Well, we’re officially two 2016 films deep into DC’s fledgling movie-verse, and already we’re starting to see a troubling trend develop. Both releases spurred overwhelmingly negative reviews, followed by a massive second week drop-off at the box office. They also scored an identical 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, adding to the growing pile of similarities between the two movies. Even so, Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were wildly different films in terms of their respective stories, characters, and tone. The natural next step is to suss out the superior offering.
The case for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Batman v Superman carries the distinct advantage of being the first major step into DC’s Expanded Universe. In it, we get our first look at Ben Affleck as a brutal, reimagined Batman, peeks at the rest of the Justice League, and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. This all culminates in a climactic (albeit problematic) showdown between the Dark Knight and Superman. The biggest criticism you’ll see for Batman v Superman involves its hefty 150 minute runtime, which balloons into a full three hours for the extended cut.
Still, it’s tough to blame Batman v Superman for taking its time when it had so much ground to cover. It had to accomplish a whole lot in a single movie, including (but not limited to): introducing Bruce Wayne, digging into Lex Luthor’s madness, inserting Wonder Woman into the movie midway, noting Superman’s own inner turmoil, and the appearance of Doomsday in the third act. Even with all that, it managed to pull its plot together in a far more cohesive way than Suicide Squad ever did, with a linear story that at least followed some semblance of narrative logic (all Martha’s aside).
The case for Suicide Squad
For all of Suicide Squad‘s story-centric flaws, there’s little denying that at least an attempt was made to make it feel fun and lighthearted. You don’t want the tone of your movie to suck all the fun out of your comic book source material, and unfortunately that’s kind of what Batman v Superman specialized in throughout the film. Beyond that, Margot Robbie stole the show as Harley Quinn, delivering a gleefully psychotic performance that carried much of the emotional weight of the film.
You start to see Suicide Squad‘s major issues in the most basic of story elements. While Batman v Superman extended its runtime to cover its many narrative tasks, Suicide Squad sat around 130 minutes, making the introduction of just one anti-hero over the course of a few minutes feel rushed. Squad members like Katana and Slipknot weren’t even brought in until halfway through the movie, with the early portion of the film spending a fair amount of time on Will Smith’s Deadshot. Ultimately, we had a standout performance from Robbie as the biggest highlight, something we never really quite got with Batman v Superman.
Figuring out the superior film boils down to one question: Which one would you watch a second time? For us, that’s Suicide Squad. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s over faster, or perhaps it’s the humor we get in Suicide Squad that’s far more preferable than sitting through the emotional slog that was Batman v Superman. Either way, there’s a clear winner here in terms of what movie was a more enjoyable (and more importantly, repeatable) cinematic experience. Disagree with us? That’s fine! Hit us up on Twitter and let us know what you think.
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