Australian actor Jai Courtney introduces a new “early access” trailer from Warner Bros. for director James Gunn’s forthcoming The Suicide Squad, in which Courtney reprises his role as Captain Boomerang from 2016’s Suicide Squad. It’s got quite bit of new footage and some small additional details (such as why Idris Elba’s Bloodsport is in prison in the first place). Each of the three trailers released so far has been better than the last, so we have high hopes for this film.
As I’ve written previously, The Suicide Squad is not a direct sequel to the 2016 film; Gunn has said he wanted to take the franchise in a new direction and introduce new characters. He drew inspiration from writer John Ostrander’s original 1980s Suicide Squad comics. (Ostrander has a small role in the final film.) Gunn has described his R-rated film as a superhero version of the classic 1967 film The Dirty Dozen, selecting characters he described as “loser, B-grade supervillains.”
Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis reprise their 2016 roles as Col. Rick Flag and Intelligence Officer Amanda Waller, respectively, with Steve Agee playing John Economos, prison warden and aide to Waller. The squad this time around includes Elba’s Bloodsport, Peacemaker (John Cena), Courtney’s Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), Savant (Michael Rooker), King Shark (voiced by Rooker’s Cliffhanger co-star Sylvester Stallone), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), Javelin (Flula Borg), and everyone’s favorite psycho, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).
Other cast members include Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), whose trademark polka-dotted suit is actually a collection of gadgets; Weasel (Sean Gunn, James’ kid brother), an anthropomorphic weasel; Sol Soria (Alice Braga); TDK (Nathan Fillion); Mongal (Mayling Ng); Flo Crawley (Tinashe Kajese); and Thinker (Peter Capaldi). Storm Reid plays Bloodsport’s daughter Tyla.
Each of the prior trailers (released within a week of each other) had a very distinctive tone—a deliberate choice by Gunn. The first was a red-band trailer (pretty tame as these things go) that played up the humor. It opened with a plan for Flag and his team to rescue Harley Quinn, who thwarted it by rescuing herself. Then there was some standard exposition to set up the basic story: namely, that the Suicide Squad members get the same deal as before: 10 years off their sentence if they successfully complete their mission, with a nanite injection that will explode should they disobey orders in any way.
The second trailer, released on April Fool’s Day, dispensed with the jokey tone and running gags of King Shark’s gruesome eating habits (“num-num”) in favor of a darker, more ominous tenor. We got to see Polka-Dot Man in action, and TDK revealed a surprising ability to separate his arms from his body. Bonus: we got a good look at the writing on the back of Harley Quinn’s jacket: “Live Fast Die Clown.”
This latest trailer falls somewhere between jokey and dark. It focuses more on Bloodsport, opening with him scrubbing floors in prison as Waller tries to recruit him for the squad. Waller uses Bloodsport’s daughter’s upcoming court case as leverage. “I wouldn’t take such extreme measures if this mission weren’t more important that you could possibly imagine,” Waller assures him. We also learn that Bloodsport is in prison because he put Superman in the ICU with the help of a kryptonite bullet, so he’s got legit badass bona fides.
In terms of new footage, we get an inter-squad debate over what kind of dog Weasel might be—TDK guesses Afghan hound, Harley is hoping for werewolf—with Flag assuring them Weasel is harmless. (“I mean, he’s not harmless, he’s killed 27 children, but you know…”) We also learn that our heroes’ mission is to destroy all evidence of the mysterious “Project Starfish,” which probably explains the colorful giant starfish-like kaiju they end up battling.
The Suicide Squad hits theaters and debuts on HBO Max on August 6, 2021. If you’re fully vaccinated, I think this is one to see on the big screen, if you safely can. And expect to see more from this refreshed franchise in the future. HBO Max has already ordered a Peacemaker spinoff straight-to-series, with Cena and Agee reprising their roles.
Listing image by YouTube/Warner Bros.