Before we even talk about what a Suicide Squad is and why there is a movie about them, let’s talk about Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man… hell, even Iron Man seemed like it could flop before the movie actually came out. Sometimes, it’s better to have characters who we don’t have any expectations for.
The Suicide Squad is a bunch of captured DC villains sent on Mission Impossible-style assignments by the government. They are implanted with brain bombs, so that if they go off-mission, they are simply killed. However, they do go by choice, with the understanding that their cooperation buys them privileges, or advances their chances of getting out of jail. Traditionally, they are led by the by-the-book toughie Amanda Waller. She manipulates them into doing what she needs them to do, which isn’t necessarily good things, but rather things that need done.
The thing that made the Suicide Squad comics unusual is that characters died. And they were minor characters. So sometimes they even stayed dead for a while, which is unusual in comics. And this was one of the first times in DC comics where the villains started to have motivations and shades of gray, including moments of bravery. Readers were shocked to find some depth to characters like, say, Killer Croc, who usually just beat people up.
Oddly, this isn’t the first time the Suicide Squad has been brought to live action in the last few years. They were on a couple episodes of Arrow and were actually quite a lot of fun. They even dropped a hint about Harley Quinn, even though they couldn’t use the character.
Suicide Squad Characters
Deadshot: He’s an assassin who is a very good shot and wears these weird wrist guns. Traditionally, he’s quite blue collar and only works for money. Will Smith (Concussion) is playing him, so expect him to be one of the better characters in this movie.
Katana: Hey! She was a good guy when last I read the comics! She’s good with a sword and trained by Batman, so count on her to do well in most situations. She’s not a lot of laughs. (Played by newcomer Karen Fukuhara.)
Killer Croc: Now we’re talking! A fun Batman villain who has been a lot of things over the years, but always a guy with a huge skin problem. Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Lost, Thor: The Dark World) is very strong and not above biting a chunk out of someone in a fight. Killer Croc usually has some kind of code and will get sweet on people. However, an enraged Killer Croc is usually very scary. I love that they seemed to have used make-up rather than CG.
Slipknot: My guess is the only reason that Slipknot (Adam Beach, Big Love) is in this movie is so that someone can die quickly, maybe even have the bomb go off in his head. I believe he’s good with ropes.
Enchantress: Possessed by an ancient entity. I usually don’t like magic characters, because of characters like the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne, Paper Towns). Sometimes she’s extremely formidable, sometimes not, depending on the whim of the writer. (This is also a huge problem with Dr. Strange, so I’ll be interested to see how that goes in that movie.) In magic stories, they always seem like they’re just about to die, then they remember some spell— often one that we’ve never heard of— and pull it out in the end. Bor-ing! Enchantress is the second craziest person on this list, and she brings a nice creepy vibe to Suicide Squad.
Boomerang: It’s almost self-explanatory. Picture a bunch of Australian stereotypes, including skills with a boomerang. Boomerang (Jai Courtney, Eric in Divergent series) can be a lot of fun when he’s well written. He’s the sort of guy who is a formidable opponent for people in the DC Universe, who don’t have any powers.
Diablo: Very similar to Marvel’s Ghost Rider. Diablo (Jay Hernandez, Nashville) is a vengeance guy with fire powers. Extremely minor character, even by this movie’s standards.
Harley Quinn: Ah, sweet Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot). She’s a character, oddly, not created from the comics, but rather from the ‘90s cartoon series, Batman: The Animated Series. The Joker’s girlfriend is her tag line, but she was a psychologist at Arkham Asylum, who the Joker drove crazy and brought into his fold. Harley Quinn is extremely effective at fighting and mayhem and is, if well-written, one of the funnier characters in the DC Universe. She talks like Myrna Loy! After watching the trailers, I’m fully expecting Harley Quinn to be the breakout character in this movie.
Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman, House of Cards): The non-criminal in-the-field commander of the Suicide Squad.
Here’s something that gives me a lot of faith in the movie: Jarod Leto as the Joker. We’ve got an A-list method actor bringing one of the best villains in, not just the DC Universe, but in literature, to the big screen. Leto has been in some bad stuff over the years, but has always brought the goods. And I’d like to think that coming off an Oscar win, there must have been a good script. So just like Ant-Man got Paul Rudd and made the movie awesome, this one has Leto doing the Joker. I’m in.
And hey, Batman (Ben Affleck, Batman v Superman) is in it!
The Suicide Squad— like Ant Man— has been work-shopped in the comics for years to find out what works and what doesn’t. But they’re not a group that we have expectations for. For instance, it really bothered me in Man of Steel when Superman killed Zod because, to me, Superman doesn’t kill anyone. Superman finds a way. But Guardians of the Galaxy? What the hell, let’s find out what happens. So I say, let’s give the Suicide Squad a chance to do what they do best: live or die on their skills.
DC movies are having a huge tone problem with a whole lot of no-fun comic book movies. I’m hoping that this one is finally fun. The word on the street is that the movie takes a little bit to get going, but then delivers the goods. I’m hoping that’s true. Anyway, it’s on my list and I’m hoping to trick my wife, the beautiful Kelly, into going to see it on a date night. Popcorn movie!