Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is going to be huge for the DC Cinematic Universe. Whether it's any good has obviously yet to be seen, but from everything we're hearing, it seems like it's going to take big steps to expand this universe and build the hype for the Justice League movies and hero spin-offs. When the dust settles from Batman v Superman, it's not going to be Wonder Woman or Flash stepping into the spotlight. Instead, director-writer David Ayer's Suicide Squad is the movie that'll follow the big screen debut of Batman fighting Superman. Tha probably won't be an easy act to follow, will it?
David Ayer's commonly known for Fury, Sabotage, End of Watch, and writing Training Day. (I can't be the only one kind of hoping Captain Boomerang says, "Deadshot ain't got **** on me!") Those aren't exactly about cheerful characters skipping around in a beautiful field on a gorgeous and uplifting day. Those movies immerse us in dark, ugly, and violent worlds -- worlds where the main characters don't feel safe at all. Hey, that kind of describes Suicide Squad's world, doesn't it? Okay, I can see why Warner Bros. and DC selected this guy for the task (force x). Sure, the quality between those movies fluctuates -- Fury and End of Watch received a lot of love and Sabotage received a whole lot of "meh" -- but his history shows he has the potential to be a great fit for expanding the grittier part of the DC Cinematic Universe.
Fury focuses on a small cast and takes several steps to pull us into their world and help us understand why they're the way the are. Why have these people grown so cold? Is there any heart left in them? Will this kind of life impact everyone the same way? Only rarely does it go into talking about their past and instead focuses on justifying who they currently are. When you're dealing with several new characters on the Suicide Squad, that approach is very beneficial. Let their personalities and a intimate few scenes tell the audiences who these characters are. There's no need to show us a detailed origin story for all of them (the movie would need to be absurdly long and it would kill the pacing) and there's no need to have them spew totally forced exposition. To me, Fury showed he can help us understand and establish a connection to characters without the need for an infodump. When they do wish to open up and discuss who they are, it's presented in a more emotional and fitting way instead of feeling like a random way to present the viewer with some facts. That approach would work so well with this cast and the several dynamics it can produce.
Ayer's work is rated R and it seems pretty unlikely Suicide Squad will be R. Maybe they'll surprise us, but aiming for PG-13 opens the film to a wider audience and honestly, you can still get away with a ton of harsher material. Any creative director can still offer a dark, shocking, and violent atmosphere with that rating. You don't need to excessive gore or constant swearing to establish the tone this movie needs and, with this rating, you can reserve those more stunning moments for when they'll make the strongest impact. I really don't think a PG-13 rating would hinder it. Maybe Ayer won't get to go as graphic as he wants to, but he can still get away with a whole lot. As violent as a Suicide Squad movie could be, it's really about the characters, their relationships, some twists, and the commentary it can offer. Can villains be trusted, even if you place an explosive in their head? How far will the government go to address more elaborate and powerful threats? Can you root for a villain?
Suicide Squad is an interesting choice to follow-up a movie that possibly ends with the forming of the Justice League. You'd think we'd immediately see exploration of those iconic characters and that's what many fans would want, but Suicide Squad gives this universe the chance to offer something that's hopefully different. As these super powered beings emerge across the planet and begin to take bigger matters into their own ridiculously capable hands, this would be a huge concern for the government. I mean, how many times have we seen this topic addressed in the various animated shows or comic book titles? Answer: a lot. There's no reason why it wouldn't be an important issue here, so Suicide Squad has the opportunity to flesh out humanity's more twisted response to this new stage while also offering a ton of fan service and worldbuilding. This is a storyline where a darker and grittier approach feels natural and it gives the studio a chance to make us fall in love with some of DC's villains without making them feel secondary.
