Who says comic book characters have to play nice? In the debut trailer for James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, things are rude, crude and more than a little bloody. And, frankly, we love it.
Gunn's take on the DC Comics mythology aims to wash out the bitter aftertaste of David Ayer's 2016 attempt. Certainly, Gunn looks like he's nailed the offbeat team dynamic, but that's expected given his background on Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy films. He jumped ship from Marvel to DC after being temporarily fired from Guardians 3, only to be reinstated on the latter film.
If someone can wrangle chemistry from a talking raccoon and a walking tree, then why should he be intimidated by a walking shark dude who can't help chomping down on the competition? Ah, yes – we're referring to King Shark (actor not yet confirmed), one of the most distinctive personas in Gunn's revisionist Suicide Squad movie. He's part of a collective of weirdly likeable villains including Harley Quinn (a returning Margot Robbie), Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) and Savant (Michael Rooker).
They're being orchestrated by a familiar face: Viola Davis' Amanda Waller, whom we last saw in the 2016 movie. Also thrown into the mix: Peter Capaldi's super-villain The Thinker, and a certain, ubiquitous Taika Waititi. Our money is on him playing King Shark, although there are rumours the character is being played by Sylvester Stallone. Here are the new posters.
Without further ado, here are the five irreverent, messy and glorious highlights that already suggest James Gunn has nailed his DC debut.
1. King Shark's hand
We've already mentioned this guy twice, but already, we love him so much, we have to give him another shoutout. Who can resist an aquamarine predator placed onto land with the inability to recognise his flipper as a hand? Already, we're getting strong vibes from the brilliantly surreal tone of the Guardians movies.
2. John Cena's riffing
Joel Kinnaman, who returns as Rick Flagg, says John Cena's ad-libbing on the set had him in fits of laughter. Could Cena be set to steal the show? We might be counting on it, given the comic timing he demonstrated in Blockers and other hits. Peacemaker's extended verbal joust with Bloodsport about what one might find on a desert island is a clear highlight from the trailer (unprintable here, however).
3. The human/cat thing licking the door
Nothing more to add here. It's sure to fit the perverted-looking tone of the movie, though.
4. Peter Capaldi as a bad guy
Scottish actor Capaldi can curse up a storm as raging spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It (and its movie spin-off, In the Loop). Will he be tucking into Gunn's foul-mouthed dialogue in this? Please, let it be so. His character, The Thinker, remains silent for his one-scene appearance in the trailer, apparently befuddled by the Squad's vague death threats. Also, is that an implicit COVID-19 reference with the gag about coughing into one's hand?
5. The kaiju
The cherry on the cake has to be this seeming homage to Godzilla. We've no idea why it's happening, but we're not looking for logic. In fact, logic can go sit in a corner and have a word with itself. What we want from The Suicide Squad is character-driven craziness, and this looks to deliver in spades.