Why ‘Suicide Squad’ Will Be Better Than ‘Batman v Superman’

While some fans may still be reeling in disbelief from the fact that DC juggernauts Batman and Superman finally square off on the big screen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Zack Snyder-directed film is generally facing a very harsh reaction from critics. With regards to films like 300 and Man of Steel, Snyder is often declared as a filmmaker whose visual artistry often far eclipses his storytelling prowess. Moreover, the novelty of a shared comic book universe brought to life in theaters has lost its novelty, thanks to the massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in recent years.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice marks DC’s first real entry in its own interconnected mega-franchise, rooted to the origins and key players of the Justice League. Snyder is already in place to direct a two-part Justice League film for Warner Bros., and the studio really needs this year’s gamble to pay off and set up the years’ worth of projects already in the works. However, even if Batman v Superman isn’t an absolute slam dunk — meaning it doesn’t hit the $1 billion worldwide benchmark and receives a mixed response from fans — at least DC and Warner Bros. have a second attempt to jumpstart mainstream interest in the world they’re attempting to build, namely this August’s Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad

Source: Warner Bros.

Written and directed by David Ayer (End of Watch, Fury), the film follows a team of super-villains recruited to take on an impossible mission in exchange for reduced sentences for their crimes. While Batman v Superman features the first time those two characters have shared the screen, Suicide Squad will offer audiences an entire ensemble of characters who have never appeared on the big screen before, including the first-ever live-action Harley Quinn. As played by The Wolf of Wall Street breakout Margot Robbie, the character — who is already among the most insanely popular comic book characters — has gotten an enthusiastic response thus far, as has the gleefully sinister tone that is perfectly captured in the most recent trailer (see the top of this page).

If this year’s Deadpool proved anything, it’s that audiences are thirsty for something fresh from their comic book films, and Suicide Squad presents an entire team of brash, ultraviolent morally backward characters for moviegoers to “root for” and revel in the chaos they cause. Chief among them being Oscar winner Jared Leto’s much-talked-about take on The Joker, a comic book villain who is virtually unmatched when it comes to broad appeal and sheer entertainment value. Add in Will Smith, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Cara Delevingne, and Jai Courtney, and Suicide Squad is looking less and less like it bears the same grim, dour tone as other recent DC Comics adaptations.

Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad

Source: Warner Bros.

Rather, Ayer’s film may harken back to the same balance of blockbuster fun and comic book reverence that The Dark Knight perfected, drawing inspiration from the page but translating into a singular cinematic experience that enriches the burgeoning DC shared movie universe without overbearing it with shoehorned connections, a tactic that Marvel has become increasingly guilty of as well. The fact that sequel rumors are already swirling several months months ahead of Suicide Squad‘s release is a good sign and directly contrasts pre-release reports that Warner Bros. was worried about how Batman V Superman had turned out. Whether or not Suicide Squad really is an improvement over its predecessor remains to be seen, but, in any case, it looks to offer — like Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy before it — a new spin on comic book adaptations, something the genre (and especially DC/Warner Bros.) sorely needs right about now.

[Update, 6/28/16: Added director David Ayer’s tweet about conclusion of shooting (see below).] While it remains to be seen if Suicide Squad lives up to fans’ lofty expectations, director David Ayer recently claimed that the film would be unlike any other superhero film.

 

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable

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