Last year’s Suicide Squad continued the DCEU’s efforts to create a film that pleases critics and audiences alike, with many divided over the supervillain team-up. The film was far from well-received, although Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn became immediately popular, and will be getting her own spinoff movie: Gotham City Sirens.
While the film certainly had its issues, one area where it did incredibly well was in the visuals. Harley Quinn’s costume has been widely cosplayed and copied, and the makeup even won an an Academy Award. The effects themselves were another high point for the film, with huge superhero battles and super-powers displayed in all their glory — and now a breakdown video has been released, showing how it was all done.
The video, posted by FilmIsNow, is titled ‘Suicide Squad — VFX Breakdown by Imageworks (2016). It features several scenes from the film, which are shown in their entirety, before being paused and revealing the various layers that go into building up the scene as a whole. First, there is Incubus (Robin Atkin Downes) crashing his way through the subway, before seeing Enchantress ( Cara Delevingne) unleashing her true powers. Finally, Diablo (Jay Hernandez) does battle shooting fire from his hands.
These three characters were presumably chosen to be featured because their scenes involved the most VFX work. Diablo’s power is fire, and his fight scene shooting flames from his hands against another flaming foe certainly involve a vast amount of special effects to bring to life. Similarly, both Incubus and brother Enchantress’s powers involve huge, spiralling arms, towers of smoke, glowing eyes, and all kinds of other VFX work. Compared to someone like Harley Quinn, whose ‘power’ is her insanity and lust for crime, these characters simply make the most interesting subjects for this kind of breakdown.
It’s fascinating to see the kind of work that goes into a single frame of this type, and is a reminder of how much acclaim the VFX teams deserve on genre blockbusters like Suicide Squad. Three minutes is only enough to show a breakdown of three scenes, so this hammers home just how long it takes to build up the beautiful worlds and stunning battles that we expect from superhero movies. Of course, this only gives a very limited breakdown, without narration or explanation, but it’s still a great look behind the scenes of Suicide Squad in a small way.