I really want the DCEU to be great and even though Suicide Squad will never have the benefit of being produced by an enlightened, post-Batman v Superman studio, it has enough going for it to give it the benefit of the doubt.
Dire, hollow, clumsy, tedious, muddled, emotionless and boring. No, that’s not a summary of my previous relationship. It is, however, the echoing chants of critics and fans all over the globe whenever Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is mentioned. I am not making this stuff up, those are actual extracts from both audience and critic reviews. It is unfortunate that I would have to agree with everything they said. Unfortunate because 1) I really wanted to like this movie and 2) I REALLY want the DC universe to be great.
Not since Iron Man 3 has a movie had its fan base this divided. The response has been largely negative and fan reactions have been mixed, causing the film to perform less well than expected (because what can you possibly buy with $871 million), which effectively led to the higher ups at Warner Bros. doing their interpretation of the John Travolta Pulp Fiction meme and calling for big changes behind the scenes over at the DCEU creative department. This refers to, among other things, the inclusion of the brilliant Geoff Johns and Ben Affleck as producers and less creative control for Zack Snyder.
Here is the catch: Before these gears of revelations and adjustments began turning, Warner/DC had already begun producing another title by the name of Suicide Squad, which is meant to be the third film in their flagship DC Extended Universe. You may have heard about it. Do you know why you may have heard about it? Because it is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. This film has been building hype since last year’s Comic-Con and with a string of great trailers and promotional material behind it, expectations are sky high. So this begs the question: Will it suffer the same fate as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? After all, it was made by Warner Bros. pre-BvS wake-up call.
The short answer is no. Suicide Squad will likely be awesome. Here’s why:
It Has a Different Director
Although a great visual director, Zack Snyder has failed his first two DCEU attempts for varying reasons; reasons I won’t mention here because everyone has a different opinion about what is wrong with his direction. The easy answer is his lacking ability to showcase character emotion and growth and his love for covering everything under a dark veil. Suicide Squad has David Ayer. Coming fresh off the success of Fury and with titles such as Training Day and End of Watch on his resume, we can all agree that he is capable of juggling multiple A-list actors while providing a decent story with vivid end distinctive characters. He also had creative control over the movie, having the final say on character costumes and story elements. We don’t know if his creative choices will be any better than that of Snyder’s but judging by the trailers and posters, David sincerely wanted to make a movie for the fans and not for himself.
It Has Humor
Many of the complaints around BvS revolved around its lack of humor. As the trailers suggest, the tone of Suicide Squad will be less dark and will draw a lot of humor from the interaction between the Squad members. With the inclusion of the Joker, there is also bound to be a twisted sense of humor scattered throughout the movie. With the addition of Will Smith and his deadpan comedic delivery and the endearing madness of Harley Quinn, Suicide Squad is set to be fun throughout.
It has Batman
Need I say more? Most people would agree that Ben Affleck’s Batman is the one thing that saved BvS from being a total abomination. His Bruce Wayne is as calculating as he is worn. His Batman is as Batman as he is Batman. He is given half of his rogue’s gallery to play with and it would be fascinating to witness his first onscreen interaction with Jared Leto’s Joker. Speaking of which…
Just like Heath Ledger, Jared Leto’s casting as the Clown Prince of Crime was met with mixed reactions. It was always going to play out in one of two ways: either his portrayal was going to make audiences forgive the new look or it could actually work in the context of the film. It now seems that we will be getting both. I’ve come to realize that David Ayer had a very specific idea for Jared Leto’s Joker. After what we’ve seen in the trailers and the behind the scenes stories of Leto apparently going full method with the character, it is easy to be fully contempt and excited for what he is going to bring to the character.
All the Other Squad Members
There is no way a movie can be unforgivably horrible when you have a human crocodile and a witch share a screen with a guy who creates fire and a woman who wields a sword that contains a thousand souls. These are all beloved characters and most of them are making their first onscreen debut. It is true that BvS also had that tagline going for it. It was supposed to be the first onscreen pairing of Wonder Woman with Batman and Superman, along with the introduction of The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. We did get those characters but only in brief, individual bursts. Suicide Squad promises interactions between these characters throughout the movie. We will get misfit pairings, quirks and improvisation galore. It is also worth a mention that they all look great. Let’s face it, if a film can make Jai Courtney look cool, it must be good.
Margot Robbie as Haley Quinn
Margot Robbie. Harley Quinn.
There you have it. You may rest easy now, weary traveler. Or I could be wrong about all of this and you should freak out.
Suicide Squad releases August 5.