Some may view Suicide Squad as a risk and understandably so. "How can you follow a Batman and Superman movie with a team that a good amount of casual moviegoers have never even heard of before? With so many comic book movies out there, why would they want to give this their money?" Some may cite Guardians of the Galaxy as an example of lesser-known characters being able to earn a crazy amount of money at the box office, but Marvel Studios spent years building a following and, of course, a more than fair amount of credit goes to just how much personality James Gunn put into the movie. Sci-fi may not be for everyone, but that movie was simply fun and hilarious -- it's something that almost anyone can enjoy. Suicide Squad doesn't have the same advantages going for it. Not everyone has faith in DC's direction; not everyone wants a gritty and intense action movie. They're bringing in big names to help compensate for that -- this movie needs some star power to create more appeal and interest -- but a few of these people are absolutely qualified for the roles, too.
I've seen people say they're against Will Smith because of After Earth. Really? You're going to look at the dude's resume and judge him based on that -- a script that called for him to be totally emotionless, bland and boring? That doesn't seem like a fair thing to cite, especially when he's given so many charismatic performances and more emotional performances (The Pursuit of Happyness). It's not like he's unfamiliar with action movies, too. As long as he gets some epic facial hair, I'm confident Will Smith can become a somewhat cold and quick-witted badass. As for Jared Leto, the guy won an Oscar not too long ago, people. You may not like his personality and becoming the next Clown Prince of Crime brings huge expectations, but the actor has certainly proven he can transform himself and dedicate himself to a role quite well. The potential is there. As for whether Joker's needed, I think Batman: Assault on Arkham showed he can be incorporated in an entertaining way, so as long as he doesn't totally steal the spotlight, I'm all for it. It'll add a little more weight to Batman's mythos, plus his interactions with the others could be twisted and fun. We still don't have many official details about the role he plays, after all. As for Margot Robbie, she was terrific in The Wolf of Wall Street and proved she has no problem holding onto an accent, so she definitely has potential to become a standout version of Harley Quinn. Aside from Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, the rest of the cast don't instill as much confidence, but we'll just have to wait and see how that turns out. At the very least, we know there's at least four impressive leads.
Just like every other upcoming comic book movie out there, this one has roughly a gazillion rumors floating around and I'm sure we haven't seen the last of them. The ones that are worth talking about are whether Batman and Deathstroke will play a role. With so many new characters to establish in this universe, the idea of forcing even more characters into the narrative isn't exactly appealing. However, they can definitely make it work if they play it smart. The big rumor abut the Dark Knight is just that he's discussed and there's some security footage. It seems like his role is beyond minimal and he's instead talked about instead of playing a pivotal role. As for Deathstroke, they simply need to establish him as this world's amazingly efficient mercenary. Blow us away with a fight scene, offer just a hint of depth, and leave us wanting more. That way we're getting plenty of fan service and it doesn't get in the way of the Suicide Squad's spotlight. You know, that's assuming these rumors even pan out. It sounds like they would be pretty cool, so here's hoping they do.
The DC Cinematic Universe is off to a very polarizing start. Some of us love the new take on Superman while others think it wasn't an appropriate direction for the Man of Steel. I mean, people are still arguing about it (even though everyone's mind is pretty much made up at this point). However, the debate a darker tone won't be an issue in Suicide Squad. This is the kind of movie that needs that kind of direction and can thrive because of it. If it does wind up being polarizing, I'm guessing it'll probably be because of any drastic changes to the Joker. But we'll just have to wait and see about that, won't we?
As of right now, I think David Ayer's Suicide Squad has the potential to be a pretty awesome and clever action movie. His work shows he can present the kind of visceral chaos you'd expect from the Suicide Squad while also offering audiences a clear picture of what makes each of these villains unique. Plus, this movie has the opportunity to unleash a tidal wave of fan service (Harley Quinn and Joker together on the big screen; possibly the Squad vs. Deathstroke) and a satisfying amount of worldbuilding. If Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is building the Justice League and getting us invested in the heroes, this can show us the other corner of the planet and get us emotionally connected to the not-so-nice characters. This can show us the DC Cinematic Universe has villains with depth and leave us wanting to see even more of them. Well, more of the ones that survive, of course. Fingers crossed Suicide Squad is every bit as smart, cheerworthy, and intense as we hope it'll be.