SDCC: SUICIDE SQUAD Footage Proves Comic Book Grit Doesn’t Have To Be A Bummer

This is the one to anticipate.

Yeah yeah, everyone’s excited about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but for Evan Saathoff (that’s me), today’s Warner Bros panel was all about David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. I am happy to report the panel did not disappoint. I’m also happy to report that it was only about five minutes long.

This is how it went. David Ayer came out holding his own microphone, which he used to say “shit” about twice a sentence and amp the crowd up about DC’s stable of villains. True to his nature as a fingers-crossed badass, Ayer had little problem making a direct reference to Marvel’s lack of cool bad guys. Here he had a movie that was all bad guys. Forget good vs. evil, he said. This is a film about bad vs. evil.

We saw a trailer. Not one tiny bit of it was as epic and iconic as what we saw in the Batman v Superman footage. Instead, it looked weird and intriguing and story-driven in a way Batman v Superman has no interest in exploring. This looks less like an event and more like an actual movie, a team movie at that.

The trailer begins with Amanda Waller (played up to be as cutthroat as possible) explaining her plan to take all these weirdos that have been popping up (“Superman’s like a beacon for them to crawl out of the shadows”) and using them to do her dirty work. We then get our introduction to Harley Quinn, hanging upside down in her birdcage-like prison cell. More than any character, even Will Smith’s Deadshot, this is the character the trailer focuses on.

We do get moments with the rest of the crew, however. Everyone’s excited about the Joker, but I think Killer Croc is going to be the breakout figure here. He doesn’t really look anything like he does in the comics, but there’s something goofy and magnetic about his burly, scaled face buried mostly within that ratty hoodie. By some miracle, even Jai Courtney looks kind of cool here.

And yes, the trailer closes on the Joker as he prepares to torture some poor sucker. He looks and sounds like Jared Leto indulging in the hammiest “scary” persona possible, but I’m not opposed to it in the context of all these other characters. He’s not the star, and he’s not here to have some iconic conflict with Batman. He’s an element in a David Ayer movie, and he looks David Ayer as fuck.

Speaking of which, this does not look like a PG-13 movie. We didn’t see anything overly explicit, but just the visual tone of it looks really excited to be dirty and inappropriate. The Joker’s totally about to torture a guy. Harley Quinn licks one of her jail cell bars. Everyone’s shooting guns and blowing up cars. Whether it’s PG-13 or not, it really doesn’t look like a film for the whole family.

Obviously, this is a way smaller film than Batman v Superman, but I believe it’s going to be the one we watch more AND the one that truly defines what Warner Bros can do with this shared cinematic DC universe.

Hilariously, the cast of Suicide Squad took the stage just long enough to be introduced. They all yelled “Suicide Squad!”, stood around a while, and then immediately left. They didn’t even bother to sit down. That’s how you do it, guys!