"What They Had" finds welcome humor in a tragic setting                Glenn Close, Hugh Jackman and Director Damien Chazelle to Receive Hollywood Film Awards                Ben Foster continues a hot streak with “Galveston”                Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan have captured brilliance with "Wildlife"                Amandla Stenberg, John David Washington, Yalitza Aparicio, Felix Van Groeningen & Crazy Rich Asians To Receive Hollywood Film Awards                David Gordon Green puts his stamp on "Halloween" and crafts a terrific sequel                "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" deliciously pairs Richard E. Grant with Melissa McCarthy                "22 July" sees Paul Greengrass effectively depict another tragic historical event                Timothée Chalamet and Rachel Weisz to be Honored at Hollywood Film Awards                Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet are gunning for awards with "Beautiful Boy"                "Bad Times At The El Royale" is overstuffed yet pulpy fun from Drew Goddard                87 films will contend for Best Foreign Language Feature this year                "First Man" is another stunning achievement for Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling                Updated Academy Award predictions for early October                Bradley Cooper makes a stunning directorial debut with the Oscar frontrunner "A Star Is Born"        

“Suicide Squad” is shaping up to be one of the most interesting upcoming superhero movies

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At the very tail end of the weekend, filmmaker David Ayer unveiled his first look at most of the costumed cast of Suicide Squad, his DC superhero/anti-hero/villain movie that’s scheduled to follow Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice next year. This comes on the heels of Ayer also officially showing off Jared Leto as The Joker recently, making for an unusual amount of promotional material for a film coming second in line during 2016. At the same time though, it suggests something pretty different for DC and Warner Brothers, perhaps even in a way becoming their version of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Not in tone, of course, but in terms of being a possibly top tier outing due to a different feel from the rest of the pack. Having a recent Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actor in the cast playing an iconic part won’t hurt either.

For those who have never hard of Suicide Squad, it’s a comic book adaptation, obviously, surrounding a government agency that recruits currently imprisoned supervillains to participate in black ops missions in exchange for clemency on their sentences. Ayer writes and directs, while the cast includes Jared Leto as Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Care Delevingne as Enchantress, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, Adam Beach as Slipknot, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, along with Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, plus Common, Scott Eastwood, and Karen Fukuhara in unnamed roles, as well as cameos from Ben Affleck as Batman and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, among potentially others. It takes place in the same universe that DC/WB is creating to lead up to a Justice League film, as well as possibly a stand alone Batman movie. It’s got a solid filmmaker and a very strong cast in place, so there’s plenty here to work with on all ends, I must say.

Obviously one of the big things here is getting to see a new interpretation of the clown prince of crime, this time portrayed by Leto. The first look at him suggested a very aggressive and dark new take, separated him in a big way from Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s Batman for sure, but also Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight as well. Leto has emerged as a real exciting actor after his Oscar winning turn in Dallas Buyers Club, so he might be able to do something new with the part. At the very least, it adds a level of intrigue to Suicide Squad that it might not have otherwise.

The other thing that I’m really interested in here is how dark this movie could wind up being. Apparently, there’s an edict to be as serious in possible in the film franchises leading up to Justice League, but this one could take the cake. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice looks dark for sure, but Suicide Squad may very well be pitch black. It is about assassins and villains, of course, with Joker the worst of the lot. I’m keen to see how this one turns out, especially since Ayer has shown a solid knack for dark and heavy material, be it End of Watch or Fury, to name two of his best so far.

A bonus factor of sorts to consider is that as much as we’re going to be getting to know/spending time with lesser known comic book characters like Deadshot and Rick Flagg, we’re also going to get a possible lead in to a Batman solo film in which he squares off against Joker. Affleck vs Leto, with possibly Robbie’s Harley Quinn involved as well, well…that’s something pretty juicy. Initially after The Dark Knight, I was of the opinion that the character should have been retired, letting Ledger’s Oscar winning turn be what stands the test of time, but now I’m more open minded. That’s an all time great performance, but Leto is a fine selection and he deserves a chance to leave his own mark. I’m pretty high on Affleck as the caped crusader also, so even if he’s just a cameo in Suicide Squad, it’s something to look forward to.

In the end, we’re more than a year out from Suicide Squad hitting theaters, but between now and August 5th of 2016, but I’m of the opinion that this one could stand out from the rest of the pack. It’s possible that it might be in a bad way, perhaps even turning out to be a morbid and unenjoyable mess, but that’s no fun to contemplate. I’d much rather assume that Ayer and company will give us something memorable, perhaps even turning someone like Smith on to riskier material. The potential here is very strong, especially if it sets up the aforementioned Affleck solo Batman movie against Leto’s Joker. Ayer especially has me somewhat bullish on its potential, but we’ll ultimately find out next summer, a few months after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes out. It’ll be a DC centric summer in 2016, so sit tight for much more on this one between now and then.

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Stay tuned for plenty more on Suicide Squad!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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