No, this "Suicide Squad" trailer sullies a song I truly love by associating it with a bunch of Hot Topic employees. No, I don't like it. It's not for me! But it's kinda fun... why am I brushing it away like I'm Ryan Gosling and Harley Quinn and Co. are a spoonful of cereal? What's going on in my opinion-brain?!
There's a war going on between the thoughtful killjoy that's written off the DC movies completely and an excitable, dumb puppy dog that just wants to love things. This happened before when Marvel announced "Secret Wars" and I let the two halves of my fan-mind argue it out. Seeing as how I have no idea where I stand with "Suicide Squad," I figure it's time for a rematch.
The "Suicide Squad" trailer completely knocked me out of my Star Wars pajama pants last night! Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody" -- what's not to love?
Okay, Fan Me, you just listed an artist and a song as "pros," leaving all the actual film content presumably in the "con" section? There's a lot not to love! The aesthetic is way too aggressive for us; it's as if the film is catering towards 21st century teenage mall punks that don't get how important Mission of Burma or Gang of Four were to expanding the genre.
Oh, you're busting out your ol' college music snobbery for this one -- !
I can't help it! Or maybe I should be open to things that don't look fashionable and put together; not everything can be "Mad Men." And "Suicide Squad" is so not "Mad Men." But that doesn't change the fact that I find something about the overall look of it to be... disingenuous. Why is text scrawled over everyone's costumes and shirts and bodies? The over-sexification of Harley Quinn in the video games, New 52 and now film feels like it's been done solely to appeal to dude-bros -- maybe at the cost of the massive female fanbase that's supported her since she was in a weekday afternoon cartoon?
Come on, there are plenty of women that also like this Harley Quinn!
I'm sure there are! Women wouldn't cosplay as this Harley Quinn if they didn't -- and they do, all the time. But as I'm representing our cynical viewpoint, I gotta say, I just generally do not trust superhero movies to be nuanced enough to put one of the few female protagonists in short shorts and fishnets while preventing her objectification. This trailer doesn't even pass that test! There's a full on gratuitous booty-shot in it when Harley bends over to steal a purse. I'm fine with the character choosing to wear revealing clothing, but it just icks me out when it feels like the director is forcing me to ogle her.
This is because we're gay.
It's partially because we're gay, sure, but it's mostly because it reduces Harley Quinn to a IMAX Real 3D butt. The point of that quick scene at the end of the trailer is to show Harley being characteristically flippant about their mission. The butt shot, while quick, muddies the intention of that scene. Instead of our thoughts being on what Harley's doing and saying in humorous juxtaposition to the situation, we're instead thinking about her butt -- because it's right there -- and then about what she's saying and doing. It's annoying! And also something we see happen all the time!
So your main problem with the look of the film is graphic tees and a butt?
Do I need to get started on the Joker?
I can't stop you, naysayer!
When I first saw the photo of Jared Leto's Joker almost a year ago, I burst out laughing. Hysterical laughing. It's just so ridiculous. Silver teeth, facial tattoos (his forehead says "damaged"!), it all just seems like what a middle schooler would do with the Joker. It's so "edgy"! It's so "now"! It's just so far from the snarling dandy Joker that I personally enjoy (Cesar Romero and Jack Nicolson all the way), it's the most glaring example that the movie is not for me.
Even as your hyper-excitable counterbalance, I can't totally disagree with you on the character designs. But character designs aren't actors and they aren't performances. Will Smith, man, Will Smith!
As a child of the '90s I... do... have a very big place in my heart for Will Smith.
And this is Will Smith doling out one liners to authority figures! That's what he does best -- he's the Fresh Prince of Belle Reve Penitentiary!
Yeah... and I see what you did there.
And come on -- Viola Davis as Amanda Waller? You like that and you know you like that.
I do like that! She's the best part of "How to Get Away With Murder," right after that one lawyer guy (is he a lawyer?) whose name I can't remember's beard. I obviously haven't seen the show in a while.
And for all your justified sass about Harley Quinn's ass shot, Margot Robbie was pretty great in the trailer. Harley Quinn is a big deal character -- she might be the biggest deal character from Marvel and DC that's never been in a film before. That's a lot for Robbie to take on -- and it looks like she's got it down!
