The first trailer for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad brings the director’s ear for nostalgic pop rock to the DCEU to tell the story of Task Force X.
The first trailer for The Suicide Squad has now been revealed and as with all of James Gunn’s comic book movies, music is playing a key part in the marketing. His first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy memorably used Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” to set out that movie’s strong relationship with music and his Suicide Squad sequel marketing campaign has kicked off with a similarly nostalgic vibe.
Whether The Suicide Squad will have quite as close a bond between the story and music remains to be seen. Star-Lord’s Awesome Mixtapes offered the perfect gimmick for Gunn to add another story-telling layer, but Task Force X’s deadly mission doesn’t immediately seem to lend itself to the same. At least not in-universe. But if the first trailer is anything to go by, Gunn will turn to his encyclopedic music knowledge to draw in thematic bridges between the action and existing songs, at the very least in service of the Rule of Cool.
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Related: Suicide Squad 2: Starro’s Powers & Origin Explained
The first footage of The Suicide Squad came way back with the excellent DC FanDome event in 2020, but that was all raw footage, so the first real trailer has been a long time coming. Unsurprisingly, it has immediately proved worth the wait as Gunn’s eye for the outrageous and his horror movie past have crashed together in an unholy marriage that promises to push the DCEU firmly into R-rated territory. And while something pitting a huge cast of expendable supervillains against intergalactic kaiju starfish, Starro might be expected to come with a tubthumping heavy-metal anthem or possibly some dubstep, Gunn has chosen Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work” to offer a completely different vibe.
The choice is genius, and the decision to not cover the original is to be further applauded for the comedic conflict of the early ’70s pop rock and the action in the trailer. In its choice, Gunn proves once more that his ear for a song that tells his story in a funny, disarming way, with the narrative of the lyrics – a man lamenting being the third wheel in a relationship despite entering the affair knowingly – swapped out to make Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller the cheating wife and Task Force X her dirty secret. The added comedy of it comes from lead singer David Palmer singing “I’m a fool to do your dirty work” as the Suicide Squad are sent on a mission they have precisely no authority to turn down.
If this is an indication of what sort of tone Gunn is aiming for in the sequel, it’s confirmation that The Suicide Squad is a radical departure from its predecessor. And while David Ayer’s much-maligned but popular Suicide Squad also boasted an incredible first trailer with great music, cynics will say that was very much the high-point. With Gunn presumably given more creative freedom, as some of the more outrageous parts of the trailer already suggest, there hopefully won’t be any concern of history repeating itself.
Next: Suicide Squad 2: Why Task Force X Fights Starro (& Not Justice League)
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The Suicide Squad New Poster Debuts Ahead of Trailer Release
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