I have never been in a Cinema screen that was so tense and had the audience as on edge, as much as when I was watching David Ayers End of Watch. Also, I have never been to Los Angeles, but watching that film, you can’t help but feel as if you know every back road and each dangerous street corner. There is one particular scene that stays with you after watching it. The two LAPD Officers that the film follows are called to the aid of two fellow Police Officers, where they find one of them walking and talking but just the handle of a knife left showing and being stabbed in the eye. The other Officer, a nervous young woman, is being beaten within an inch of her life by a mountain of a man. This is an extreme situation, that the majority of us will never experience anything close to, however the brilliant film making that David Ayer brings to the screen makes us feel every second of it, every punch and each drop of blood as if we are right there amongst it all.
Ayers already impressive CV certainly follows a trend with writing and directing credits for Harsh Times, Street Kings, End of watch, Sabotage and Fury. Each of these films brings certain realness to the screen. They are always a dark and sometimes disturbing look in to their genre.
Ayer has shown an amazing ability in his writing to portray a series of characters that, simply put, are crazy. He was the man who penned Denzel Washington’s character of Alonzo Harris in the brilliant Training Day. A role that earned Washington an Oscar. Add him to Christian Bale’s Jim Davis in Harsh Times and we begin to see why Ayer was chosen to both write and Direct Suicide Squad. He has an undeniable ability to get the unhinged on to the big screen. Who could be any better for a group of Super Villains?
Before it was announced that the “SKWAD” was going to be part of the DC cinematic universe (DCCU) the comic series was far from the most popular. A lot of people had heard the name but knew little of what it’s all about. Simply put the Suicide Squad are a team of Super Villains who take on dangerous missions for the US government in exchange for shortened prison sentences. The characters involved in Suicide Squad are regularly changing, so Ayer and DC had plenty of options when it came to writing.
Like any film that focuses on a group of individuals, there will be lead roles within the group and the rest making up the supporting cast. The actors playing these roles were announced alongside their characters. One of Hollywood’s most popular actors, Will Smith is playing Deadshot, the world’s best marksman and hired Assassin. The news of Smith taking on this role was generally met with some uncertainty, that was mainly until the first pictures were released online and most responses were positive towards this take on Deadshot, although very different to his usual appearance.
One of the most anticipated characters was that of Harley Quinn, the psychotic Girlfriend of The Joker. The former Arkham Asylum Psychiatrist, known as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, treated The Joker in the Asylum where she falls in love with him and becomes Harley Quinn after helping him to escape. This very popular character has never been portrayed on the big screen before and it was met with a great response when it was announced that Margot Robbie had been given the role. The Wolf of Wall Street star is one of Hollywood’s most promising young talents and seems to be an ideal choice for the Suicide Squad. One of Quinn’s most well known traits is her strong New York accent, very similar to that which Robbie had in The Wolf of Wall Street. Harley often appears dressed in a Jesters costume but this seemed unlikely for this take on her. The first Squad pictures released showed a much more up to date version of the character, similar to the one in the Arkham game series. The heavy makeup and enthusiastic grin seemed to come over very well among fans.
The Squad photo was missing one person though, arguably the greatest Super Villain ever, The Clown Prince of Crime himself, The Joker. Many names had been put in to the hat for this role and supposedly the first choice was Ryan Gosling but he decided to decline. It was eventually announced that the role had gone to Jared Leto. The 30 Seconds to Mars front man had been awarded an Oscar for his supporting role in Dallas Buyers Club, where he portrayed a transgender woman, dying of Aids. This brilliant performance made him, overnight, Hollywood’s hottest prospect. The first look we got at Leto’s Joker was on April 24th this year, which was the 75th anniversary of the characters debut appearance. David Ayer tweeted a picture of Leto in full Joker mode. Shirtless with his typical green hair, one purple glove and covered in tattoos.
Comparisons were of course made to previous portrayals. Heath Ledger’s take on the character was simply brilliant, deservedly earning him his posthumous Academy award. However it was in no way traditional to what had come before it. The long hair and makeup was a new take on it all together and worked very well. Leto’s Joker, at first look, seems to be sticking with tradition slightly more.
These three seem to be the lead roles for the film. The rest of the Squad is made up of Cara Delevingne, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jay Hernandez, Adam Beach, Karen Fukuhara and Viola Davies playing Amanda Waller, the woman in charge.
At his years San Diego Comic Con, David Ayer and his cast gave a first look to a lucky few, with a full trailer for the film. Just minutes after that it appeared online by someone who had filmed it on their phone, it was shaky and unclear. Not wanting the trailer to be seen this way, a few days later Ayer and Warner Brothers released it officially online and it was met with a great reception. There is a lot squeezed in to the three minutes. We get a look at all members of the Squad in action and Amanda Waller talking about why she has put them together. The whole trailer has a very dark look to it which is obviously suited to the film. The surprise inclusion is that of Ben Affleck’s Batman. We seem him holding on to the roof of The Joker’s car with him and Harley inside. Set photos of this had already leaked online and that could be why it was included in the trailer. This also shows that Ben Affleck is a big part of Warner’s plans for the DCCU.
Ultimately the trailer builds to the appearance of Leto’s Joker. We see him approaching someone and saying “I’m not gonna kill you, I’m gonna hurt you, really really bad”. As a guess, this could be him torturing Harleen Quinzel. This is the only time in the three minutes that we hear his voice, but it shows that this is the Joker that enjoys causing pain just for the fun of it. Going back to the Comics, this side comes out when he kills Jason Todd (Robin) with a Crowbar and when he shoots and paralysis Commissioner Gordon’s daughter Barbara. This is typical Joker and fits well with the characters history.
For a long time now there has been a lot of hype surrounding this project and from what we have been shown so far, for me, it’s certainly living up to that. With a little less than a year still to go until the August 5th release date, there is plenty of time for David Ayer and WB to reveal more information and surprises about the “SKWAD”.
By Paul Tickle of Lionheart Reviews