The Superhero film has evolved considerably since the early days of the simple “Good vs. Bad” storyline. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has broken new ground by incorporating differing plots or themes into the superhero genre. The Captain America trilogy is the exemplar for this. Captain America: The First Avenger is a war film set during World War II, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is effectively a spy film similar in style to a James Bond adventure and Captain America: Civil War introduces political themes and considers the effect of governmental controls on superheroes.
Other superhero films have considered the implications of superpowers on modern society, in particular the X-Men films. In X-Men (2000), Professor Xavier and his team of mutants are depicted as a group with good intentions as they seek to integrate with modern society in a seamless fashion. On the other hand, Magneto and his supporters wish to succeed the human race as they view mutants to be the next evolutionary step in our species. Magneto believes that mutant powers should rule the world while humanity suffers the consequences. Although this film appears to preserve the “Good vs. Bad” vibe, the film explores and shows the public’s attitude to mutants and their powers, whether they are Xavier’s followers or part of Magneto’s Brotherhood.
For many years the DC film universe has lagged behind the Marvel films (with the exception of the excellent Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, the first two Batman films from 1989 and 1991 that were directed by Tim Burton and the original Superman film from 1978). However things might be about to change, and so much so that DC could be about to change the superhero film forever. The brand new DC film Suicide Squad is set for release in August 2016 and the plot of the film follows a group of villains who are hired by the government to complete incredibly dangerous secret missions for the government. In the comic books the reward for successfully completing the mission was a decrease in their prison sentence. If the villains perished on the mission they weren’t mourned and the government simply moved onto the next. “They’re bad guys” and the attitude of the government is that nobody would miss them.
Suicide Squad, directed by David Dyer, could be a serious game changer in the superhero-supervillain film genre. No film from the modern crop of superhero films puts the villains under such a powerful spotlight. Some of the villains have been imprisoned by the legendary Batman, the speedy Flash and other DC heroes, and you’re already familiar with one or two of the villains. The Joker, played by Jared Leto, was the main villain in Batman (1989) and The Dark Knight (2008) while Harley Quinn is a fan favourite villain and often a companion of the Joker. There are other villains that you might have heard of in the past. Deadshot, played by Will Smith, is a sharpshooter who never misses (sounds like Hawkeye with a gun), Captain Boomerang can throw trick boomerangs (like the trick-arrows of Hawkeye) and El Diablo can produce flames from his hands. The other characters add to the complexity of the Suicide Squad, with the abilities of each likely to prove crucial to the success of their missions.
The film will also include an appearance by Ben Affleck as Batman. Given that it was he that imprisoned many of the villains, it is perhaps unsurprising that he makes an appearance in the film. The reason for his exact presence is not clear from the trailers so we’ll just have to wait and see why he shows up. Other heroes are rumoured to also appear in the film such as Barry Allen’s The Flash. However I don’t think you’ll be seeing Superman in the film. Remember he was “killed” at the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Following the disappointing performance of the aforementioned film at the box office, Warner Bros. and the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) will be keen that Suicide Squad is an unquestionable success.
But are you ready to root for the villains? Are you ready to support the evil-doers as they battle a threat to the world that is even more powerful than all of them put together? It’s almost time to support the villain. It’s almost time to cheer for the Suicide Squad.