Welcome to this week’s PUNCHLIST, where we round up the biggest news in nerd culture. We highlight the tastiest morsel in some detail and then close you out with a link round-up.
Suicide Squad Red Band Trailer
The DC Extended Universe has gone through quite a revival the last couple of weeks. The one-two punch of the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League and the first trailer for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad have given the flagging and often rudderless DCEU a much needed jolt of energy.
Long suffering DCEU fans (and many critics) were riding a week-long high of at least met, if not exceeded, expectations from the Mythical Snyder Cut. They were then treated to a fantastic red band trailer for Gunn’s “reboot that isn’t a reboot, but it’s basically a reboot” of the 2016 Suicide Squad. Take a look at it below if you somehow missed the drop this past Friday!
And it is a red band trailer, so cover your kids’ ears…and eyes…You know what? The young ones just shouldn’t watch it, really.
James Gunn Brings His Marvel Stylings with Him
James Gunn is probably best known for his work with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy films. The humor, sense of style, and zany action that Gunn brought to that Marvel franchise is all over the trailer for The Suicide Squad. Trailers don’t generally produce laugh out loud moments, but The Suicide Squad brings the laughs in a big way. Fans can’t really accuse the DCU of being a laugh riot. The Suicide Squad looks to change that.
Gunn also brings his uncanny ear for just the right song to the trailer. Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work” drives several parts of the trailer. No, it’s not quite as strong as “Hooked on a Feeling” was for the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. I mean, let’s be honest, not much from Steely Dan’s back catalogue is going to really swing for the fences for an action movie. However, with Gunn’s appreciation of music always at the forefront of his films, fans should expect some Awesome Mix level choices for the full length film.
Familiar Faces Everywhere
The Suicide Squad is definitely not running short of talent. DC fans get to see the return of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Viola Davis as Suicide Squad chief Amanda Waller. However, James Gunn is bringing a slew of talented actors and actresses into the DCEU.
Notably, Gunn is also bringing MCU alums Edris Elba and Michael Rooker along for the ride. Marvel and Star Wars fan favorite Taika Waititi is also rumored to make a cameo. But the trailer has several “Hey, it’s _____” moments ranging from John Cena as Charlton Comics Peacemaker and the former Doctor himself, Peter Capadli, as the villain The Thinker. Probably the most surprising and hilarious reveal was that none other than Sylvester Stallone would be providing the voice for King Shark.
“We’ve Got a Freaking Kaiju Up In This S***”
While plot details are fairly thin at this point, the trailer makes one thing very clear: Starro will be a major villain in the film. Yes, Starro. No doubt there were some hardcore Marvel zombies laughing at a giant starfish being the formidable threat of the film, Starro has a long and proud history as one of DC’s most feared supervillains.
Starro first appeared all the way back in 1960 in The Brave and the Bold #28. That issue is significant because it’s also the first appearance of a little known superhero team called the Justice League of America. That’s right, Starro the Conqueror was the first baddie Aquaman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Flash took on together as a team. Starro releases clone spores that attach to people’s faces ala Xenomorph facehuggers. These lovely little starfish are then used to control the victim to serve Starro’s nefarious goals.
How large a role Starro plays in the overall story remains to be seen, but it’s cool to see one of DC’s oldest villains get the cinema spotlight.
Not Your Average Reboot
The Suicide Squad is going to be an unusual film since it is essentially a reboot on the concept. Billed as a standalone sequel to the 2016 film, The Suicide Squad’s trailer makes it clear that there is going to be a big break from the its 2016 predecessor. Though a box office success, the original Suicide Squad film was panned by critics and fans alike for having terrible plot and choppy directing.
The original tried to be funny and edgy, a counter argument against the dire seriousness of 2016’s other DCEU offering Batman vs. Superman. Gunn’s The Suicide Squad looks to actually cash in on that unrealized promise. The trailer shows off its humor, action, and confidence. This film appears to have swagger. Let’s hope the finished product is just as exciting.
The Suicide Squad premiers simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6, 2021.