In Skwad We Trust1 of 12Suicide Squad is in theaters now, and doing gangbusters in its opening weekend box office. Though it isn't exactly a critical darling, the film contains plenty of references and eye candy for DC fans who care to look for it.
As always when watching major superhero movie releases, we kept our eyes peeled for the big takeaways from Suicide Squad, both in terms of its actual content, and what it means for DC Films and the superhero movie landscape at large moving forward.
Here are ten takeaways from Suicide Squad.
New Recruits2 of 12One of the hallmarks of a classic Suicide Squad story is that not everyone makes it out alive, and the film is no different. Though the team’s first casualty is Slipknot, whose death (and whole role in the film) is basically just a gag, El Diablo and the Enchantress are also seemingly lost by the film’s end.
And, like the comic book Squad, this means that there are now some gaps in the team’s roster. Good news, though; there are still a few prominent members of Task Force X left to appear in a sequel. Neither Nightshade nor Bronze Tiger made it to the team this go-round, but both were key players in the stories that birthed the whole concept of the team.
Granted, aspects of Nightshade’s origin were co-opted for the Enchantress, but her powerset and personality are remarkably different, making her a shoe-in for the team’s new big gun -- especially with the lack of a magic powerhouse now.
Harley Quinn Returns3 of 12With several of Batman’s primary enemies appearing in Suicide Squad, the stage has been set for Ben Affleck’s Batman solo film. In fact, Suicide Squad may have even set up that film’s story, with Joker busting Harley out of Belle Reve at the end of the film.
You can bet that now that they’re reunited, the Clown Prince and Madcap Mistress of Crime won’t be reserved strictly for a Suicide Squad sequel. More likely Batman’s arch-nemesis (and moreover Margot Robbie’s movie star charm) will form the basis of Affleck’s film.
Critics v Fans: Round 24 of 12Suicide Squad has already begun the new battleground of critics versus fans, with critics largely panning the film, while some fans have embraced it wholeheartedly. Whatever anyone’s personal opinion of the film may be, its opening box office clearly was not affected by critical reception, setting all-time records for the month of August.
The real question is whether Suicide Squad will take the route of Batman v Superman, opening strong, but losing its legs as time goes by, or if it will be more of a long-term success.
Task Force X-Men5 of 12As with all superhero movie releases, there are lessons to be learned from Suicide Squad - primarily by 20th Century Fox, who are, let’s face, DC’s most direct competition in the battle to win the hearts of fans of Marvel Studios. Perhaps the biggest lesson is that moviegoers want something new and different every time they sit down in the theater to watch a superhero film, even if it’s a new dynamic between characters, as with Captain America: Civil War, or a look at a whole new kind of hero (villains, namely), as with Suicide Squad.
Suicide Squad nearly doubled the opening weekend take of X-Men: Apocalypse, though their reviews aren’t particularly different. But Suicide Squad had the benefit of being a brand new concept rather than the latest sequel in a long line of increasingly homogeneous films.
This means that Fox may want to consider how they’re going to rock the boat for New Mutants and X-Force - two films that, on the surface, largely repeat the tried and true X-Men concept of a team of mutants.
Easter Egg Hunt6 of 12In the lead up to the release of Suicide Squad, much of the discussion by fans centered on theories about the film’s villains, the identity of the Joker, and Suicide Squad’s place in the overall landscape of the DC Film Universe. So imagine the collective surprise when most everything in the film was pretty straightforward.
Sure, there were a few unlikely turns in the plot, but overall, there was no big DC movie twist that changed the landscape of the films, nor any big secret revealed, nor really much connection to the meta-story of the New Gods that will coalesce in Justice League.
Maybe that was simply too much to expect of a movie of this small scale, or maybe it was a true missed opportunity for DC.
Little League7 of 12As established, Batman shows up in a few scenes of Suicide Squad, taking down Harley Quinn and Deadshot, while Flash runs by to take down his old enemy Captain Boomerang. This means that Flash already has his super suit and is fighting crime independently before the Justice League is formed, and it also means that Batman is back to regularly fighting crime in Gotham City.
In fact, judging by his actions in Suicide Squad, we may be looking at a (marginally) kinder, gentler, more comic book faithful version of the Caped Crusader than the one seen in Batman v Superman.
As for Flash, it was unclear whether he'd get his armored suit and his penchant for chasing down bank robbers before or after Batman recruited him for the League. Now, we seem to know the answer.
Terror Couple Kill Robin8 of 12In Harley Quinn’s introductory montage, it’s established that she’s wanted in conjunction with the murder of Robin, a crime committed solely by the Joker in comic books, which was also teased in Batman v Superman and director Zack Snyder's related statements.
If Harley is partially responsible for Robin’s death, that would definitely go a long way to giving her some street cred – possibly even boosting her profile above that of her beloved Mistah J.
This also seemingly puts the final nail in the fan theory that Leto’s Joker is actually Jason Todd – a theory that doesn’t jive with hints at Joker’s origin in the film, or with director David Ayer’s flat-out denial that this was the case.
The Night Shift9 of 12Suicide Squad’s mid-credits stinger showed that Amanda Waller and Bruce Wayne have a pre-established relationship – something directly from comic books, and which has been portrayed in other media. She even tipped off Batman on how to catch Deadshot, and brought Wayne files on potential Justice League recruits.
But on top of that, Waller seems to imply she actually knows Bruce Wayne’s secret identity. While the Justice League trailer doesn’t really show Bruce making a big effort to hide his identity, DC’s heroes are still very tied to keeping their civilian lives secret. You can bet that if Waller sticks around, this will come up again.
DC's Summer Crossover10 of 12Not one but two known Justice Leaguers appear in Suicide Squad, with Flash and Batman each lending a hand to take down their respective enemies who go on to join Task Force X. While that does raise a question later about where they are when the whole world is being threatened, it also shows that DC isn’t afraid to cross-pollinate their film world, and commit to the interconnected vision pioneered by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Given that she handed Batman files for other metahumans, could Amanda Waller become the Justice League’s Nick Fury, of sorts?
By Fans, For Fans11 of 12When director David Ayer said his Suicide Squad script came from a place of fandom, he wasn’t kidding. Ignoring for a moment the problems that existed in the story, it’s safe to say that, as far as Suicide Squad’s characters are concerned, it may be one of the most comic book faithful DC films yet.
From hints at Harley Quinn’s time as a competitive gymnast, to Deadshot’s relationship with his daughter, to Katana’s ripped-from-the-pages origin, Suicide Squad is filled with bits that show just how deep Ayer was willing to go into DC mythos to develop his characters.
On top of that, the building from which the Squad rescues Amanda Waller was the “Ostrander Building,” a reference to John Ostrander who created the concept of the modern Suicide Squad.
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