There’s a lot at stake for the DC movie universe when Suicide Squad debuts in theaters this week. And writer/director David Ayer knows it.
He told Entertainment Weekly as much when asked about the pressure he now faces, brought on by the dismal performance at both the box office and from critics of DC’s supposed tent pole superhero flick Batman V Superman.
“Two years ago Suicide Squad was a tertiary [DC property]. No one knew anything about it. It was a cool little playground, and I was going to go make my movie,” David Ayer said in the interview.
“Now it’s like the hype bus. All of the attention has swung onto it, and it has to carry a lot more weight than it was ever intended to. I think it can sustain it. But it’s a lot of pressure. You definitely feel the pressure.”
So is Suicide Squad going to be DC’s version of Deadpool, the smash Marvel/Fox Studios breakout from February that grossed a whopping $363 million domestically, while only costing a mere $55 million to make? Or will it follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, Batman V Superman, the heavy-handed sequel that was supposed to be part Justice League prequel, part Dark Knight Returns but instead became an unwatchable mess of a story?
“Harley Quinn and Deadpool are obviously similar. They’re two characters from the ’90s that share a penchant for violence and darkly comedic adventures. Moreover, both initially appeared as minor characters, but rose to popularity due in large part to fandom.”
In fact, Harley Quinn is such a prominent and popular DC character that just like Deadpool, you can’t help but be taken aback by the amount of cosplay attention the character receives when you walk up and down any Comic-Con floor.
And what worked for Deadpool, as explained by ABC News, is also a trait Suicide Squad looks to have in droves. Namely, a dark and irreverent sense of humor sorely lacking in any DC film to date, and most especially absent in the heavy-handed Batman V Superman.
“Nothing is off limits in [Deadpool]. The studio even gets picked on as Reynolds’ character pokes fun at the fact only two ‘X-Men’ appear in this kind of spin-off flick. Deadpool first appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is also made fun of here since it was panned by critics. He then jokes that the studio couldn’t afford anymore stars.”
According to Deadline, an unnamed suit agreed when trying to process they how and the why behind Deadpool‘s box office success.
“The film has a self-deprecating tone that’s riotous. It’s never been done before. It’s poking fun at Marvel. That label takes itself so seriously, can you imagine them making fun of themselves in a movie?”
And while some in the film community, including Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, took exception to that statement, Deadline did offer up a counter reason why Suicide Squad won’t compete with Deadpool‘s success.
“An R-rated superhero film like this had never been done before. And when it’s never been done before… it’s like you throw the rulebook out the window,” said Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson on Deadpool‘s tracking.
And therein lies the argument as to why Suicide Squad could fall flat despite tracking eerily similar to Deadpool – it’s not new to do an R-rated, irreverent, superhero film. What worked once may not work twice.
Still, it looks as if Suicide Squad‘s got the juice to make it a successful film overall. But will it save the DC universe from the damage Batman V Superman inflicted or take it to new heights like Deadpool did for Fox?
By this time next week, everyone will know the answer, for better or worse.
[Image via Warner Bros.]