For months now, we’ve been hearing rumors flying around about various elements of the upcoming Suicide Squad movie. Despite its place in the DC Universe as something of a secondary series, excitement has run high nonetheless as more and more information has leaked out. As it stands right now, its all-star cast will include Will Smith as Deadshot, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Jared Leto as The Joker among many others. But what is it about this team of anti-heroes that’s making people want this movie so badly? With franchises like The Avengers and the X-Men: Apocalypse movie, there are plenty of other high-powered options to look toward.
Even having these more mainstream options available, it’s hard not to be drawn toward this band of misfits. The Avengers are often tagged as the same, but as a group of like-minded heroes, they seem positively tame compared to the group that composes the Suicide Squad. This is a group that has few heroic ambitions, acting together only at the behest of a government that essentially is blackmailing them to do their bidding. Various characters have rotated in and out over the years, giving it a feeling that any and everyone is expendable in the right situation. Compare that to the all-American heroes that compose The Avengers and we have the yin to their yang in more ways than one.
What people don’t really have, though, is a background into just who these characters are. Sure, just about any casual fan of comic books knows who The Joker is, but most of the other members of the Suicide Squad aren’t necessarily villains that show up on a regular basis. Rather, they’re the more obscure (yet arguably more interesting) characters that only get more exciting the more we learn about them.
The comic book history
The comic history of the Suicide Squad runs deep. At its core, the story follows a revolving door of super-villains tasked by the U.S. government to run black ops mission in exchange for their releases. In some iterations, they even have microchips implanted in their heads that can be triggered to explode should they refuse to cooperate, giving them an added incentive to not let their darker instincts take over. The laundry list of villains composing the team goes on for awhile, but some of the core members include:
Deadshot: Every group of anti-heroes needs an ace assassin, and that’s exactly what Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot, is. He’s often billed as “never missing” his targets, thanks in large part to a cybernetic eye that enhances his marksmanship.
Rick Flag(s): Rick has appeared throughout the comics in multiple incarnations within the Flag family: Rick Flag Sr., Rick Flag Jr. and Rick Flag III. He’s often assumed the role as the de facto leader of the Suicide Squad, armed with advanced military training and peak physical conditioning.
Harley Quinn: Fans of the Batman comics have practically been begging for Harley Quinn to make an appearance somewhere in the DC cinematic universe for years now. She’s often portrayed as the sidekick and girlfriend of The Joker, but offers far more than that in her character depth and unique abilities.
Captain Boomerang: Despite having one of the sillier set of abilities within the Squad, Captain Boomerang has still managed to crop up on multiple occasions. Predictably, his main contribution is his assortment of boomerangs that explode and electrify upon hitting his enemies.
Amanda Waller: While not technically a member of the Suicide Squad per se, Amanda Waller is still integral as the mastermind behind the project. She’s often portrayed as merciless and somewhat ruthless, carrying no sympathy of the team of villains she’s imprisoned and forced to do her bidding.
TV history and movie future
For anyone who’s been keeping up with Arrow, you may have already seen the Suicide Squad in action with Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, Cupid, and more. The DC movie has of course recast its own Squad in keeping with the trend of separating their TV and cinematic universes. In their short run on The CW, we’ve seen some of the more entertaining episodes of the series carried by their various missions. It ends proving one thing: That this is an idea that more than carries water, and with a well-made movie we could have one of the more unique films in the entire superhero universe.
If there’s one thing that sets the Suicide Squad apart, it’s that their movie is something that really has never been attempted before. Until now, virtually every comic book movie and TV show has focused on heroes who sometimes have to compromise their own lofty morality. This gives us the exact reverse of that, with villains who have to set aside their own instinct to wreak havoc and chaos long enough to help save the world. It worked in the microcosm of television, and soon we’ll see it expanded out in a full feature to really play-test the unique concept.
Its complex history and promising future lead us to believe that Warner’s Suicide Squad may strike gold with audiences. The heroes have more than gotten their time in the sun over the last decade, showing us the vanquishing of nuanced villains that have stolen the show on more than one occasion (thank you, Heath Ledger). Soon they’ll be the center of attention behind a star-powered cast, and the world will finally be able to see the next exciting step in comic book movies.
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