By: Jesse Merkel
Last October, Warner Bros. finally released the tentative schedule for their shared movie universe. The schedule laid out 10 movies between now and 2020. This schedule included a number of popular characters in the DC universe, including The Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Shazam, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman.
There were also three team up movies announced, two of which, Justice League Part One and Justice League Part Two, were not much of a surprise. What did surprise people, however, was the announcement of a Suicide Squad movie.
After the popular portrayals given by Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckart in The Dark Knight, haven’t we all deep down been waiting for a movie focused solely on villains?
If you’re a true DC die hard, this probably caught your attention almost immediately. If you’re new to the fold, strap yourself in. There are several reasons as to why this movie might just be the ultimate fan experience.
Setting Up the Rest of the Universe
As I wrote in my previous article, DC is approaching their cinematic universe differently than Marvel. Whereas Marvel has taken a more episodic approach, DC is laying out a more serial form of storytelling.
Suicide Squad will be the key. This movie will introduce a number of villains that will probably end up appearing in future movies. The benefit to this is that the foundation for these characters will be well established, saving time in future installments, while avoiding Marvel’s precedent of hollow, non-threatening villains that pop up mid way through the movie. (Malekith, anyone?)
We’re going to be dropped into a universe where the majority of the big villains have been active for years. Most will already be in jail. Instead of watching the birth of a baddie in the movie, this will be more akin to seeing Hannibal Lecter or Darth Vader when they first appeared on screen. You’ll have no trouble understanding why everyone is afraid of these people.
Fantastic Villains, Fantastic Casting
There are two things that Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Boomerang, Enchantress, Rick Flagg and Amanda Waller all have in common. Each of them has a rich history, and none of them have been featured in a live-action movie. Characters like the Joker and Lex Luthor have been seen before, but have plenty more to draw from.
What’s truly amazing is that this one movie has been able to round up such an impressive roster. Oscar nominees and winners are scattered left and right. Jared Leto gets into character like few of his contemporaries. Viola Davis and Jesse Eisenberg both have shown an incredible amount of dramatic range. Will Smith has shown an impressive ability to be intense and physically imposing, while Margot Robbie raked in impressive reviews for her performances in The Wolf of Wall Street and Focus.
Perhaps more important is the fact that you can visualize each of these actors taking on the role. Anyone else think that Robbie looks exactly like Harley Quinn, or that Leto’s smile is a dead ringer for the Jokers?
Imagine a Joker, based off of the one seen in The Dark Knight Returns, screwing with an angry Amanda Waller during an interrogation, or bantering playfully with Harley Quinn. Feel that? Those are chills.
The Right Director and Story
If this movie had been given another director, it probably wouldn’t work. Thankfully, we’ve got David Ayers at the helm. The Training Day and Fury director is known for his gritty and violent style. He knows how to balance character development, intense action and story without letting any one part drag down the entire work.
Now, you can’t put this many villains together without some laughs. That being said, it’s doubtful that we will see a scene where it sounds like everyone has a stand up comedian feeding them lines. That works fine for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but has no place with this cast of characters. DC is clearly going for subtly over silliness.
Right now, rumors are swirling that Amanda Waller will assemble the Suicide Squad to retrieve the Joker. Others believe it may have something to do with Waller’s intense need to reign in the Batman. Both stories are on a smaller scale than the majority of super hero movies, which will allow for even more character development. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on people when the entire world isn’t at stake.
Suicide Squad will come screaming into theaters only a few months after Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016. Between now and then, we’ll only have rumor and conjecture to go on. Still, if half of what we’ve heard turns out to be true, we’re all in for one hell of a ride.