Suicide Squad never had a chance.
Heralded by fans and critics alike as the film that could and should right the about to crash ship that is the DC Extended Universe of films from Warner Bros., the pressure was so intense that there was no way that the ship was going to avoid that proverbial iceberg ahead.
As Warner Bros. tries to deal with their second film this year that isn’t settling well with many critics and fans, the other half enjoying or finding the films to be decent or really great in some cases, the question lingers about why this film also was a failure?
It’s a two fold answer really.
First is the fact that expectations were sky high for a film that was never meant to be the tent pole of WB’s attempt to catch up to or beat Marvel Studios in the shared universe Superhero film arena. Essentially Suicide Squad was meant to be the Guardians of the Galaxy of the DC Universe, a film of lower key characters that was expected to do decently well but would hopefully actually buck the trend and become one of the really popular films like Guardians was able to do.
That didn’t pan out this time.
Because unlike Guardians of the Galaxy, Suicide Squad didn’t have nine previous films in the same universe that had nine moderately to extremely successful films preceding it. Where Marvel Studios had earned the trust of audiences to the point that they were sold even knowing it was a film with a talking Raccoon and tree, Warner Bros. had produced two previous films that were increasingly divisive and had not lived up to the expectations of most of the audience.
Those expectations for the film to correct the course of this floundering film universe crushed the film before it ever showed up on the screen of your local theater. That’s because there was no way that it should have been looked at as the film to fix things because it was essentially pretty much wrapped up, just in the process of post production, just as Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was rolling out to theaters and coming under fire from angry fans and critics on both sides.
Course corrections of the magnitude that are needed for the DCEU to run smoothly can’t be made in that short amount of time. Which leads to the second reason the film was doomed to failure.
The demands for this film to be the course corrector caused Warner Bros. to panic. Various accounts of different cuts of the film being screened, last minute edits, scenes being chopped out and the company that made the loved second trailer being called in to handle some possible reshoots are all being stated as things that potentially were happening behind the scenes.
With the amount of footage that clearly is missing, based upon the various massive trailers that were part of the huge marketing campaign that Warner Bros. rolled out, they were tossing out not only the bath water and the baby but half the tube as well.
Just like the issues that were stated to come up with BVS, there were too many cooks in Warner Bros.’ kitchen. No one knew what to do to make this film the one that fans were wanting, as there was no way to meet those expectations, so instead of giving us the movie that Ayer, the actors and crew had come up with they gave us a version that feels meddled with and incomplete in many ways.
Had they just left the film alone and waited to see if it would sink or swim based upon it’s own merits, this very article may not have ever existed. Likely thought it would have as some of the issues would have still been there and the film still might not have fully righted the ship, but it would have been a step forward potentially.
This film was never going to be the savior of the DECU. Even with changes that were made after BVS of putting comic book writer and newly minted DC Entertainment President Geoff Johns in charge, along with some other changes to the people behind the scenes, there weren’t going to be any changes really noticed till potentially Justice League next November at the earliest.
Wonder Woman could be the film that changes course, but it was done with filming and getting ready for post production work when the BVS shitstorm began. Justice League on the other hand didn’t even start filming till a few weeks after all the BVS fallout started. A script was already done, as was prep work, but with filming just starting there was time to course correct and try and win back some of the fans that have been lost or feel cheated.
No matter what, Warner Bros. has a long rocky road ahead of them that isn’t going to get any easier anytime soon. Sure they could abandon it and just rely on the bags of money that are sure to start rolling in from the new films in the Harry Potter world, but if they just stay the course there is the chance that in a few years we’ll have moved past the messes of their three first films and will enjoy the rest of what they bring us.
Marvel Studios fans have managed to move past films like Thor the Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron that were considered to be lackluster. If Warner Bros. plays their cards right one day Suicide Squad will just be a bump in a successful string of films.
One can hope at least.