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With Suicide Squad, hopefully DC learns from past failures

Batman v Superman tanked for a variety of reasons. Has DC learned from its mistakes?
Aug. 4, 2016, will see the release of the third film in the comic company’s cinematic effort, Suicide Squad. It will focus on a group of villains who are enlisted by the government to carry out death-defying missions.

The highly anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice finally released on March 25, 2016. Sadly, it didn’t live up to the hype. It suffered from a broken storyline, trying (and failing) to introduce too many new characters. 

It seemed like crucial scenes were missing, so audiences were left to fill in the blanks by themselves. 

This was only the second film in DC’s reinvigorated movie effort, following 2013’s Man of Steel. While Man of Steel was received relatively well, Batman v Superman tanked critically. Diehard fans of the caped vigilantes were on board, but the rest of the world was simply let down. 

Suffice it to say, this isn’t a good start for DC’s cinematic universe. Aug. 4, 2016, will see the release of the third film in the comic company’s cinematic effort, Suicide Squad. It will focus on a group of villains who are enlisted by the government to carry out death-defying missions. 

We’ll get a new iteration of the Joker (played by Jared Leto), Harley Quinn, Joker’s right-hand girl (Margot Robbie), and characters new to the silver screen such as Deadshot (Will Smith), and Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). There is a lot of talent behind this film, and while that is great for marketing purposes, it could hurt the film. 

Batman v Superman suffered from having to introduce Batman/Bruce Wayne, Wonder Woman, and Lex Luthor. What will happen to suicide Squad with more than eight new characters to introduce in less than three hours? 

It needs to make sure each character is clearly defined from the get-go. We already know what the Joker is like, and while everyone is chomping at the bit to see if Leto can stand up to Heath Ledger’s now legendary performance of the mad clown, the other characters need to take prominence in the beginning. 

Based on trailers, the rag-tag group of villains is all imprisoned by the government, which means that character introductions and interactions can start almost immediately. 

With that out of the way, the action can then get started. As is common practice for summer blockbusters, the early action scenes only give viewers a sneak peak of what the heroes are capable of. The action can be used to introduce the Joker and his insane followers, and maybe even let the Batman join the fray; we know the caped crusader is in the movie, we just don’t know what part he’ll play. 

Speaking of the Dark Knight, if Ben Affleck is going to be making an appearance in the Suicide Squad then he needs to come face-to-face with the Joker at some point. Batman and the Joker have one of the most classic rivalries in comic books, so seeing the two newest versions of the on-screen characters facing off would be fantastic. 

The Joker is most likely the biggest selling point of the film. The character is known for being unhinged, and Jared Leto’s incarnation looks as violent and insane as any version of the clown prince of crime to date. 

The Joker will likely be the star of the show, despite the other important characters that also grace the movie’s posters and take up a lot of screen time in the trailers. He is the only other character in the DC universe that may be as well known as Batman or Superman. Every actor who has portrayed him has tackled the role a little differently, adding their own levels of insanity and mischief. 

It’s honestly a little hard to determine what the movie will do because, to the non-comic fan, the majority of the characters are unknown. Every single member of the Suicide Squad brings something different to the table, hopefully ensuring that every viewer relates to at least one character. 

But that returns us to the issue of properly fleshing out every character. The movie will still work if some players are established as side characters and serve that purpose and that purpose only. Say, for example, that Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and the Joker are the true stars of the film and everyone else just adds to the action. Then those characters need to fill their roles as support characters, letting the spotlight shine on the real stars of the show. 

The first several trailers shed light on the various criminals that make up the team, teasing a very serious and foreboding atmosphere. This seemed perfect. What better way to tell the story of a group of psychotic killers than by making it as dark as possible? But after critics called Batman v Superman too dark, the studio seems to have taken Suicide Squad in a different direction. 

Now it looks more like an over-the-top action flick imbued with a healthy dose of humour and mischief. The new style certainly works for the brand, but the film needs to commit to it or parts of the movie will stick out like a sore thumb. 

Batman v Superman certainly didn’t suffer from an identity crisis, but the tone it took just wasn’t interesting. From what we’ve seen, Suicide Squad will learn from DC’s previous missteps and deliver a fun, action filled romp with plenty of humor and insanity.

Matthew Herst is a Carleton University communications student, video game journalist and’s resident geek writer. Yeah, this guy love’s video games. Besides, you can also find his work on Follow him on Twitter @supergurst.


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