The Chekhov’s Gun Moments You Missed Early In The Suicide Squad – Looper

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Harley Quinn

Warner Bros./HBO Max

Director James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad" is finally here courtesy of HBO Max and the big screens of cinemas across the globe. So far, it has been heralded as a win for Warner Bros. and DC, currently boasting a 93% Certified Fresh critical score on Rotten Tomatoes and giving fans plenty to discuss on social media. This is all well and good, but what is it about "The Suicide Squad" that makes it such a resounding hit? In truth, several key factors have worked together and contributed to its early success.

One could spend all day raving about show-stealing characters like King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone with motion capture provided by Steve Agee) and the drowsy Ratcatcher II (Daniela Melchior), the fitting soundtrack, and its unapologetic pulpiness, but much of what makes "Suicide Squad" so good is its air-tight writing. It's evident in the final product that James Gunn and his team poured their hearts and souls into this offbeat tale, tirelessly ironing out the narrative details and dialogue while ensuring that every shot had a strong purpose behind it.

For evidence of this, one can spot a handful of Chekhov's Gun moments that kept audiences thinking throughout the film (via Reddit). For those unfamiliar, this dramatic concept states that seemingly minor details in a story's early stages are highly relevant and will play a larger role as things progress. Here are the ones "The Suicide Squad" so expertly employed that you may have missed upon first viewing.

Peacemaker and Bloodsport's bullet argument

Bloodsport and Peacemaker leading Task Force X

Warner Bros./HBO Max

When we see Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) assemble her true Task Force X, she enlists Robert DuBois, better known as Bloodsport (Idris Elba), to lead the team. His teammate, the ultra-violent Christopher Smith, aka Peacemaker (John Cena), disagrees with her choice, causing the two to clash throughout their mission to Corto Maltese. One of their earliest arguments involves their preferred bullet sizes, with Peacemaker vouching for the efficiency of a smaller one while Bloodsport stands firmly with a larger option — a debate that would rear its ugly head down the road.

By the tail end of "The Suicide Squad," Peacemaker has gone completely off the rails. He kills Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) after he threatened to expose the United States government for its involvement in Project Starfish — a program dedicated to studying and potentially weaponizing a giant extraterrestrial starfish known as Starro. Peacemaker highlighted the mass panic such information going public would incite and violently refused to allow Flag to annihilate peace on such a massive scale. He nearly kills Ratcatcher II for the same reason but fails, thanks to Bloodsport's timely intervention.

What ultimately did Peacemaker in? Bloodsport's bullet, one significantly smaller than the one he fired from his own handgun that lodged itself firmly in his throat. That certainly sounds like a clear-cut answer to their previous debate.

Office putt-putt

Amanda Waller talking into a mic

Warner Bros./HBO Max

As is the case with most Suicide Squad-centric stories, Amanda Waller is at the center of the operation, albeit far from the action. For the entirety of "The Suicide Squad," she remains at her government base overseeing the team's mission until they go dark when the Corto Maltese government jams her tech. As a result, she has no other option but to kill time until her cameras and mics come back online, leaving her to practice her putting game in the middle of her office.

Though at first glance, this scene appears to exist solely to humanize the stoic, goal-oriented Waller, it also introduces us to an important item that would see use in the final act of the film. With Starro rampaging and using his offspring to effectively zombify civilians, Waller calls her team to head home since they've destroyed the Project Starfish files as directed, and it's not their duty to be heroes. However, Task Force X elects to ignore her order, and she doesn't take it well at all — angrily threatening to detonate the bombs planted at the base of their necks.

Thankfully, heads didn't roll this time around, seeing as one of Waller's own co-workers cracked her on the head with her golf club. This rendered her unconscious and allowed the team to defeat Starro and save countless lives with the help of Waller's personnel. Why? Because it was the right thing to do.

The rat pack

Ratcatcher II and Bloodsport in rubble

Warner Bros./HBO Max

Ratcatcher II gets a lot of play in "The Suicide Squad," chronicling her life's story and her close relationship with her late father, the original Ratcatcher (Taika Waititi). On several occasions, her ability to communicate with rats saved her and her teammates, even though Bloodsport reveals he has a phobia of those rodents. He explains that his abusive father would lock him in a crate with hungry rats as a form of discipline when he was a child, thus beginning a lifelong fear that he never worked to get over.

For the most part, this bit of information is played for laughs, especially as Sebastian (Jaws and Crisp Ratt) attempts to bond with Bloodsport now and again. Come to find out, it helped set the stage for some real character development in the midst of Starro's destruction. In a last-ditch effort to take down the mind-controlling sea star, Ratcatcher II floods the streets with an army of rats who topple Starro and his unwilling underlings. The plan pays off, with the rat horde chewing away at every inch of Starro and eventually killing him in a gruesome fashion.

As all of this was going down, poor Bloodsport found himself being run over by thousands upon thousands of rats as they beelined for Starro. He didn't hide his discomfort but seemed a bit more open to Sebastian making a bed of his lap in the final shot of the movie, at least.

Harley Quinn's javelin

Harley Quinn holding a javelin

Warner Bros./HBO Max

Since making her debut on "Batman: The Animated Series" back in the early 1990s, Harley Quinn has become synonymous with a handful of weapons. Baseball bats, comically large hammers, and handguns are among her most prolific, but when the opportunity has arisen, she hasn't shied away from trying out others. For instance, in "The Suicide Squad," Harley (Margot Robbie) is given Javelin's (Flula Borg) weapon of choice: a javelin. The only problem is that he takes his last breath before explaining why he has given it to her.

Harley spends nearly all of "The Suicide Squad" guarding the item with her life despite having no idea what to do with this odd melee weapon. According to her, it has fallen into her possession for a reason, and it's up to her to find out why. She wouldn't have to wait long, though, as once Starro broke free of his underground prison cell, it became abundantly clear why fate determined it should be hers. Harley thrust herself and the javelin into Starro's lone eyeball with a running start and a mighty leap, sending the creature crashing down to be devoured by Ratcatcher II's innumerable fuzzy friends.

All in all, James Gunn had a specific vision in mind for what he wanted "The Suicide Squad" to be. It's chaotic, bloody fun at its finest, and urges viewers to never take a scene at face value.

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