There seems to be a lot of excitement on the internet at the moment about “The Suicide Squad,” which surprises us. We know that the original movie had its fans, but those fans appear to be in the minority online. Most critics and viewers who went to see it agreed that it was bloated and directionless, and those were some of the nicer things that people had to say about it – some of the reviews fall under the category of ‘savage.’ Four years is a long time in cinema though – especially when one of those years is 2020 – and maybe that’s all it’s taken to shake off the bad memories and prepare ourselves to give the fledgling franchise another shot.
Even though the reviews of the first film were less than kind, a sequel was always inevitable because the original made so much money at the box office. From a budget of around $175m, the film grossed just short of $750m. That’s enough cash to persuade producers that it’s worth making a second attempt at telling an enjoyable story, and so here we are. There’s a second “Suicide Squad” film coming (confusingly called “The Suicide Squad” as opposed to the far-more-sensible “Suicide Squad 2”, and as of this week, we know who’s going to be in it. Some of the casting decisions we already knew about, but others have come as a complete surprise.
The biggest difference between the original and the sequel is that Jared Leto won’t be in it, and will almost certainly never pay the Joker again. The actor was angry when several of what he considered to be his character’s key scenes were cut from the first film, and even more furious when Joaquin Phoenix was picked ahead of him to star in a standalone ‘Joker’ movie in 2019. There’s no Joker in the pack this time around, but rather than focusing on who isn’t there, let’s look at who is. Specifically, we’ll be looking at the most eyebrow-raising inclusions.
Speaking of eyebrows, let’s start with a man who has one of the most recognizable sets of eyebrows in the world. It’s Peter Capaldi, who’s probably best known to audiences as the twelfth incarnation of the BBC science-fiction hero “Doctor Who.” The veteran actor finished playing that part in 2017 but has remained as busy as ever, but his casting as Clifford DeVoe (a version of The Thinker) in this film is probably his biggest Hollywood credit to date. Capaldi’s talent as a performer isn’t in question (and never has been), but when a man who’s over sixty years old gets his first-ever major movie credit in such a big-budget production, it has to go down as a surprise. The Doctor might have been the ultimate hero, but Capaldi’s credentials when playing a villain won’t be in doubt to anybody who’s seen him play Malcolm Tucker in “The Thick of It.”
John Cena is, very famously, a professional wrestler. He may only appear in a WWE ring once or twice a year these days, but he’s still so strongly connected to that world that he’s still used as the face of several of the company’s promotions. He’s in the forthcoming “WWE Battleground” game that’s out later this year. He’s one of four or five wrestling stars who will star in a new range of WWE-themed slots that will reach online slots websites later on this year. That’s an odd choice by WWE because he’ll probably make a lot more money as an attraction in that online slots than he will for them in the ring in the next two years. As a former wrestler-turned-actor, he often draws comparisons to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and those comparisons are generally unfavorable. We’re not even sure he has the acting skills of Dave Bautista, another muscle-bound former WWE star. On the other hand, neither Batista nor the Rock has online slots coming out, so chalk that one up as a win for Cena. Presumably, the character of Peacemaker won’t be too much of a stretch for him.
Originally, Idris Elba was going to be cast as a straight replacement for Will Smith in the role of Deadshot, after Smith decided not to take part in this sequel. Early on in the production process, though, a decision was made to drop that idea and have Elba play Bloodsport instead; a character who wasn’t in the first movie. Allegedly, the character is going to come with more weapons than any other character in the movie, and has even shot Superman. Elba is better known for playing tough, gritty cops and forever being linked with the part of James Bond, but he’s recently been trying to change his image in order to secure a wider variety of roles. “Cats” was a mistake in that respect. He’ll be hoping that “The Suicide Squad” offers him better prospects.
We feel a little sorry for Pete Davidson in a way. Somewhere in an alternative universe, he’s best known for being an up-and-coming young comedian. Here in our world, he’ll forever be known as that guy who dated Ariana Grande for a while. He seemed to disappear off the map for a while after his flickering relationship with the global superstar came to an abrupt end, and so the fact he’s landed what will probably be a small role in “The Suicide Squad” has to count as a positive for him. He’ll be playing the part of Richard Hertz, also known as Blackguard, a member of an organized crime group known as “The 1000.” We imagine he’ll be used as comic relief.
Aside from these surprise choices, the rest of the cast is as we expected it to be, although there will be more pressure loaded on Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn without the presence of Jared Leto as the Joker. Will the film be any good? It’s too early to say. Will everybody go and see it anyway even if all the early reviews say that it’s terrible? Based on past experience, we’d have to say yes. With a cast like this, it could either be a glorious triumph, or an enormous catastrophe. It’ll probably be worth the price of admission just to find out.