The dawn of this new comic book and superhero genre of films came all the way back in 1998, with the debut of Blade, played to perfection by Wesley Snipes, which is a little interesting since the superhero movie that brought us into this new age was a rated R, ultra violent, bloody good time, and studios seem to shy away from the R rated hero film in today's context. Maybe next year's Deadpool will change that perception a bit.
But, back to the dawn of a new age. We've seen great X-Men films and terrible ones, great Spider-Man films and terrible ones along with a not so great Hulk film. All of this was before Marvel Studios and Disney took the genre and ran with it, crafting a cohesive universe out of the heroes that they still had the rights to, and although Blade started us on this path back in '98, Iron Man changed the game completely, and now, Suicide Squad has the chance to influence the genre like Iron Man did back in 2008.
Of course, DC and Warner Bros. are still working on crafting their own cinematic universe, inspired by Marvel yet going in a completely different direction. Even though Man of Steel kicked everything off back in 2013, Batman v. Superman will usher everything forward. The film following Batman v. Superman, is an odd and interesting choice, and a film that will change the landscape of the genre as we know it.
Suicide Squad, for those that do not know, is a task force comprised of jailed super villains who go on suicide missions for the government. If they survive the mission, they get a reduced prison sentence. Of course, as you may have guessed from the squad's name, not everybody makes it out alive.
DC is taking a huge risk with this film, and they have the chance and opportunity to do for villains what Marvel has done for their heroes, and in doing so, will inspire other studios to follow their lead. Suicide Squad will be the dawn of a new age, if successful, ushering in movies focusing on the villains of these numerous universes, because let's be honest, sometimes, the villains are more compelling than the heroes.
The film itself faces numerous obstacles, and the first of which will be how they treat the villains. The main players on the squad will be Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Rick Flag Jr, Captain Boomerang and Enchantress, and the challenge for David Ayer, the director, will be to create villainous, evil people that we won't mind following on this journey. Too many times in films that follows a villain, the villain is usually humanized or has redeeming qualities, or they are simply misunderstood (just look at Maleficent). Suicide Squad needs to stay as far away from those tropes as possible.
Harley Quinn, in herself, is a tragic story, once a psychiatrist, now completely psychotic and in love with The Joker. She needs to be completely insane and off the walls, bringing energy and humor that we find in the comics. Her story is a tragic one, and it will be interesting to see if Ayer delves into it or not, but we do not need her to "redeem herself" by the end of the film, rather she needs to break Joker out of Arkham and head back to Gotham, because that's the type of character she is.
Deadshot is a straight up assassin and killer, whose motivation is his daughter. Again, that sounds very sympathetic, but Ayer needs to stray away from making him the misunderstood hero. At the end of the day, he is a villain and should be treated as such.
I won't go into the backstory of all of the members of the squad, but they are villains and should be treated as such. However, they have personality and charisma that needs to be on display. The viewer should want to follow this vicious team on a mission, not necessarily caring about their survival, but rather compelled by the journey the go on. That will be the delicate balance that Ayer will need to perfect. At the end of the day, these are all villains and should be treated as such.
The character dynamics and aspects of the team is interesting because they do not like working together and would rather kill each other than work together, yet in the field they must operate as a unit and have each other's back. Not everything goes as planned most of the time, but watching the character dynamics play out cinematically will be interesting, and hopefully Ayer is able to stay true to who this team is, and what their overall goal is.
With that being said, if Ayer is able to perfect this balance and craft a compelling, character driven film about these villains, then this will open up the door for other studios to follow suit. People have been clamoring for a Loki solo film, and if Suicide Squad is a success, then they may finally get it. Sony had the Sinister Six movie in production before agreeing to share Spider-Man with Marvel, and once this film hits and is as big as I am confident it will be, then that film might get fast tracked and slide into Marvel's phase 3 or phase 4.
If Suicide Squad is a success, then it might motivate DC to craft a Sinestro Core film, or give Fox the insight to make a Brotherhood of Mutants film, or even a Mystique solo film. But, for all of this to be possible, it all hinges on the back of one film to hit it out of the park. Female superhero films are looked at as if they will not work, simply because the last couple have been absolutely terrible (hopefully all of that changes with the releases of Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel in a couple years).
This Suicide Squad movie will either be like Iron Man, and usher in a new age of films based around villains, or it will be like Catwoman and make studios extra cautious about the idea. We shall see on August 5, 2016.
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