Still keeping with theme of celebrating a full year writing on MoviePilot yesterday, I am moving on to the second big DC Extended Universe (DCEU) movie (kind of third if you count Man of Steel) which is the super-villain-smothered Suicide Squad.
I think Suicide Squad came as a big surprise to us all when it was announced last year; I know I was surprised. But the amount of information we had back then pales to what we have learned and seen since.
For one thing, we know that not everything has turned out quite like they originally hoped...the biggest thing was not being able to utilize the extremely talented Tom Hardy in the role of Rick Flagg which eventually fell to Joel Kinnamen. Though the film still looks great in my opinion, losing Tom Hardy was the big blow to the film.
But that's not to say that there's nothing to be excited for! Read on to see all the things that I feel are worth mentioning about DC's super-villain movie.
What we know about Suicide Squad:
Released on August 5, 2016
If last year's Guardians of the Galaxy taught us anything, it's that the least active Summer month can still deliver big opening numbers at movies. But that's not to say that it didn't come as a surprise to just about everybody. Usually, August is a safer month to release a film since all the bigger Summer blockbusters are released in May, June, or July and with Marvel's galactic non-Avengers film starring a rag-tag group of outlaws including a walking, talking tree and a smart-mouth Raccoon, it's understandable that playing it safe was probably the right move at first. But for it to go on and be the biggest Summer film of 2014 speaks volumes of the talent involved.
But this isn't about Guardians of the Galaxy, it's about Suicide Squad, which has been referred to as "DC's Guardians of the Galaxy" (personally I don't get the similarities but whatever). With no guaruntee that this film is going to be a hit considering that it's such a left-field idea for a superhero/villain movie, it's a smart move to play it safe and make the money while seeing what potential this franchise could have. Could it make Guardians of the Galaxy money on it's opening weekend? Only time will tell. Suicide Squad does have strong opposition, despite it's release date, against films like Star Trek Beyond (July 22, 2016), which has been long awaited by fans of franchise rebooted in 2009 by J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, Star Trek Into Darkness), although it will be the first in the franchise not being directed by Mr. Abrams, but will instead see Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6, Fast Five) behind the camera.
The other strong opposition it faces is the fifth installment in the Bourne franchise which is due out on July 29, 2016 which is just one week before Suicide Squad. To top that, the film will also see actor Matt Damon (The Martian, Elysium), who previously starred as the titular character of the Bourne trilogy, reuniting with the director of both The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, Paul Greengrass. To put things into perspective, the last these two collaborated on a Bourne film in 2007, it was the highest opening for an August film at that time.
So, things could very easily not go in the direction that Warner Bros. and DC are hoping for with Suicide Squad unless it truly becomes the hit they're anticipating it to be. I'm holding onto hope that it's as good as it seems it's going to be.
- The film is the first main-stream comic-book movie to focus on villains.
So how is a movie filled with super-villains to be judged? In every superhero movie that comes out nowadays, it's not always just the hero that draws the attention of the audience to see the film. Many times, I'd actually venture to say more often than not, we go see these mainstream superhero films because of the villains we know that the hero will be facing. Think about! What's one of the biggest questions we've been asking about next year's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? It's "who's the villain going to be?". We already know that Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman are going to be in the film, we know that they're going to be fighting something extremely powerful. We know we've seen Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, who is a villain, and we know we've seen a snippet of Zod's body in a body-bag, but he's dead (right?).
We are so entranced by the moral (or immoral) complexities of super-villains that they are the main stars of any superhero movie at times. Just look at Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight movie which had Heath Ledger's Joker steal the show so much from Christian Bale's Batman that many often referred to it as "more of a Joker movie than a Batman movie".
Or look at how many criticize Marvel Studios' films for their villains' lack of depth or longevity. Even Marvel's own fanboys can admit that their villains tend to fall short of epic and usually just land in a category somewhere between mediocre or disappointing. So it's up to director David Ayer to give us the depth and complexity that these villainous protagonists need to keep us interested.
So how do we gauge our emotions and/or our expectations going into a film consisting of only super-villains with little-to-no appearances from any mainstream superheroes (Batman makes an appearance but how prominent will that really be)? With so many questions, one thing's for sure: it's curious, it's interesting, and it's unheard of. This kind of attention of taking such a huge risk will definitely turn heads. It's up to the writers, director, and actors to convince everyone that it was a risk worth taking.
I think that it's a bold move on Warner Bros.' and DC's part but I like that they aren't just allowing their films to follow a designated formula in attempt to appease all the fans. They're telling the stories that they want to tell, how they want to tell it, while still keeping all the pieces to their puzzle in one little "sandbox".
- First live-action depiction of Harley Quinn in a movie.
Almost as historical as seeing Wonder Woman grace the same screen as the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight is seeing the Clown Prince of Crime's hench-woman come to big-screen in the same year.
Even though Harley Quinn originally was created for the 90s Bruce Timm-created Batman: The Animated Series as a one-off character, fans fell in love with Harley Quinn so much that she pushed herself through into DC's main continuity from then on.