But where's the accent, Fan Me?!
The lack of accent is a bummer, for sure, but her spirit of madcap anarchic fun is right there. And come on, that look of subtle menace she gives at the top of the trailer when talking about the voices in her head? Come on, Rational Me... come on, you feel it...!
She's pretty good in the trailer.
And do I need to bring up Jai Courtney?
No, no we're good here, Fan Me. Move along!
Come on -- he's... kinda hot.
Ugh, I can't objectify one of the men in this movie after going off on the film's objectification of Harley Quinn!
You can admit he's handsome, Rational Me! No, he's not really "your type" but you can't deny it -- !
...Him cracking open a beer and slinking away from a presumably raging battle, I find that incredibly, incredibly charming.
I got through to you! And those sideburns are ridiculous times infinity but...
I can't deny their power. Okay, if Captain Boomerang is a total self-serving scoundrel -- and it really looks that way -- then yeah, okay, I can see myself getting on board for that.
You're already caving and I haven't even mentioned the part of the trailer that I know you love! I know you, because you're also me, and I know what you/we love -- love -- more than anything when it comes to live-action superhero adaptations.
[Sighs] Action scenes set to rock music...
Action scenes set to rock music!
You're right -- the "Cherry Bomb" montage in "Guardians of the Galaxy" is one of my favorite Marvel movie moments ever. I lost my mind when "Jessica Jones" released a promo set to "Bad Reputation." Yes, I started straight up crying when "Jones" used Sleigh Bells' "Demons" in its Season One finale.
The reason you/I am so conflicted over this "Suicide Squad" trailer is because it uses a song you love -- "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen -- and it uses it well. It uses it damn well. The epic song is chopped up brilliantly, with each different movement paired exquisitely with the absolute right footage.
Even... sometimes the gunfire and punches synch up with Roger Taylor's drums.
Music means a lot to us, and we both know that you/I listen to music visually; you can't help but imagine action scenes and fight choreography to certain songs when you hear them. You've come up with soundtracks for pretty much every creative project you've worked on. When movies acknowledge the, for lack of a more original term, power of rock in a trailer, you freak out.
I even kinda liked that "TMNT 2" trailer, solely because it used "It's Tricky" by Run-D.M.C.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" is a perfect fit for this movie on a number of levels; it's a schizophrenic song comprised of comedic and epic elements, dressed up in glam rock glitter and armed with a fully-loaded guitar solo (hell yeah Brian May) that sounds like the rock and roll equivalent of a rocket launcher. So when actual rockets are launched during that solo...
I have a lump in my throat now. The emotions are too much. This trailer might be the most perfect comic book movie trailer since "Guardians" used "Hooked On A Feeling." What's wrong with me?
If "Suicide Squad" teaches you anything, it should be that there's so much right with being so wrong.
But I had the DC film universe pegged. And that's the other reason I'm conflicted here; on one hand, yes, the trailer itself is viciously up my alley, but I'm not supposed to care about these movies!
Whoah, Rational Me, that sounds highly irrational!
I really did not like "Man of Steel," and everything that isn't Wonder Woman-related has convinced me that I will not like "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Even the title is too self-serious for me! The DC movies have billed themselves with the buzzwords "grim" and "edgy" and "dark" -- all adjectives I could easily never hear again. The early "Suicide Squad" stuff leaned heavily into that too, if you remember the fact that the Joker has the word "damaged" tattooed on his forehead. The first trailer? Mad bleak. And then this trailer comes out? It's a total tonal about-face and I am having a hard time recalibrating my expectations.
Since I don't have much history with any of these characters, I already wrote this movie off as one I didn't need to expend any energy on. But now?
Now you're counting down the days until August! You're gonna see this at a Thursday night preview showing. You might buy a Harley Quinn figure! Oh -- you could totally grow some Captain Boomerang 'burns by then!
Okay, now you've/I've really crossed a line.
Brett White is a writer and comedian living in New York City. He made videos for the Upright Citizens Brigade as a member of UCB1 and writes for the podcast Left Handed Radio. His opinions can be consumed in bite-sized morsels on Twitter (@brettwhite).