2016 was supposed to be the year that DC’s Extended Universe (DCEU) began contending with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Despite significant commercial success however, both of Warner Bros. flagship DC releases unveiled to mixed reviews and controversy. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice grossed an impressive $873 million, but was slated for its clumsy storytelling and lack of emotional resonance. It was a similar story with David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, which was hoped to be DC’s equivalent to Marvel’s left-field hit, Guardians of the Galaxy. The super villain ensemble pulled in $745 million at the worldwide box office but failed to entice critics with an inconsistent and overburdened plot. Despite that, some fans have defended both Ayer and Suicide Squad, suggesting that re-shoots and studio meddling interfered with the director’s vision.
Responding to a fan on Twitter who declared Suicide Squad a ‘masterpiece’, David Ayer has opened up about Suicide Squad and the controversy surrounding his movie.
He asserts that he “tried to make something different, with a look and a voice of its own”:
“I took inspiration from the insanity of the original comics. Making a movie is a journey, not a straight line. I learned so much. People want what they want, and everyone has a personal vision of how each character should look and walk and talk. If you set out to make a mass appeal movie, it’s easy to end up with vanilla. But I went for it. And I know Squad has its flaws, Hell, the World knows it. Nothing hurts more than to pick up a newspaper and see a couple years of your blood, sweat and tears ripped to shreds. The hate game is strong out there.
“The movie was wildly successful commercially. And the World got introduced into some very cool characters in the DC Universe. And that success is due exactly to the wonder and power of DC, of its characters. Would I do a lot of things different? Yep, for sure.”
David Ayer’s frank and heartfelt appraisal of his own movie highlights the palpable sense of uncertainty surrounding the DCEU, and the pressure on its individual directors. Zack Snyder has faced mounting opposition for his management of the franchise, with some fans hoping he will pass the torch after the release of Justice League. Wonder Woman director Patty was forced into the limelight to deny claims that her movie was a “mess”, despite the fact that it hadn’t yet finished production. Even The Batman, which hasn’t begun filming yet, has been saddled with early concerns and pressures, forcing actor-director Ben Affleck to admit that he was tired of Batman questions.
There’s a palpable sense that DC is attempting to deliver something different with each of its instalments, but each critical mauling is adding to a climate of unease at Warner Bros. David Ayer stoically shoulders the blame for the failings of the movie in his statement, but the issues that plagued Suicide Squad are familiar hallmarks of the DCEU as a whole, a fact that Ayer is not solely responsible for.
Source: David Ayer (via Twitter)