Now her fame precedes her as she is seen on t-shirts (worn by both men and women), accessories emblazoned with her likeness or her visual aesthetic can be seen in nearly every store, and her reputation is so large, she is one of the most if not the most cosplayed female comic book character at every Comic Con.
One could even argue that Harley Quinn may very well be more recognizable to general audiences at this point and more of a pop-culture icon than Wonder Woman herself.
Having Harley Quinn introduced into mainstream cinema isn't a big surprise as it's been bound to happen for a while, we're just glad that we didn't have to wait any longer.
- First Joker since Heath Ledger played the character in The Dark Knight
Obviously, we know that Heath Ledger's depiction of the Joker in the 2008 film, The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, Inception), was one of the best depictions of the Clown Prince of Crime in not only cinema but any form of media. He really brought the fear, the anxiousness, the anticipation, and the excitement. He made you nervous and depending on the morbidity of your humor, he probably made you laugh as well. It was sad though, when his death was announced and it almost made the thought of ever having the Joker in a film again, unacceptable or unethical.
But if you are to ask my opinion, that not only is an unrealistic sentiment, it's a little unfair. With Warner Bros. and DC trying to build up their own cinematic universe and including (obviously) Batman in that universe, you cannot go without including Joker as a pretty big deal and having a pretty big presence in that universe, especially Batman's.
That being said, I'm glad to see that Warner Bros. and DC have not only allowed David Ayer the right to use such an iconic character in his non-Batman film but that it's an original take on the character that differs greatly from what we've seen before. It's this sense of originality to these stories and these characters that draws in the attention of the audience. People don't want to see the same thing over and over with the expectations of how a story or a character should develop being the same thing we've seen for decades. How do keep things modern? How do we make thing relevant to today?
I think Jared Leto is going to do a great job as the Joker despite his appearance not being what I would have chosen for the character. He's an Oscar-winning actor who really loves to get immersed in his character and that's what will help Jared Leto stand out alongside the other iconic Jokers of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger.
- Intended to be rated PG-13.
I've written a little bit about this before when Producer, Charles Roven confirmed in an interview with Collider that the goal of all the DCEU films was to have them aimed for a PG-13 rating and this included the Suicide Squad movie due out next year.
Though it's never been uncommon for mainstream superhero/comic-book films to go for the all-welcoming PG-13 rating, however, judging by the darkness shown in the trailer, it did come to a surprise to a fair amount of people that this film wouldn't be rated R. You can see the trailer below:
I'll confess that I was unsure of the direction they were intending to go as I was convinced that this film could have gone either way. But with the inclusion of Batman in the film as well, it'd be hard for parents to swallow not letting their kids see a film that has one of the most iconic superheroes of all time in it and that same iteration of that hero having already been viewed by a large minority just months before in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Personally, I won't be taking my kids to see this, Batman or no-Batman.
Charles Roven did say that just because the film is PG-13, doesn't mean they aren't willing to push the limits of what that MPAA rating allows ala Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, which many argued could've easily been an R-rated film. This news of the film's rating, as well as the mere appearance from beloved characters such as Harley Quinn and Joker, might very well be what the film needs to beat Deadpool in box-office numbers; not that the two films are opening around each other, it's just that they both boast a darker and different approach to comic book films, more so than what we've seen before.
Has a star-studded cast!
I mentioned in my previous article that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice boasted a pretty impressive cast, well there's just as much talent here as well. We've got plenty of great actors in this film who are all (mostly) viewed up top. Just take a look at the impressive list of names and their respective characters they're playing:
- Will Smith as Deadshot
- Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
- Jared Leto as the Joker
- Cara Delevingne as the Encantress
- Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
- Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang
- Karen Fukuhara as Katana
- Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg
- Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc
- Adam Beech as Slipknot
- Jay Hernandez as El Diable
- Common as the Tattooed Man
In addition, we have both Jim Parrack and Scott Eastwood in mysteriously unconfirmed roles for the film. Though Jim Parrack is rumored to be a notable Joker henchmen by the name of Jonny Frost. As for Scott Eastwood, who knows!? The most interesting rumor I've heard is that he might be Dick Grayson (aka Robin aka Nightwing) in an undercover type role as he monitors the villains of Belle Reeve who were there due to the interference of a certain Dark Knight.
Speaking of, to top off that hefty list of actors, we have, as I mentioned a bit higher up the article, a return from Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne aka Batman.
Those are the main points I've been paying attention to in regards to this film. This is my second most anticipated film of 2016, second only to Batman v Superman and August 5th cannot get here soon enough. It's great to see Warner Bros. taking advantage of the expansive DC universe and really having fun, being creative, and taking risks. I want to see how Will Smith fits into the character of Deadshot, I want to see the direction that Jared Leto takes the Joker, and I definitely want to see how the live-action interpretation of Harley Quinn translates to screen.