One of the hallmarks of a good movie is a story filled with surprises that completely catch you off guard—moments that seem perfectly logical in retrospect, but in the moment, you couldn’t see them coming. Suicide Squad is filled with just these kinds of surprises, and whether you’re a DC nerd to the bone or a newbie when it comes to comics lore, these are the moments none of us imagined we’d see on screen.
Who could guess that within the first 10 minutes of Suicide Squad, we’d be treated with a glimpse (albeit brief) of legendary DC comics hero the Flash? In the beginning of the film, as the details of how each core member of the Squad was initially captured and sent to Belle Reve Penitentiary, we see Capt. Boomerang attempting a diamond heist. His plans for living the high life come to a predictable end when the Scarlet Speedster himself stops him dead in his tracks.
Comics artist Alex Ross is one of the all-time greats. He brings a Norman Rockwell-esque hint of stylized realism to his paintings; there’s a comic dreaminess to them, like you’re always seeing his work as a distant memory from a cherished bygone era. Maybe his most iconic work is an elegant picture of two sociopathic killers: the Joker, tuxedo adorned and mouth grinning, in an elegant embrace with Harley Quinn as if they were in the middle of a tango. This image appears in Suicide Squad for only a few seconds, but that’s more than enough to make hardcore Joker fans squeal with glee.
Before Suicide Squad’s release, comics fans wanted to know how the character known as Slipknot would be involved. The answer was massively disappointing. In one of the more memorable (but not for good reasons) moments from the film, Slipknot is introduced as a member of the team…and then unceremoniously killed off mere minutes later. The moment is so poorly executed and silly that it almost feels more like the character’s being put out of his misery rather than being punished.
Comics vet John Ostrander may not have created the Suicide Squad, but he’s largely responsible for DC’s current print version of the super-villain team—and the one that ended up becoming a multimillion-dollar summer blockbuster. Ostrander’s pioneering work on the franchise landed him a quick little reference in the movie: his name adorns the downtown skyscraper where the Squad spend about a third of the movie.
It sounds so simple, so basic, but the reveal of the film’s villain was truly a moment audiences did not see coming. All the trailers and advertising for the movie show a misfit group of bad guys forced to work together against a greater evil, but that evil was never really introduced. The identity of the bad guy (or rather, bad girl…and her mean older brother) was withheld from audiences until the movie hit theaters. And even then, the main villain of the story isn’t made clear until about 45 minutes into the movie, when you realize our (anti-)heroes have been brought together to fight Enchantress.