Suicide Squad is probably the most highly anticipated movie of the summer. But if you aren’t a comic-book fan, chances are you have no idea why.
Maybe you’ve surmised the general plot thanks to the trailers, though they haven’t been entirely forthcoming with information. Here’s what you probably have worked out already: The bad guys are fighting crime — for an unknown reason — but they’re still not the good guys. Oh, and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn seems likely to walk away with the whole movie.
But there’s a lot more to know. If your friends are movie buffs or DC fans or just comic-lovers, you might feel a little left out heading to the theater. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
What is the Suicide Squad?
Most of us are familiar with DC heroes like Batman and Superman. But every hero needs a villain. And that’s where these guys come in.
The Suicide Squad consists of villains from the DC Universe. Their team basically serves as the antithesis of the Justice League (which also looks like a great movie, btw).
Basically, all you really need to know is that these are bad people who have done some horrible things, and they’re living out very long prison terms. In exchange for commuted sentences, they agree to join a hush-hush team of antiheroes. Their mission: carry out black-ops assignments.
These missions are super secret so the government can cut the cord if everything goes to hell.
Who are they and what are their powers?
For as long as the Suicide Squad has existed, there has been a revolving door of villains on the team. But for this movie, the roster consists of just eight members: Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Rick Flagg, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, Katana, Killer Croc, and Slipknot.
Their skills and powers range from incredibly awesome to downright ridiculous.
Deadshot (Will Smith) — as you would guess from his name — is an expert marksman and master assassin. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is a former psychiatrist who’s now crazy in love with The Joker.
Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) is not really a bad guy — he’s a soldier in charge of field operations. He also low-key hates all of the villains but tolerates them because it’s his job. Katana (Karen Fukuhara) is an expert samurai turned vigilante.
Here’s where it starts to get ridiculous: Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) can expertly throw boomerangs of all shapes and sizes.
El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) basically sets shit on fire. Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) has a medical condition that makes him super strong but leaves him looking like a crocodile, which is very unfortunate for his face. And Slipknot (Adam Beach) is good at making knots. Yes, knots.
Harley Quinn is a fan favorite.
Harley Quinn didn’t start as a comic-book character. She started as a cartoon on Batman: The Animated Series. And she was fully clothed, by the way. But she was so popular that she burst into the comics, and now she’s in a movie (and may even get her own).
She was Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, where she attempted to treat The Joker. Obviously, that didn’t work out the way she planned. But hey, you can’t help who you love. (It’s also worth noting that she has a relationship with Poison Ivy at one point in the comics.)
Harley is violent and, well, insane. Her relationship with The Joker is pretty abusive. But she’s always been attached to “Mr. J” — with the exception of her appearance in the Suicide Squad.
In the end, you’re probably going to love Harley as much as fans do.