Warner Bros. and DC will release two comic book movies in 2016: Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. Snyder’s film, which follows the events that occurred in 2013’s Man of Steel, will be the first time DC’s Holy Trinity – Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), and Superman (Henry Cavill) – will share the big screen, and the movie will presumably tease, or possibility even reveal, the formation of the Justice League, which is DC’s most iconic team of heroes. Batman v Superman will aim to take critical steps forward in the expansion of the DC Extended Universe’s superhero mythos, and Ayer’s movie – which opens in theaters about four months later – will delve deep into the villainous side of the DCEU.
Suicide Squad will juggle a large cast of characters that’ll range from bad people to really bad people. From the calculating and stern Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to the unpredictable and murderous Joker (Jared Leto), Suicide Squad strives to break away from the formula that often exists in comic book movies, specifically ones involving superheroes. Now, the villains are stepping into the spotlight, and the director believes that will allow it to take a more character-driven approach… one which offers a new take on the comic book film genre in general.
In Empire‘s Suicide Squad coverage, director David Ayer commented on one of the common story elements that appears in comic book movies. The stakes in comic book movies are sometimes ridiculously high (e.g. the fate of the planet) and the heroes only have a certain amount of time to save the day. Ayer bluntly stated he’s not a fan of that kind of storytelling, and he wants Suicide Squad to be a movie that focuses on character insight:
“You know, all these movies are about defeating the evil alien robot from f***ing Planet X, before it destroys the world with its ticking clock. And who the f*** cares? But you do this story about struggle and isolation and people who have been s*** on that suddenly get thrown this lifeline… that’s not so bad. I like to think of this [Suicide Squad] as the Comic Book Movie 2.0.”
DCEU producer Charles Roven likewise praised Ayer’s Suicide Squad pitch for being a creative take on the comic book genre – one that helped with the process of creating an identity for the Justice League movie universe (without breaking the foundation laid by Man of Steel and BvS):
“We’d just started shooting Batman v Superman, we were figuring out our path through the expanding DC Justice League universe. Then David Ayer came and pitched his take on Suicide Squad. It had this darkness and edge, while still tonally in the zone of what we’re trying to do with these movies. And it’s impossible that you could get a big tentpole picture from pitch to start of principal photography and faster than we did.”
Not much of Suicide Squad’s overall narrative has been revealed. Empire’s coverage offered new details about some of the villains, but the bigger picture – like what Task Force X needs to accomplish in the film (something to do with Enchantress?) – isn’t so clear. That said, in the Suicide Squad SDCC 2015 trailer, Floyd Lawton, a.k.a. Deadshot (Will Smith), uncharismatically implies their mission is significant when he states “let’s go save the world.” Obviously, this could just be a lighthearted or sarcastic comment from Deadshot, but Waller wouldn’t risk sending this group out for a trivial mission, alone.
In other words: only time will tell whether or not Ayer’s movie will be yet another comic book movie that puts the whole world at risk, and, if so, how it’s handled differently from what has been seen so many times before. For our money, it seems clear that Ayer’s comments mean that Suicide Squad will attempt to focus on fleshing out its characters instead of telling a familiar comic book movie narrative; rather, he’s not taking a jab at Marvel Studios. After all, even DC’s own Man of Steel relied on that archetypical “Save the world” premise for its climactic showdown.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25, 2016, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 23, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern on June 19, 2020.