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Why I'm worried 'Suicide Squad' might be dead on arrival

Commentary: The latest trailers starring Harley Quinn, Deadshot and the rest of Task Force X are excellent. But are they making promises that "Suicide Squad" won't keep?

Warner Bros.

While the Twittersphere might be ablaze after its first look at "Doctor Strange" on Tuesday, I'm still stuck on the "Suicide Squad" trailer from earlier this week. Try as I might, I can't shake this nagging feeling that it's advertising a movie we're just not gonna get.

I confess, in the past I've been guilty of criticising movies before they come out. Especially if they involve comic book characters. I've tried to turn over a new leaf, but just can't when it comes to Suicide Squad.

By all accounts, the latest "Blitz" trailer is phenomenal. It's filled with frantic energy. It tantalises in all the right places. It's set to a song from "Wayne's World". But it pulls the same trick as the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer, quickly cutting between a very sparse handful of one-liners, action shots and out-of-context reactions to make those action shots seem funny.

Granted, the old-school anthem soundtrack steps on the toes of "Guardians of the Galaxy", but if "Suicide Squad" ends up being half as fun and fresh, I'm on board. Problem is, it feels like both trailers are working overtime to make "Suicide Squad" look like the same brand of action-comedy, but using footage from a movie that isn't.

It seems like Warner Bros. is making another dour, desaturated spin on four-colour characters that's become the studio's status quo since Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. No slight on Nolan, but his treatment doesn't work on everything with a cape, no matter what Warner might think.

The writer-director, David Ayer, has made some quality films, but the closest he's come to action-comedy before is "The Fast and the Furious" (the first one, before everyone was in on the joke). Zack Snyder is attached as executive producer, which, after the humourless (and frankly misguided) "Batman v Superman", has me expecting a suckerpunch.

Think back to the first time we saw Task Force X on screen. No, not the trailer set to Queen. The one from last year's Comic-con, with a slow melancholic cover of "I Started a Joke" (slow, melancholic covers of songs -- the other go-to for comic book movie trailers). There's nary a gag or one-liner in sight. Much more in keeping with the no-fun-allowed Snyderverse.

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Warner Bros.

Since then, the superhero comedy "Deadpool" broke all sorts of records for R-rated movies and "Batman v Superman" suffered the fourth largest second weekend box office drop in history. It's being roasted for its grim tone, and will likely struggle to pass the billion-dollar mark. That sounds impressive, but keep in mind that figure ensconces it behind the questionable "Iron Man 3", which grossed over $1.2 billion.

And then there are the reshoots. There have been conflicting reports on the reasons for the $10 million reshoots (not an uncommon thing) for "Suicide Squad", but they're definitely happening. When first reported by Birth Movies Death, it was to make the movie funnier, because, as their source said, "every joke in the movie is in that [Rhapsody] trailer."

Both David Ayer and Captain Boomerang himself, Jai Courtney, have gone on the record to deny that claim, saying the reshoots are to add an extra action sequence that wasn't previously in the budget. Courtney added that there's "plenty" of humour, and "you can't believe everything you read."

I'm not saying "Suicide Squad" isn't going to be everything those two trailers promised. I want Captain Boomerang cracking a tinnie (that's a beer can, for all you non-Aussies) during a fight. I want to be surprised by it. I really do.

And yet, there's that shred of doubt. I can't help but think that Task Force X won't be up to the mission.