Turns out the biggest threat superheroes face isn't a giant alien or a megalomaniacal supervillain - it's inclement weather.
It's November 2019, and the Herald is at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on the expansive set of the superhero epic The Suicide Squad. And it's raining. So shooting planned for a huge outdoor military base set is cancelled and everyone is moving to an indoor jungle set. But it's a good thing, as the schedule change frees up stars Margot Robbie and John Cena to chat.
"The biggest sets I've ever seen," declares Robbie up front. "I mean, they're really really insane."
Insane is the right word for this gonzo follow-up to 2016's widely seen, largely disliked Suicide Squad. Not a straight sequel, and not a reboot either, it's a slightly-more-adult adaptation of the DC comic book featuring lots of new superheroes, including one played by Taika Waititi (more on that later).
Among the few returning characters is Robbie, in her third outing as the gleefully chaotic Harley Quinn. She says the Squad's traditionally revolving line-up suits the kind of re-invention being attempted here.
"It made sense, because the comics are in that format," says the Aussie star. "It's not strange to have that reset."
Having been somewhat defined by her association with the Joker in previous films, Harley is more independent now.
"She has her confidence back, but it's in herself, it's not built on a toxic relationship. In this film, she is very much single, [and] absolutely okay with it. She has so many facets to her personality that it's an endless supply of things to explore."
Writing and directing is James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2), who took the job after resurfaced bad tweets led to DC rivals Marvel (temporarily) firing him from the third Guardians movie. Robbie says Gunn's first DC movie reflects his sensibility, even if this one ain't for kids.
"When you watch a James Gunn film, you know you're watching a James Gunn film, and I think that's the case here. It's very funny. Very action-packed. With a lot of heart too. James is really good at putting the heart in there."
Co-star John Cena, who plays the violence-inclined "hero" Peacemaker, agrees.
"When you do a fantasy comic book based movie with James Gunn, that guy, if he does fail, he's gonna go down swinging," says the WWE wrestler-turned-actor. "I wanna go to war with that guy."
Cena appears to be getting his wish.
"The engine at the centre of [The Suicide Squad] is a caper war film like you would see in the '60s with Kelly's Heroes or The Dirty Dozen," Gunn tells the Herald between takes on the forest set.
Gunn says the gory, profane R-rated film goes further than the Marvel hits he's best known for. "It's an edgier film than I've made [before]."
Waititi appears briefly in flashbacks as Ratcatcher, the father of Daniela Melchior's Ratcatcher 2, a key character. Gunn says Waititi was "perfect for the role. I just texted him and said 'You wanna be in my movie?' We're buddies."
Gunn reveals he first asked Waititi to play a different, larger role, but the Oscar-winning filmmaker declined because he was getting ready to shoot the then-planned live-action Akira film.
"I hired somebody else for that role," explains Gunn. "Then he wrote me about a week later saying 'Is that role still available because Akira's not happening any more' and I was like, 'No it's not... but I've got this [other] role'."
Waititi took it on, and his presence plays a small, but critical, part in making The Suicide Squad a superhero movie unlike any other.
The Suicide Squad is in theatres from August 5th