Amidst all the DC Comics hooplah that’s got everyone so riled up (Ezra Miller, a solo Cyborg film, the dreaded words: “Part Two”) was a piece of news that was more or less confirmed a month ago: David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. It’s a project that’s been in discussion for about a year (the words “suicide” and “squad” were first mentioned in reference to Warner Bros. back in December), and last month Ayer was said to be circling the project – meaning he’ll take it, probably, unless a stray tennis ball knocks him out of orbit and towards another gritty WWII tank movie. And when WB put out yesterday’s ten-page rap sheet of upcoming flicks, there was Ayer’s name at number two on the list – right next to a “Suicide Squad” and a “2016.”
In case you haven’t seen the Squad pop up on Arrow, the Arkham game series or their recent animated movie (they’re so hot right now), here’s a quick summation of what makes this squad so suicide-y. The Suicide Squad is a team of DC antiheroes (and outright supervillains) recruited by Amanda Waller (think DC’s Nick Fury, but more dickish), used as a super-secret superpowered blacks ops team. It’s a win-win for all: the various Squad members (usually, names like Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Bronze Tiger and Count Vertigo) get years off the multiple prison sentences they’re all constantly serving (they are supervillains, after all), while Waller gets a hit squad that can suffer a few casualties without anyone losing sleep at night (again, supervillains).
Looking at WB’s giant list of hero flicks, Suicide Squad is the odd duck. Every single non-Squad film on the list seems to fit snugly into a pre-ordained pattern. Do a Justice League-based team-up (Batman v Superman or one of the two Justice Leagues), then pop in a few solo films for various Justice Leaguers in the interim. Basic stuff…except for the one supervillain pic smooshed in there seemingly without reason.
Just from their place on the schedule (and the noted lack of any Suicide Squad follow-ups within the following four years), it almost seems like the Squad is DC’s version of a Guardians of the Galaxy (we’re making a rule: every superhero film from now until the end of time can only be referred to in comparison to Marvel). The super-shoe seems to fit: the Squad are all lesser-known comic characters, who act all tough on the outside but infrequently do things that would be construed as nice. Sure, the Squad are a little more dickish than the Guardians (who’re all thugs with hearts of gold, whereas the Squad are legit supervillains with hearts of “less jail time, please”), but the sentiment’s close enough.
This would, seemingly, jive perfectly with the earliest rumors about a Suicide Squad movie – that it could be knocked out for $40M, ensuring WB wouldn’t take too big a hit if audiences were simply unable to take “Captain Boomerang” seriously (his real name is the much more ridiculous Digger Harkness) and the film tanked.
What definitely wouldn’t jive, though is the news that WB wants names like Will Smith, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy and Margot Robbie as squad members. That’s what The Hollywood Reporter is saying about Suicide Squad, which throws a wrench into everything that would seemingly make sense about this movie. Because once you cast Will Smith – once you even try to cast Will Smith – your film stops being a low budget risk and is instantly transformed into the most mainstream thing in Hollywood. Oh, and that rumored $40M budget? Neeeeeeever gonna happen – not when Fury cost nearly double that with just a single Brad Pitt aboard.
All of which leaves us befuddled over what Suicide Squad will be. It’s a lesser known property that so far, hasn’t been mentioned in the context of Batman v Superman at all, yet it’s swarming with more stars than four Justice Leagues. The caveat, of course, is that an Ayer-directed Suicide Squad starring Smith, Gosling, Hardy and Robbie would be incredible. It just wouldn’t make any sense in their regularly-scheduled Batfleck universe.
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