Support Shawn's writng with a donation

Friday, August 5, 2016

Suicide Squad & The Death of the DC Cinematic Universe

This week Suicide Squad, Warner Brothers latest attempt at establishing a presence for DC Comics characters was released. And it may be the nail in the coffin for the DC Comics brand on the silver screen.

When it comes down to adaptations of DC Cinematic properties, Warner Brothers hasn’t made a film worth watching in almost a decade. Green Lantern, Man of Steel, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad have been roasted and panned by both critics and comic fans.

And Suicide Squad looks like it’s one of the worst DC adaptaions so far. From the original trailer, it looked like a dark angry film with choppy camera work and absolutely no story. There were reshoots to make the film more “humorous” after critics roasted Batman V. Superman, but those reshoots make the final finished film look even more jumbled and directionless than the original fim.

When one reads about the premise of Suicide Squad it’s clear the producers, director, and screenwriter didn’t study the source material. WB follows the letter of the premise, but not the spirit. The government has gathered a bunch of expendable super villains so they can have an army of metahumans to do their dirty work. If they complete their mission they get pardoned for their past crimes. If they die…welp, them’s the breaks.

Good premise, but the biggest problem with Suicide Squad is that the film is presented TOO EARLY in the DC Cinematic Universe. Most Joes and Janes who never read a DC Comic just don’t know most of these characters are. In order for Suicide Squad to really work onscreen, viewers have to form a relationship with the bad guys and see their relationship with the heroes they face in a few superhero movies. That’s what will make the viewers care about them and connect with them.

The other big problem is with The Squad’s first mission: They’re supposed take on the Enchantress, an evil sorceress. What’s wrong with this?

Anyone who has read DC’s classic 1986 story Legends knows that June Moon, the Enchantress was a member of the Original Suicide Squad. Yes, she had issues with controlling the evil desires but for the most part, she was one of the few heroes helping to control the bad guys on the team.

With one of the core characters of the Squad presented as a major antagonist instead of one of the heroes, the premise for Suicide Squad falls apart before a single frame is shot. To overcompensate for the weak story, WB throws several Batman related characters in to make up for the void left by leaving core Suicide Suad characters out of their own story. In the place of core Suicide Squad characters like Bronze Tiger, Nightshade, and Enchantress we get replacements from Batman’s world like Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, former Outsider Katana, and The Joker.

Because Batman villains sell. And everyone loves The Joker.

Unfortunately, none of them are good enough to do the job of making a weak story that much more compelling. Even the tattooed Clown Prince of Crime making an appearance isn’t enough to save a movie that strays away from its source material. I’ll take Bronze Tiger over Black Deadshot any day.

And give me Vixen, Blockbuster, Nightshade, Enchantress, and Duchess over any Bat villains when it comes down to the Suicide Squad. The Suicide Squad’s story didn’t need any changing, but Warner Brothers had to go fix things that weren’t broken. Unfortunately, because they have no idea how things work regarding their own comic properties, they break things even further.

Par for the course when it comes to Warner Brothers as it relates to DC Comics properties.

The big problem with Warner Brothers is that they keep approaching Superhero films from an emotional perspective instead of a professional one. Warner Brothers is so desperate for a hit superhero movie like The Avengers, they throw crap at a wall and hope, wish and pray it catches on with viewers. Unfortunately, people smell how stink the diarrhea splattered on the wall is and that makes them stay away from Warner Brothers’ crappy DC Superheroes movies.

It’s clear to me that Warner Brothers just needs to stop making DC Superhero movies for the interim. Their approach to Superhero films is just not working. All they’re doing is throwing good money after bad.

The definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing and expecting a different result. How many times Can Warner Brothers do the exact same thing with superhero films before the studio goes bankrupt? With four going on five terrible movies that have failed, Warner Brothers executives really need to take a minute to step away from things and go out for a walk around the park and clear their heads.

And after they clear their heads, I believe Warner Brothers executives then need to clean house. Starting With Zack Snyder, the Tyler Perry of Superhero movies. The guy is just not right for adapting the DC Cinematic Universe. His dark vision is not resonating with audiences of families and kids who want to see superhero films that are fun and friendly like many of Marvel Studios films. We’re in the middle of the biggest baby boom since World War II, and dude wants to make dark, gritty superhero films instead of capitalizing on the audience that’s spending money.

Yeah, that’s smart from a business perspective. Alienate half your audience before you spend a single dime on shooting the first frame.

Warner Brothers needs to stop seeing this as a race with Disney’s Marvel Studios and sit out the rest of the decade. They’ve lost this round in the Superhero movie race. Suicide Squad just put the nail in the coffin with the public as it relates to DC Comics’ cinematic properties, and Justice League and Wonder Woman will finish putting it six feet under. After so many critical, and box-office failures, no one trusts the current staff at Warner Brothers to produce a quality Superhero film.

At this point I believe Warner Brothers needs to regroup. Instead of rushing out terrible films, it’d be better if they just put all their current productions in mothballs and took the time to create a model where they can craft stories that capture the spirit of DC’s characters onscreen. With a solid team of executives and creative people Warner Brothers could have a platform for launching a series of films that lead into a proper Justice League film.


  1. To be honest with you, Supergirl's terrible. I watched several live reenactments, theatrical performances and clips after watching Supergirl and they're all better than it.

    Some have the willingness to cut out some characters if they're unnecessary for a given scene (which is partly why Karolsen's forced) and others have a more coherent storyline helped by better actors.

    You have your issues with Supergirl but my issues are focused on why do they keep forcing Karolsen in scenes where it's not needed and that some of the actors aren't that engaging enough to make it worth watching for long.

    I also think from watching Supergirl clips, it's also kind of boring and forgettable. Or at the least not very mind-blowing and bland.

  2. The people in charge of DC just need to be swapped out. They really do. The current regime running DC ran Post-Crisis into the ground so that they essentially made the need for a New 52 reboot in the first place. Rebirth is just a repetition of what happened with New 52, and more of the same awful storytelling. As for movies, they need to come up with a DC equivalent of Marvel Studios, and have some people who both know good films as well as simply are familiar with the characters. DC probably needs bankruptcy to simply force them to change their mode of operation and cut down to the basics.