and Bloodsport (Idris Elba) switch up their plans a bit to retrieve their colleague. What’s worth noting here is that it’s established that Bloodsport’s meant to take point on one of the teams being overseen by Waller, while another consisting of Javelin (Flula Borg), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) Blackguard (Pete Davidson), Monga (Mayling Ng), Weasel (Sean Gunn), T.D.K. (Nathan Fillion), and Savant (Michael Rooker) are working on something else.

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Harley lamenting that everyone showed up too late to save her after she took matters into her own hands.
Screenshot: Warner Bros.
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It’s no surprise that Harley shows up early given how important the character is within Warner Bros. and DC’s larger portfolio, and the fact that Robbie’s consistently been one of the brighter lights in what we may or may no longer be referred to as the “DCEU.” Where the first Suicide Squad film ended up being about the team rescuing Amanda Waller, here the mission they’re presented with sends them to Corto Maltese where, apparently, Harley comes close to being left behind, but only just, because she’s Harley goddamned Quinn. She’s back in her classic black and red motif and will at some point sport both a gown and a more battle-ready costume reminiscent of her appearances in the Injustice games.

Savant, Blackguard, and Weasel in prison.
Gif: Warner Bros.
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While the trailer doesn’t go into detail about why Waller’s running multiple teams at once or whether The Suicide Squad will simply see one of the team’s fall before the other comes into the picture, it does take a moment to remind you what this whole endeavor’s about. Waller explains that hould any one of the criminals she taps to become part of her task force disobey her orders, she’ll kill them on the spot. Dangerous as people like Savant, Blackguard, and Weasel are, Waller’s offer (presumably for time off their sentences) obviously has some value to it.

Captain Boomerang, T.D.K., and Blackguard getting ready to go somewhere.
Gif: Warner Bros.
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Also important to bear in mind is that Warner Bros. gave James Gunn more or less free reign to kill off characters at his discretion. Cheesy sequences like this make it seem as if Captain Boomerang, T.D.K., and Blackguard may be on the chopping block. Boomerangs can be handy, though, particularly for characters who could end up having a future in Warner Bros.’ upcoming Flash film depending on which direction the studio decides to go in.

Harley launching a missile and King Shark having a snack.
Gif: Warner Bros.
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Delightful as it is to see Harley having fun while being different sorts of fashionable (and practical), fans are likely to be most excited to see The Suicide Squad’s take on DC Comics King Shark (who previously appeared on the CW’s The Flash), a massive though dimwitted brute who likes to eat people and ask simple questions.

The Squad getting a briefing from Waller.
Gif: Warner Bros.
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Much as King Shark might be played for laughs, the trailer also establishes that some of the movie’s levity will come from the team’s gallows humor that comes to bond at least some of them as they carry out Waller’s orders. Dangerous as the talking man-shark is, neither Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) nor Polka-Dot Man seem especially concerned about being in his presence because the real threat at hand is what they’ve been brought together to face.

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The Thinker being interrogated.
Screenshot: Warner Bros.
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How the Thinker (Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi)—also another DC character who appeared on The Flash TV series—fits into this story is one of the more interesting questions raised by the trailer. He appears to cross paths with Harley and co. while they’re already in the midst of a mission he wasn’t meant to be a part of. Their interrogation of him’s likely all for show, as the Squad’s sorely outnumbered by the newly-installed Corto Maltese government that shoots on sight when they realize foreigners have invaded their country.

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Peacemaker musing about his willingness to eat dicks for liberty.
Screenshot: Warner Bros.
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Jokes about eating dicks are back, apparently. This allegedly bonds some people together while they’re trekking through lush, tropical jungles in countries in the midst of political upheaval.

King Shark tearing into a goon.
Gif: Warner Bros.
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Despite all the chaos in their lives, most everyone on the Squad’s still going to manage to find time to party and get just enough of a good time in to balance out the movie’s gore and death. Some of that will be delivered by characters like Harley—spotlighted in some impressive action sequences—some by King Shark. Ok, maybe a lot from King Shark. The rain’s a nice touch as he tears apart a poor commando.

But surprisingly enough, the fish-human hybrid isn’t really the highlight of the trailer.

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Starro saying hello to the world as Belle Reve’s warden looks on.
Screenshot: Warner Bros.

There’s always a reason Amanda Waller rounds up criminals to do her dirty work for her, and from the looks on everyone’s faces, she failed to mention that they might encounter a massive alien starfish while on their journey.

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It’s always been a little iffy just how connected Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad films are to the rest of its live-action DC projects, but it’s unlikely that the wildness of The Suicide Squad’s going to have any substantial impact on the studio’s other features where these characters might show up, and honestly, that’s likely for the best. Judging by what the studio dropped today, it wants The Suicide Squad to be a ridiculous, fun, romp of a self-contained film meant to make you forget about what came before it in hopes of a brighter cinematic future.

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The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max on August 6.

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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

DISCUSSION

Rainbucket
Rainbucket

Any guesses what these are behind King Shark in his poster?