Suicide Squad: Is This Squad Destined To Fail?

Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment made a lot of headlines yesterday when they released an amazingly well crafted trailer for Suicide Squad—the comic book film opens Summer 2016. Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto star in the highly anticipated project that focuses on super villains who are forced to become superheroes. Suicide Squad isn’t the only big release DC has planned for 2016. Before their cinematic take on their rogue gallery shows up in theaters—Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in March. Warner Bros. and DC are all in when it comes to their cinematic comic book properties and if this blitz of films fail—they may never recover. A Wonder Woman led film is currently in production and a Justice League feature is also in the works. Films focusing on The Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman are also being developed.

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The mindset of Warner and DC is very similar to that of a young child around the holiday season that can’t wait to open their gifts. Basically, DC lacks patience and has zero chill. It’s obvious who DC is in competition with and who their shooting for with these bold moves. The problem with their strategy is they seem to view Marvel Films as a competitor rather than something to emulate. DC and Marvel both have a large roster of superheroes at their disposal, but just pairing a lot of famous actors with a lot of famous comic book characters does not mean a film will then turn into a hit. Warner’s & DC’s Green Lantern film staring Ryan Reynolds was released in 2011 and it is a prime example of a superhero flick that didn’t work—despite of the names involved.

Marvel’s cinematic universe started slowly and they built their world in a very calculated way. The Iron Man, Captain America and Thor film franchises were able to breathe on their own before the title characters were thrown into The Avengers franchise. Marvel’s success has become the envy of every film studio around and their ability to put their roster of superheroes in different films with their “shared universe” approach has Hollywood executives salivating.

DC has tried to set up a shared universe in the past, but it never seemed to fully materialize for them. That ineptitude was largely related to poor planning and poor filmmaking. Those past missteps have now resulted in what appears to be utter panic on the part of DC Entertainment. They seem to be so determined to get a piece of what Marvel has achieved that they are throwing every thing they have into the fray. The Marvel films have perfected their formula by starting small and seeing what the audience responds to. “Fans love Iron Man? Lets make more Iron Man films and make him the centerpiece of our cinematic universe. Nerds aren’t that crazy about Edward Norton as Hulk? Lets replace him with Mark Ruffalo,” said all the Marvel people.

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Although it seems very doubtful at the moment, but what if filmgoers respond poorly to Suicide Squad and its cast? Then what does DC do? Recast all those villains and start over…again?

The Suicide Squad cast is definitely an impressive one—Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jared Leto as The Joker is nothing to take lightly. But, it seems like a real challenge to develop all those characters successfully in one film. The Marvel way is to give each character a solo project first and to develop their backstory before submerging them into a larger ensemble film. The choice by DC Entertainment to bypass character development shows they want to make big, big money fast.

With all the talent involved—there is no reason to believe Suicide Squad can’t be a successful film. The two trailers released so far make the film look quite impressive. It just seems odd that DC wouldn’t imitate the great success of Marvel by duplicating their release strategy. What Marvel has accomplished is a true miracle and it’s obvious a lot of planning went into their current method. DC wants to pull off a miracle of their own—it just seems like they want to accomplish it without any patience or strategizing.

 

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