Can 'Suicide Squad' Save The DC Universe From 'Batman V Superman'?

Suicide Squad finally premieres this week with plenty of fanfare – and high expectations – from Warner Bros. Studios executives. The question on everyone's mind is whether the studio's second DC outing of the year will successfully hit the reset button for the DC movie universe. Following the disappointing results of Batman V Superman, the studio – and most of the fans as well – are hoping for something much better from Suicide Squad's band of bad guys.

The Suicide Squad story revolves around a motley group of criminal meta-humans who have been captured and imprisoned by a secretive government agency with its own sinister agenda. The menacing Amanda Waller – played by Viola Davis – re-purposes these villains as government controlled black ops weapons so they can "do some good."

The Warner Bros. marketing engine is been promoting the idea for weeks now that Suicide Squad – with its new cast and crew – is going in a very different direction than the dark and brooding Batman v Superman. As a part of this effort, the internet has been flooded with photos of positive, smiling, and joking cast members.

Suicide Squad cast members Will, Smith, Margot Robbie, Karen-Fukuhara and Jay Hernandez on Despierta America.
Suicide Squad cast members Will, Smith, Margot Robbie, Karen-Fukuhara and Jay Hernandez on Despierta America. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

Warner Bros.'s last DC cinematic universe film, Batman v Superman, could hardly be called a flop. According to Box Office Mojo – despite all the criticism leveled at it – Batman V Superman pulled in a somewhat respectable $330,360,194 in the United States and $872,662,631 worldwide. But it was still a major disappointment for the studio and the fans. In contrast, CNBC reports that current tracking shows that Suicide Squad might do quite well.

Unlike the less well-known Suicide Squad, Batman V Superman featured the DC trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all in one film. With such heavy hitters, Warner Bros. was expecting at least $1 billion or more in worldwide box office takings. Although heads didn't roll following the disappointing result, control of the studio's future DC films did shift to new hands.

Suicide Squad cast members at 2016 CinemaCom.
Suicide Squad cast members at 2016 CinemaCom. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The main criticism of Batman V Superman from reviewers and fans alike was its unrelenting dark and depressing tone. While Batman himself is rarely known for his optimism or jokes, most viewers did seem to expect something a bit more positive than what they got with Batman V Superman. Certainly, no one expected Superman to be as morbid as Batman himself.

Following the body blow that the studio took with Batman V Superman, they made a quick decision for a major change of direction. Higher-ups at the studio clearly decided that Zack Snyder's grim comic book worldview needed to be supplemented with a dash of humor and fun in the studio's upcoming DC movies. As the New York Times points out, they are beginning with Suicide Squad.

In support of this idea, magazines, television and the internet has been inundated with marketing pushing this new approach. DC Comics and Warner Bros. are also putting out a full court press on Twitter.

Only a handful of people – mostly film critics and reviewers – have actually seen the film. But even with reviews still embargoed, the hints so far coming out are fairly positive.
Fortunately – with David Ayer as the director of Suicide Squad – a new approach was what we were likely to get anyway. In fact, the rumors that many of the re-shoots for Suicide Squad involved adding more humor and fun to the film were later shot down by the studio and the director.

Ayer's style as a director and storyteller is very different than Snyder's. Snyder is known for paying less attention to character development and more attention to making beautifully filmed scenes. But Ayer has shown he can give a movie both. He may be just what Warner Bros./DC needed to get things back on track.

Suicide Squad cast members sign autographs at DC's 2016 Comic-Con booth
Suicide Squad cast members sign autographs at DC's 2016 Comic-Con booth (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for DC Entertainment)

Suicide Squad stars Will Smith as Deadshot, Margo Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as the Joker, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Ben Affleck is Batman, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, and Adam Beach as Slipknot. While it begins gradually opening around the world tomorrow, Suicide Squad opens in the United States on August 5.

[Image via YouTube]