Suicide Squad Trailer Breakdown

You’ve probably already seen the new Suicide Squad trailer that was unveiled yesterday. You may have already seen it a few times because it is one seriously impressive piece of marketing that showcases a tone and style that no one saw coming. Warner Bros. has obviously taken a few cues from how Marvel sold Guardians of the Galaxy to introduce this gang of misfits and oddballs to a wider audience and it works absurdly well. Director David Ayer has cooked up something that takes place in the same world as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it looks completely different in just about every way.

While the trailer does a fairly good job of establishing the basic premise (the government recruits a bunch of imprisoned DC comics super villains into a task force that is forced to go on dangerous missions), it doesn’t delve into the plot specifics. At the same time, it’s bursting with mysterious images, insane moments, and surprising beats. This thing begs for a frame-by-frame breakdown.

And your wish is my command.

One quick note before we begin: this post contains no actual spoilers, but it will feature a ton of speculation, some of which is fueled by rumors that have appeared online. If you fear any kind of potential spoiler, think twice before trekking ahead.

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The trailer opens in what appears to be Belle Reve, the DC universe’s main penitentiary and the second most escapable place in the world (the first being Arkham Asylum, of course). You can barely make it out the image above, but the words “Firm but fair”are scrawled on the walkway, which is advice that we bet the guards here regularly ignore.

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As Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” plays on the soundtrack, we start to meet the main players. First up is Margot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn, introduced making the most out of a bad situation. It’s nice to know that the Joker’s former shrink didn’t completely abandon her intellectual side when she went completely and totally insane.

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And here is Will Smith‘s master marksman Deadshot, looking very much like Will Smith. Still, it’s impressive how little this trailer leans on his star power – it’s great to see him as part of the ensemble, but this movie knows that it has more to offer than a single actor.

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This is the shot where a few skeptics may start to find themselves coming around. This movie doesn’t just feature Killer Croc (played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), it takes place in a world where his prison cell has his own personal pond. That’s silly. That’s fantastic.

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Next up is Jay Hernandez‘s El Diablo, who gets a surprising amount of screen time in the trailer. Here he is conjuring fire in his cell. As we’ll soon see, Suicide Squad takes place in a DC movie universe where crazy powers like this are accepted and dealt with, which is a nice change of pace from the great-but-grounded Dark Knight trilogy.

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Look, I have little love for Jai Courtney. He’s impossibly wooden in Terminator: Genisys and A Good Day to Die Hard. He’s most definitely not a leading man I like watching…but maybe he’s a wacky character actor I want to watch as long as he’s allowed to keep his natural Australian accent? Courtney is more entertaining and watchable in this trailer than in all of his major roles combined and his Captain Boomerang looks appropriately unhinged and odd and hilarious. Is this where we turn the corner on Mr. Courtney? I certain hope so. It’s time to end the hate.

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She may not have much to do in this trailer, but Amanda Waller is a big deal in the DC universe and the immeasurably talented Viola Davis seems like a perfect fit for the part. This government operative may not have any powers (unless you count her endless bureaucratic resources and nerves of steel), but she is this universe’s biggest mover and shaker. She organizes the Suicide Squad, pulls their strings, and knows exactly what’s going on when everyone else is in the dark. This is the woman who can stare Batman in the eye without blinking. There are many colorful characters in this movie, but she may be the one we’re most eager to see in action.

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Cool colors, guys.

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This is the part of the trailer where each member of the title team is forcibly rounded up to serve the greater good. It takes an entire team of armed guards to bring in Deadshot, who cracks “What is this? Cheerleading tryouts?” As far as hokey Will Smith one-liners go, this one is a solid B+.

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Courtney’s Captain Boomerang is literally transported to the scene in a bodybag and he comes out swinging. Is Courtney the comic relief of this movie? It certainly looks like it. And somehow, he appears to be up to the task.

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How do you transport a man who can summon fire out of nowhere? By drenching him in water, of course.

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And how do you transport a powerful, man-eating crocodile mutant? Very carefully, Hannibal Lecter-style.

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Here is our first proper glimpse at Joel Kinnaman‘s Rick Flagg (a role originally intended for Tom Hardy), the military commando tasked with leading the Suicide Squad in the field. As we see later in the trailer, his job in the movie seems to involve being the straight edge upon which the crazies get to bounce, which is a vital but thankless task.

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Holy smokes. Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s practical Killer Croc make-up is nothing short of fantastic. This is the kind of character who could’ve been 100% CGI, but Ayer and his team went the extra mile and it appears to have paid off.

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Here’s the big question: is Cara Delevingne‘s Enchantress actually a member of the team? This portion of the trailer is cut to suggest that she is, but the actual footage suggests that she isn’t. In fact, everything in this trailer backs up the rumors that this deranged witch is an antagonist and the main subject of the Suicide Squad’s mission. In any case, note the grimy magical debris swirling around her body in this shot. We’ll come back to that in a bit.

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Adam Beach‘s Slipknot gets almost nothing to do in this trailer, but for the sake of completeness, here’s his one close-up. Our prediction: he’s the member of the team that dies first to raise the stakes for everyone else. After all, the comic book version of the Suicide Squad is no stranger to casualties, so killing off a member or two wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. Plus, Slipknot is conspicuously missing from most of the big ensemble shots later in the trailer.

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Harley’s little speech about voices telling her to kill everyone is probably the funniest beat in a trailer filled with funny beats. We can talk all day about whether or not this film has rendered this character unrecognizable next to her comic book counterpart, but Robbie seems to be totally game and having a ball (and that could be all that we need).

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