So, if you have a good enough internet where you can both access and read my blog than you more than likely know that the new Suicide Squad trailer came out. A good sign of this is that half the internet is either gushin’ or fussin’ about it. I have some thoughts. Enough to warrant a blog so strap in. We’re gonna be here for a minute.
There was a time when superhero movies finally started getting it right. Michael Keaton’s Batman gave the world the Batman they’ve been begging to see in a movie and Christopher Reeves portrayed a version of Superman that straight up made you believe a man could fly. Meanwhile, Marvel was just dropping the ball left and right. A Fantastic Four movie so terrible it never made it to theaters, a strange Captain America film in which Captain America had rubber ears and a shield bike.
While Marvel was making all sorts of strange choices and making familiar characters into silly things that some marketing exec figured would sell better, DC was giving people exact what they wanted, true to life renditions of what they see in the books.
Oddly as time went on, Marvel took note of this and started to change. Spider-man captured the awkward nature of Peter Parker and made it just as much about his social life as it was about him trying to be a hero and the X-Men film perfectly captured the powers of mutants while also showcasing the difficulties of a team dynamic made up of people hastily thrown together and panicked.
But DC was changing too. For whatever reason, the Batman movies were getting bright, colorful, and incredibly goofy. And instead of making new Superman movies, they were, instead, treated to a WB drama in which Clark Kent’s superhero antics took a distant back seat to romantic love triangles and watching him attempt to make friends.
Marvel films started to become incredibly enjoying whilst DC films became a joke. Then, something amazing happened. Iron Man. The film was alright. I liked it but I wouldn’t go back and rewatch it. But it was after the credits. Tony gets home, Jarvis glitches, and suddenly, Samuel L. Jackson dressed as Nick Fury is telling Iron Man about something about the “Avengers Initiative.” Holy shit.
From their, the Marvel movie-verse exploded. It was almost impossible for a Marvel character in a movie to do anything of note without Nick Fury noticing and trying to get them into the Avengers. It was so exciting that people were actually sitting through the credits just so they could see the next big reveal.
Plus, all their movies were connected as were their shows. You didn’t NEED to watch everything Marvel, but being caught up on the show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actually lead directly up to that snowy fight in the beginning of the second Avengers film. You know, like in cross-over comics?
Meanwhile, DC kept getting weird. Two Superman movies came out. One in which Superman was reintroduced sans Lois and it included an incredibly creepy scene in which Superman hovered outside Lois’ home, using his X-ray vision to watch her, her husband and their son live their lives. And a second one where Superman solved a problem by violently snapping a villains neck.
They finally made a show of Arrow as well. But instead of the amazing Green Arrow that people have loved for decades, they gave us this spoiled angsty teen that acts more like Batman, HATES the idea of being called “Green Arrow” and delivers long winded speeches about why people shouldn’t kill while, simultaneously, murdering about 5-10 people per episode.
The closest DC has gotten to accurate (outside of their amazing line-up of straight to DVD animations) was the Flash television show. But even that did a weird thing of devolving Iris into some horrible female stereotype. Constantly toting a coffee and complaining about everything while being overly sassy to the point where it often doesn’t even fit.
So why is DC doing it? It really doesn’t make sense. By staying true to comic roots Marvel made more people excited about Guardians of the Galaxy than people were about DC’s last Superman film.
This brings me to the Suicide Squad trailer. Now, before I get into it, I’m going to say this, I’ve read all the DC books and I have a library of over $3000 in trade paperbacks so yes, I’m very well established in the DC universe. It was actually my primary love up until that nasty reboot.
I think the Suicide Squad movie looks horrible. I’ll be straight up. The best casting in the entire film goes to the woman playing Amanda Waller (though, any Warehouse 13 fan would telling you that CCH Pounder would have destroyed that role). Everyone else though seems to be a mistake. Joker looks like the love child of Justin Bieber and Lil’ Wayne. Harley looks like a first year Juggalo. And Will Smith as Deadshot? Fuck, I’m going to need another blog to go into that one.
As an aspiring writer I can tell you this from the bottom of my heart. A comic accurate and enjoyable Suicide Squad movie would be so easy to write that if you asked me to, I could have three spec scripts on your desk by the end of the week.
So why? Why would DC keep this formula going? It’s not working for them. They’re being absolutely destroyed at the box office by Marvel and yet are desperately trying to do everything in their power to not emulate. Dude, emulate. But they won’t? The biggest example came in 2014 when Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie knocked the box office on it’s ass. People loved how funny the film was. How did DC respond to this block buster action comedy? By enforcing a rule to anyone working on a film in the DC movie-verse. Two words, “no jokes”. Seriously.
Now, given, this could have been due to the fact that Green Lantern had just came out and people were hating on the film like the glowing green turd that it was, but it wasn’t because the movie was jokey, it was because of the bad writing. Don’t believe me? Marvel is making a Deadpool movie starring the EXACT same guy who played the “jokey” Green Lantern and even the trailers are fucking funny. People are excited to see the same guy who failed at Green Lantern play a funny superhero.
I genuinely don’t get it. Maybe I’m just frustrated because I’ve spent so many years being a DC fan that now, when they’re on that hospital gurney refusing to die, I don’t have the heart to just leave it there. But with Marvel leading such a perfect example of how to do wonderfully comic accurate and entertaining things like Jessica Jones and The Avengers, it’s infuriating to see DC now figure this out. It’s like they’re in a whole other universe.