Pop-Ed: Breaking Down DC’s Suicide Squad

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When Warner Brothers announced their giant slate of films for the DC Cinematic Universe, Suicide Squad was certainly intriguing, but almost an afterthought when compared to the other titles.  Now that the official cast has been announced, it changes everything.  When you can get Will Smith, Tom Hardy, and Jared Leto in a movie together playing villains, that’s going to peak anybody’s interest.  While considered a gutsy play by having this film be the immediate follow up to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, that risk seems to have all but diminished.  The buzz on this baby will be massive, especially with a certain Batman villain now officially confirmed.  We’ll get there though, because we got a lot to cover.  It’s time to break down the anti-hero gang to end all anti-hero gangs – it’s the official cast for Suicide Squad!

Cara Delevingne as Enchantress

Let’s ease into this, and start with the character and actress I know absolutely nothing about.  Delevingne is a complete unknown.  She was apparently in Anna Karenina, and judging by her IMDB profile, she did a voice for Grand Theft Auto V, so there you go.  With a character as low on the DC totem pole as Enchantress, you can definitely get away with giving an unknown actress a chance.  I’m guessing the character involves magic, and apparently she’s a member of Justice League Dark at one point, which might lend credence to the rumors of Guillermo del Toro’s long talked about movie finally making some headway.  Yeah, sure it is, Guillermo.  If that movie ever happens with del Toro directing, I won’t watch The Dark Knight for an entire year.

Jai Courtney as Boomerang

I’m glad to see a Flash villain get in there, and I’m guessing we’ll see a TV version of the character at some point on the CW show.  A guy who throws deadly boomerangs is a potentially bad ass concept.  He could be the Oddjob of the Squad.  The choice of Jai Courtney though doesn’t thrill me.  I guess he was solid in Jack Reacher, but that’s about it.  This is a TBD for me until I see Terminator: Genisys, where Courtney plays the iconic role of Kyle Reese.  I have faith in that project more than most, so I’m hoping that film can really convince me on the actor.  We’ll have to wait and see on this one.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn

I already talked about this in the most recent Casting Couch, but this will give me a chance to elaborate more.  As far as the actress choice goes, this is A+ casting.  Robbie is stellar in The Wolf of Wall Street, and the fact that she is still only on the cusp of breaking out will be good for taking on Harley Quinn.  My concern is more with the use of this character.

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Ever since Harley Quinn was introduced in Batman: The Animated Series, she became insanely popular.  I like the character, but I have some concerns.  Everybody knows her deep connection to the Joker is the core element to the character, but I fear Harley’s presence will take attention away from him.  The Joker should always be the center of attention.  I can already read the reviews for this movie: “Joker who?  Harley steals the show!” To me, that diminishes the Joker, and as a selfish long time Batman fan, it makes me nervous.  I don’t want to see a gimmicky second Joker who happens to be female running around causing chaos.  This character needs to be extremely well written, and completely have her own identity.  I’m hoping this script gives her some real meat, as opposed to just having crazy lines and antics.  Let the Joker be the Joker, and let Harley Quinn be Harley Quinn.  The last thing I want to see is Harley Quinn just be another Joker.  I’m intrigued by her inclusion, but also nervous.

Tom Hardy as Rick Flag

It was rumored for a while that Tom Hardy would be in this movie, but I’m shocked it’s not as Deathstroke.  Honestly, Hardy could have been cast as Harley Quinn, and I would have been totally fine with it.  Tom Hardy is a damn good actor.  There’s nothing else that needs to be said.  Anytime you can get this guy in your movie, it immediately ups the class of the project.  I can’t say I know much about Rick Flag, other then there were three of them, and the elder was involved in World War II.  I’m sure that’s not the Flag Hardy will be playing, but I don’t care.  It’s Tom Hardy.  Game on.

Will Smith as Deadshot

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This has me excited for so many reasons.  First of all, I’m excited about a Will Smith movie again.  We all know this guy is immensely talented, but some of his decisions the last few years have been highly questionable.  Electing to be in an M. Night Shyamalan movie so he could get his kid in it, producing a horrible Karate Kid remake with his kid, passing on Django Unchained – seriously Will, what’s going on?  Will Smith also seems to think it’s still 1998, and that he has to be the lead hero in every movie, or else it will flop.

In electing to be in Suicide Squad, it feels as though someone finally sat Will down and gave him some good career advice.  Well Smith will certainly be a major player in the film as Deadshot, did you ever think in a million years Will Smith would opt to play a quasi supporting role in a film that also stars the Joker and Harley Quinn?  Hell no, and I love that.  It’s a very un-Will Smith type move.  And even though the film is about anti-heroes, Smith has always been reluctant to take a villain role in the past.  Well there was nothing wrong with his career, there’s no doubt he’s lost a lot of luster the last couple years, but finally agreeing to be part of a great project where he isn’t necessarily the star is going to be great for this guy.  Smith is going to kill this role, and I can’t wait.

The Amanda Waller Rumors

Before we get to the headliner, we got to talk about Amanda Waller.  Waller of course starts the Suicide Squad, and is a major player in the DC Universe.  She has yet to be cast, but there were some rumors that included Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and even Oprah Winfrey.  I’d be happy with any of these actresses, but Oprah would excite me the least.  I get the thinking on Warner Brothers’ part.  If they got Oprah, the box office for this film would increase by a significant margin.  The idea of Oprah playing a cold, calculating, semi-evil government agent is something I don’t see at all, but who knows?  I guess it could work.  If I was rooting for someone to get this role though, I’d love for it to be Octavia Spencer.

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JARED LETO AS THE JOKER

I knew this day would come, and now that it’s here, it’s a lot for me to take in.  There will be a new Joker.  I’m not going to waste your time singing the praises of the last guy who played the Joker.  There are babies who haven’t been born yet that know about Heath Ledger’s performance, so let’s just move on.  Out of all the actors that could have been chosen to play this role, I can’t think of anyone better to take up the mantle than Jared Leto.  He has a tough, tough road ahead of him, but this is the best man for the job.  I also want to thank Warner Brothers for getting this out in the open really fast.  I wouldn’t have been able to endure months of 96 different rumored actors for the Joker.

The idea of the Joker’s inclusion into the Suicide Squad for me is the secondary part of the news.  The bigger story is that the Joker himself is back.  Will he be in the Squad?  Will the Squad be after him?  Who knows, I really don’t care at this point.  Other than Darth Vader, the Joker is the greatest villain ever created, and he’s been treated very well on film and television.  What excites me most about this casting is the same reason why Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman excited me – Jared Leto chose this movie.  Not only that, but he probably had to sign a multi picture deal.  Despite the fact that Leto is an Academy Award winning actor, he’s not in many films due to his music career.  This tells me there’s something in the script by David Ayer that has him excited.  Even though you already have Hardy and Smith, Leto’s casting alone legitimizes the entire film.

As excited as I am to see what that crazy bastard will be doing in Suicide Squad, I’m already looking ahead to the first meeting we see between him and Batman.  Now that will be epic, especially because this Batman and Joker already have a history.  Heath Ledger will always be my Joker, but I’m ready for the next incarnation.  You can’t have Batman on film without the Joker.

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Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.
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Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.

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