ShortList’s James Gill is among a privileged few who have seen the new DC movie, and shares the key stuff you need to know
Suicide Squad is out in cinemas from 5 August
There are cameos aplenty
Suicide Squad boasts cameos from both Batman (Ben Affleck) and the Flash (Ezra Miller). And rumours that it’s a body double in the Bat-suit are wide of the mark: that’s pure Affleck in there. The two future members of the Justice League are brought in to capture key members of the Suicide Squad towards the start of the film. To say any more would be spoilerific. Does a member of the Justice League feature in a mid-end-credits scene? We couldn’t possibly comment (we are currently blinking “yes” in Morse code).
The best performance isn't from who you'd expect
Films don’t do MOM awards. Sky Sports reporter Jeff Shreeves doesn’t interview the best ‘player’ after a film to present him or her with a bottle of champagne (Sky Sports chiefs, if you’re reading this, you should. It would be ace). But if they did, then Viola Davis would be guzzling down a bottle of Moet right now. She is sensational as ruthless government official Amanda Waller, preferring to use a pistol, rather than asking people to keep schtum. Think Nick Fury, but without the remorse. “In a world of flying men and monsters,” she growls. “This is the only way to protect our country.” To misquote Chris Walken in the famous Cowbell sketch on SNL: “We gotta have more Waller!"
The joke’s on us
There had been rumours that Jared Leto would barely feature as the Joker. Rest assured, there’s enough from the Oscar winner to keep fans satisfied. This is more than a glorified cameo from the Clown Prince Of Crime: the Joker’s presence looms large throughout the movie, as he bids to rescue lover Harley Quinn from the Squad, while getting enough screen time to show he’s a worthy Joker, very much doing his own thing, while comfortably holding his own when compared to Jack Nicholson, Cesar Romeo, Heath Ledger and, the man many believe to be the greatest Joker of all, Mark Hamill. We also see more of Leto’s Joker through flashbacks, such as how he wooed Margot Robbie’s Dr Harleen Quinzel – a psychiatrist sent to Arkham Asylum to help the madman – and turned her into Harley Quinn. Charismatic, crazed and – crucially – memorable.
This is a film that’s set directly after Batman Vs Superman, meaning that (spoiler alert!) Superman is very much dead (for now, obviously). At the start of Suicide Squad, you even see a clip from the climactic Super-funeral from Bats Vs Supes. It’s also dark in the literal sense. Not since Tango & Cash has a film so steadfastly refused to spend too much time in bright light (a niche reference, but fans of the poorly lit scrapes of Lt Raymond Tango and Gabriel Cash will know exactly what we mean). However, it’s not as “messed up” as we were lead to believe. Anyone expecting mind-scraping weirdness will be sorely disappointed.
Expect a sequel
While we want to tell you key Squad stuff, we don’t want to spoil too much. However, don’t bat (pun not intended) an eyelid if a sequel gets the greenlight. It will come as no surprise – in this age of sequels, spin-offs, franchises and cinematic universes – that the finale screams “follow-up”. The film is not without its flaws – for all the talk of Suicide Squad being markedly different, it can feel incredibly generic – but these characters are practically pleading for more outings. We’d single out Davis, Will Smith (Deadshot), Leto and Robbie in that regard.