The DC Extended Universe is taking a major step forward with the release of "Suicide Squad."

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" established some of the biggest heroes in the DCU, but now it's time for the villains to get their due. This violent romp will introduce moviegoers to characters like Deadshot and Harley Quinn and, hopefully, deliver a wild romp along the way.

If you've never heard of the Suicide Squad before, don't worry. Here's a breakdown of the six essential things you need to know before watching DC's latest superhero epic.

1. It's Basically 'The Dirty Dozen' but With Supervillains
If you've seen the classic war film "The Dirty Dozen," you basically know what to expect here.

Ruthless government operative Amanda Waller (Viola Davis, pictured) is in charge of a clandestine team known as "Task Force X." This team (which is made up of convicted metahuman criminals) is charged with carrying out highly dangerous and politically sensitive missions that the U.S. government can't officially involve itself in. Because these missions carry a high probability of death, Task Force X is affectionately dubbed "The Suicide Squad."

2. The Squad Has a Very Deep Bench
"Suicide Squad" will introduce moviegoers to a great roster of characters who have never gotten their due on the big screen before. Among Waller's recruits include: Marksman/assassin Deadshot (Will Smith), Joker's ex-girlfriend/all-around psycho Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), drunken sleazeball Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), who's pretty self-explanatory.

The two common threads linking all these characters is that they're extremely dysfunctional and very dangerous. And word 'round the campfire is that not all of them will survive this movie.

3. There Are Good Guys, Too
While this movie is very much about celebrating DC's colorful cast of supervillain characters, there will be a handful of (anti) heroes. Contrasting the aggressively amoral Waller will be the Squad's field leader, Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). This career military man agrees to lead the team, but he doesn't seem especially fond of Waller's methods. He'll be joined by Katana (Karen Fukuhara), the only Suicide Squad operative who's there by choice rather than being forced into service.

4. Batman and The Flash Have Cameos
Even The Dark Knight is getting in on the fun. Ben Affleck will reprise his role as the Caped Crusader, possibly in a flashback sequence depicting how Bats apprehended Joker and Harley. (It's been in the trailers since minute one, so no spoilers here.)

However, this film will showcase Batman from the point of view of the criminals he hunts, meaning he'll be seen as a terrifying force of nature rather than a protagonist. Hopefully he got his fill of casual manslaughter in the last movie.

And Ezra Miller's The Flash shows up, too -- presumably very early in the film according to reports. You can't have a DC movie without a few members of the Justice League.

5. It's a Follow-Up to 'Batman v Superman'
"Suicide Squad" will seemingly build on the events of "Man of Steel" and "BvS." As we've seen from the trailers, Waller assembles her team in response to a growing fear about the unchecked power of heroes like Superman. And given that every time Superman has a bad day, entire sections of Metropolis are leveled, maybe it's not such a bad thing to have a contingency plan.

The film will also take advantage of the fact that Batman has been active for many years. Because the Dark Knight has already clashed with villains like Harley and Croc in his long career, these characters will be firmly established and ready for action as the film begins. Though it appears that "Suicide Squad" will focus quite a bit on Harley's tragic back-story and her connection to a certain Clown Prince of Crime.

6. Expect to See a Very Big Bad
Even with the Suicide Squad being made up of supervillains, they'll have villains of their own to battle in this film. One of those will be Joker (Jared Leto), who will get free from Arkham Asylum and possibly embark on another wild crime spree. Expect Harley's quest to free herself from Joker's twisted influence to be a major part of her story.

However, it doesn't appear that Joker will be the main villain of the film. That role may instead fall to Enchantress (Cara Delevigne), an ancient sorceress inhabiting the body of an archaeologist named June Moone. It's not clear whether Enchantress is initially a member of the Squad, but -- based on the trailers -- we're guessing that she's the source of the supernatural threat the team will confront.

"Suicide Squad" hits theaters this Friday.

Suicide Squad Movie Poster
Suicide Squad
PG-132016
Based on 53 critics

Figuring they're all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous,... Read More

January 17, 2017
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categories Movies