DC can’t catch a break with their trailers. For the second time, a trailer for an upcoming Warner Bros and DC comics film was leaked, forcing the companies to release the full HD trailer to the public in order to gain some control over the situation. First, the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer leaked and now the Suicide Squad trailer, which was only shown to a closed audience at Comic-Con has been posted to the internet. The next day the trailer was released worldwide.
Some would say that it’s good move by DC and WB to release the trailer for themselves, driving up hits for their own videos. But it doesn’t actually change the content, so whether the trailer is viewed in grainy, bad quality or full, wrinkle magnifying high definition comments and criticisms are going to be the same. What control have they actually gained? The companies have only succeeded in being forced to do something which they did not originally intend to do. They wanted to do something cool for the Comic-Con crowd but there was no way it was ever going to stay exclusive. Even panel details end up on the internet by the end of the day. The reason to go to Comic-Con is to be part of the experience and enjoy it first hand. Those who can’t go should not be punished by being kept in the dark for months. Next time release the trailer world wide at the same time as it is screened to comic-con audiences.
So what about the actual content of the trailer? I’ll say this: Margot Robbie is an absolute gem as Harley Quinn. Her performance is perfectly pitched between sweet and menacing, highlighting both the childlike qualities of the psychiatrist and her brutal, violent tendencies. She wasn’t overly sexualised, which was a concern after Robbie’s role in The Wolf of Wall Street, aside from one scene where she licks her prison bars, But it’s hard to know whether that was meant to be sexual or just creepy. Maybe both.
Will Smith, as Deadshot, looks the part but I’m less sold on his personality. Not that Deadshot has much of a personality; he is dutiful in regards to his work, has a disregard for human life, even his own, and his only real passion appears to be shooting people. That is the character we got in the trailer, but I don’t believe Smith is the right man for the role. Smith doesn’t do so well with the stoic, dry witted characters. As an actor, he’s at his best when he’s allowed to emote and be a little silly. Even in The Pursuit of Happyness, where Smith takes on a serious role, there is physical humour and Smith’s feelings are often at the forefront of the scene. I’m not saying his portrayal needs to be more wooden but there are a lot of actors who have made a name for themselves by playing hardened, misanthropic men and are suited to the role. Smith is not.
Enchantress, played by model turned actor Cara Delevingne, also pops up in a few scenes. Most notably she takes a bath in some black liquid which could be something magical or might just be really dirty water. She has no lines in the trailer. In fact, the only other Suicide Squad member to get a speaking line is Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang. All of the members were present and accounted for but by far it was Margot Robbie and Will Smith who got the majority of the focus. That seems a little out of sync, since people are going to come to see Harley Quinn and Deadshot regardless. It’s characters such as Rick Flag and Slipknot that they’ll have to sell people on. But there’s plenty of time between now and summer next year for DC to promote those characters.
In regards to the music, the creepy soundtrack and the sombre, melancholy singing felt in keeping with the very dark premise of the film, in which the government uses criminals to do jobs too high risk for people they actually care about. It’s good that the trailer explained that to viewers who perhaps aren’t familiar with this group, although Amanda Waller’s claim of being able to control them because that’s her job felt a bit like tempting fate. Whether the group does turn on her or continues to do her bidding by the end of the film likely depends a lot on whether or not a certain psychopath in clown make-up appears.
The best comment I can make about Jared Leto’s Joker is that at least he doesn’t appear to actually be apart of the Suicide Squad itself. That’s what I have been lobbying for since Jared Leto’s casting announcement last year. If Marvel can pull off a film about a racoon and a tree in space from a comic that no one who doesn’t read comics will never have heard of, DC can surely pull off an ensemble film of notable bad guys like Harley Quinn and Killer Croc. I’ll be happy if The Joker’s only appearances are in flashbacks. But then again, I feel that way more than ever because I detest Leto’s portrayal as The Joker in the trailer. He looks like his character from Requiem For A Dream took fashion tips from his character from Fight Club, then joined a gang with his character from Panic Room. And aside from looking like a horrible Annie Lennox/Marilyn Manson cosplay, he completely overacts the last scene. I hoping The Joker only appears in flashbacks because otherwise I’ll be cringing throughout the entire film.
The Joker aside, the only other complaint of the trailer would be the attempts to tie this film into the larger DC universe, specifically the criminals in Batman masks and Weller calling Superman ‘a beacon’ for super enabled folk. For one, I dislike the idea of Batman and Superman as misunderstood vigilantes. Batman might work by his own moral code, but he did work with the police and the law to clean up a city that was rife with crime and corruption. And I get the concept that super heroes beget super villains because the criminals have to become smarter and more dangerous to deal with the new obstacle but that’s not what’s being suggested here. The use of the word beacon puts the government’s perception of Superman in the same category as Harley Quinn and Deadshot, not as a cause and effect. Not to mention it just feels like a cheap way of reminding us that the two films are connected. Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t name drop a single Avenger but we still knew the films took place in the same universe.
On the whole, I did enjoy this trailer. Mostly for Margot Robbie but it’s also got me wondering about the final feature, which is good. Marvel have already proven to be experts at the ensemble film. This will be DC and Warner Bros first big test and how they do here will largely inform what we can expect from a Justice League film. Roll on August 2016.