Like it or not, we live in an age of shared universes. Yes, it sounds like yet another Hollywood trend, like 3D or superhero movies, but in my opinion it's anything but. Growing up, I dreamed of a time when a Batman movie could work its way into a Superman movie. However, given the limitations of Hollywood at the time, we simply couldn’t make it work at the time. The closest thing we ever got to something like that was seeing Michael Keaton play Ray Nicolette in Jackie Brown and Out of Sight. Other than that, all we had to rely on was sequels, and even then, the same actors coming back was an unlikely prospect. The fact that we do it now is a huge plus in living in an era like today, even if they aren't all perfect.
Some studios have had some major growing pains in terms of actually creating their worlds, perhaps most notably is Warner Bros. and their DC Extended Universe, which has consisted of films like Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and most recently, Suicide Squad. Suicide Squad is perhaps most notable because it was DC’s first attempt at a team-up film, and as a result, it would undoubtedly face countless comparisons to movies like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy.
While I personally enjoy the film for the mess that it is, there is no getting around the fact that it’s a bit of a…well…mess. So what were the main problems? Well, you can name a number of reasons. The editing, the script, the villain, the motivations of the characters. There’s a lot here that isn’t great. However, speaking with io9, Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt discussed why he thinks Suicide Squad failed when compared to a film like The Avengers.
“I really like all the Warner Bros. movies. I think they’re really cool and I’m not a real tough critic on those movies. But one of the flaws might have been they were introducing too many characters in Suicide Squad. They spent 10 minutes telling us why should we care about these characters, rather than creating trilogies for each character and convincing us to care about the characters.”
“It’s like hardwood. They grew it really slowly so it’s strong. They didn’t create The Avengers first. They did Iron Man. And they tested it to make sure it worked. Then they did [Iron Man 2] and [Iron Man 3], then they did Cap, and then they did Thor. And they created a thirst for these characters, and that’s when they put them in The Avengers.”
To be fair, perhaps a more apt comparison would be Guardians of the Galaxy — a film that introduced a whole team in one film. However, his point is very much taken (and I’ll even forgive him talking about Iron Man 3 being in Phase 1). It’s not necessarily that they gave each character a movie, but that they stayed true to age-old saying of “show, don’t tell.” We saw Iron Man, Cap, and Thor’s origins. With the Suicide Squad, we had to sit through Amanda Waller telling us why we should care.
Similarly, Guardians never TOLD us to care for the characters, but showed them all in their plights, and allowed the audience to care over the course of the film. In many ways, Suicide Squad seems to be a microcosm of some of the issues people have with the DCEU as a whole.
What do you think of Pratt’s comments? Do you agree with him? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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