By Nikki Jamieson
Last January, with the release of a (then) new Suicide Squad trailer, I was more than excited for the film to come out.
Now, with another trailer released earlier this month, while still excited, I just really hope that they do not screw it up. As partial as I am to Harley Quinn, I do not think I could forgive DC comics for such a crime.
While the first thing to remember about films based on characters from books – even comic books at that – is that you have to think of the movies as being set in a parallel universe, DC has not had that much luck with their live-action films.
With the resurgence of Nerd Culture, comic book characters are getting time on both the big and little screen. After all, with as much action that occurs in their storylines, they appear tailor made for the live-action films that are sure to be blockbusters.
Unfortunately, DC has a way of derailing this process, creating some rather famous doozies than anything else. Even the popular Batman franchise is not safe, with the horror that was Batman & Robin. Catwoman (2004), Jonah Hex (2010) and Green Lantern (2011) are just a few of the examples from this century, of how comic heroes turned action stars could go wrong, due to reasons such as poor plot, scripts, lack-luster characters, cheesy special effects or an inability to recognize the characters.
I mean, 2004’s Catwoman had nothing in common with the comic book character, except a cat-ified alter ego. Catwoman is Selina Kyle, confident expert-thief and anti-hero, not Patience Phillips, meek graphic designer out for revenge! Not to mention how the plot centred around how the woman looked. Seriously, we are not that shallow.
The jury is still out on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), having received negative reviews from critics and mixed reviews from everyone else I hear. As I haven’t seen it yet, I can’t cast judgment, but with a rapidly falling box office, it doesn’t look good.
That being said, I have seen 12 out of the last 13 new live-action DC films since 2000, and I have only liked about five of them. The animated films are an entirely different story, but for those actually shown in theatres, I’veonly actually liked about 40 per cent of what I’ve watched.
Now, that’s not to say that rival Marvel Comics doesn’t have any flops on their film books *cough*Fantastic4anyone*cough*, but they do have a better track record in film. Since 2000, they have released 37 films, out of those I have watched 36 and enjoyed 28, so I’ve enjoyed about 78 per cent of them. And with the third Captain American coming out, featuring an epic superhero clash, things are looking good.
DC has Suicide Squad coming out this summer, along with Wonder Woman and Justice League: Part 1 coming out in 2017. Marvel has Captain America: Civil War coming out this summer, and X-Men: Age of Apocalypse and Doctor Strange (starring Benedict Cumberbatch, recently spotted buying the reading material) coming out in 2017.
Given the odds, which three films do you think will be more enjoyable?
By all rights, why does one comic giant fail – rather spectacularly – while the other thrives in the film industry? By most accounts, DC Comics tends to be the brand with the most popular characters, and with Marvel titles currently being split over two studies – and therefore two universes – it would seems that if one brand were to slip up, it would be that one.
Ultimately, it boils down to my first point; the parallel movie verse.
For a moment, let’s pretend we all believe this; there is an infinite amount of realities, parallel universes to our own, each existing because of a decision we did/did not make. The argument here is that, at least in the realm of fiction, this is true.
For comics, we have the main storyline where the excepted version of the characters live and their lives play off. This is the place known as ‘cannon’. While it may be rebooted, restarted or reconned, this place is considered the main universe. While the characters may have separate storylines from this world, these actions are in different universes, and the different storylines presented in film are one of those separate universes.
What all of these separate storylines have to keep in mind is their characters. The character must still be recognizable as that character. Fine tweaking to origins/powers is fine, but ultimately we must be able to recognize that character as that character.
Because ultimately, fans will go to see that movie because they love that character, and if you mess them up, there will be consequences.
What DC Comics is guilty of in their films is not having recognizable characters (Catwoman), or taking beloved charcters and giving them a flimsy plot and lackluster script (Green Lantern and Batman & Robin). Marvel beats DC in this regard because – even if the film is bad – it still has a cult following because the fans recognize and love that character.
So please DC, Warner Brothers and Margot Robbie, for all of the oversized mullets in this world, do not let Suicide Squad turn out to be a bust. The trailers look great and you appear to do Harley Quinn justice, so do not screw this up for me! Otherwise you will feel my wrath, and I have a platform to do it on too!