Aaaah! The more I see of the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, the more excited I get. I’m even more pleased with this trailer than the first. It shows a little bit more of the humorous aspects of the movie while still keeping the “gritty edge” that DC Comics seems unwilling to let go of for any of their movies.
I’m glad we are seeing more of the female characters in this trailer as well. While the first trailer heavily featured Amanda Waller and Harley Quinn (my favorite comic book character), I was happy to see at least a little more of Katana and Enchantress in this trailer. I approve of their variety of costumes too. While Harley Quinn was typically more covered up until the most recent comics, I like that she and Enchantress are the only two women in revealing costumes and arguably only Harley is more sexualized. I think it’s a good thing to show how a variety of women like to dress. Harley likes to show off for the Joker, so her being a bit more appealing to men makes sense, but by the way she’s totally owning her style, you can tell she’s dressing for herself as well. Maybe her costume also represents her both still clinging to her past and moving toward her future. We’ll have to see. In the meantime, it’s great to see female superheroes dressed in a variety of ways, and not just ways that show the most skin.
While Harley’s outfit is kind of riot girl inspired, it’s definitely still a look meant to entice male viewers, but Enchantress’s costume has been made to make her look creepy—being mostly naked seems more like an afterthought. I honestly don’t know enough about Enchantress to know if that is in character for her or not, however. I know she was drawn in such a way that was much more hypersexualized in the comics. So while she is still showing skin, it’s nice to see that toned down. Meanwhile, Amanda Waller and Katana are completely covered and not wearing anything that shows a lot of skin. This both succeeds in portraying women who both enjoy and don’t enjoy showing off their bodies, and also breaks the mold when it comes to women of color who tend to be more sexualized than white women.
I am really hoping that all of our female characters will get their moments to shine in this movie, especially Amanda Waller and Katana. Women of color have been very rarely featured in any superhero movie thus far, so it will be nice to finally get some badass female superheroes of color. I especially hope that the movie does Katana justice because her name, choice of weapon, and even costume could easily come off as an Asian stereotype, despite how accurate it is to the comics. Plus, we already have to deal with Katana being named after one of the most easily-recognizable-to-white-people East Asian weapons, but that’s not the movie’s fault, so I guess it’s just something we have to deal with. Let’s hope this movie gives her the complexity and depth of character that she deserves.
Speaking of people of color in superhero movies, the one thing I am most excited for (other than maybe Harley) is the diverse casting. I am beyond thrilled to see a superhero team that isn’t completely white. It is obvious that the casting directors really tried for a diverse cast. Neither Deadshot nor Slipknot were people of color in the comics, but with Will Smith being cast as Deadshot, we have a Black male character as the leader of a superhero group, and with Adam Beach cast as Slipknot we have a First Nations actor playing a superhero in a major comic book movie. That’s pretty huge! Waylon Jones aka Killer Croc is also usually portrayed as white in the comics, but he has been occasionally portrayed as a Black man as well. Still, the choice to cast Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje instead of going with a white actor is notable. I do worry about Killer Croc’s portrayal, though. There has been an issue in past comic book movies with only casting people of color in roles where their skin tone will be completely eliminated. Killer Croc is supposed to look like a scaly human crocodile, but I hope some effort is made to show him with his natural skin tone as well.
There are also some issues with having a Black man playing the very animalistic cannibal Killer Croc. Like Katana in some ways, Killer Croc could potentially come off looking very racist because of this. However, Batman villains like Killer Croc tend to be very well fleshed out and it is possible, I think, for his story to be shown in a non-racist way. Killer Croc’s story, like all comic characters, changes with the comics, but usually Croc is born looking scaley and crocodile like. He doesn’t always start as a villain, but is treated like an animal by society because of how he looks. This storyline could be potentially be used to discuss racism through the character, portraying Croc more as a tragic character and less the “untamed animal” who eats people. Perhaps, though, if the movie can’t portray Croc well as a Black man, then either this character shouldn’t be shown as a character of color, or perhaps like some other comic book characters, this one should be retired and not used anymore. We’ll have to see.
We also have Jay Hernandez playing El Diablo as our only Latino main character in the movie. So overall, we have five characters of color in the main team to only four white characters, which is pretty amazing when it comes to diversity in a comic book movie. However, if we break it down we have one Native actor, one Latino actor, two Black actors, one Asian actor, and four white actors. Even if we add those not on the main team, only Amanda Waller ups the diversity by giving us one more Black character, but then we’d also have to add Batman and Joker, giving as two more white characters. Don’t get me wrong: this movie is doing far better when it comes to diversity than any other comic book movie has so far. Even the X-Men movies, which are supposed to have a diverse cast, fall short of this one. But I want comic book movies to get better and better, so I will say that when casting, we have to remember that diversity isn’t like this:
It’s more like this:
Again, I think the movie did an amazing job casting, but there is always room for improvement and really any one of the other white comic book characters in this movie could have a different ethnicity with very little change, if any, to their characters’ backstory. Of course, the major proof when it comes to representation will come down more to the portrayal and screen time of the characters. It’s nice to have so much representation, but if the characters of color all pretty much take a back seat to our white characters, then it won’t do much good. It’s a large cast to deal with, so naturally some characters will get less screen time than others, but hopefully each character will get some moments to shine.
The only thing I am truly not looking forward to about this movie is Jared Leto. Not Jared Leto as the Joker; I think he’ll play a decent Joker, but even though I really want to see this movie, I don’t want to support Jared Leto in anything. I already disliked the man for his transphobia, but after playing the Joker he also apparently grossly harassed his co-actors under the guise of creepy method acting. Then, there are the frankly ableist comments about his role of the Joker which almost seem like he is trying to use the hype over the rumor that Heath Ledger’s death was caused by his playing the Joker. Which is just hugely disrespectful. Jared Leto is not a bad actor and I’m almost mad that he’ll probably play the Joker well, because I just fucking hate Jared Leto. Of course, I hate the Joker for how he treats Harley, so my hate will have the same target no matter what. I just don’t want Leto to get work anymore.
Despite Jared Leto, though, I am excited for this movie and all the potential it has. Let’s hope DC doesn’t blow it up and that the movie is as good as the trailer makes it look.