"Suicide Squad," the latest production from Hollywood's comic book movie factory, is not getting much love from critics. But we were able to catch an advance screening and can dutifully report that the movie indulges an old sci-fi movie tradition. Our heroes -- actually, they're villains in this case -- deploy weaponry and superpowers based on real science, but projected forward to have capabilities beyond our current technology.
In this abbreviated edition of our Science vs. Fiction series, we look at five elements from the film and the associations with real-world science and tech. Warning: some mild spoilers ahead.
Every superhero team has its weak link (sorry, Hawkeye, but it's true), and apparently the same goes for supervillians. The Suicide Squad's conspicuous liability is a criminal called Slipknot, whose superpower is, um, ropes. The grappling hook system he uses in the film is rather underwhelming, relatively speaking, but it does have some real-world inspiration. For example, the Tactical Air Initiated Launch (TAIL) system is a pneumatically powered gun that shoots a titanium grappling hook with a Kevlar line.