The Suicide Squad Shows the Potential of Comic Book Movie Franchises

The Suicide Squad is the latest entry in the DC Extended Universe, which has been criticized for its lack of success. However, it could be a sign of things to come.

The best comics is a movie franchise that has been in development for a while. It has the potential to be one of the best comic book movies ever created.

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When it comes to comic book movies, especially ones starring superheroes, there is always one thing that fans want: more. It’s unusual for audiences to be pleased with just one tale in this genre. After all, Marvel has created not just the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe, but also a slew of smaller franchises inside it, with specific characters and teams getting their own film series. With some of the changes in plans for the DCEU, franchise-building has been a bit harder for DC Comics. However, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad demonstrates the comic book movie franchise’s potential not only for DC, but also for a cinematic landscape already bloated with superheroes, just by leaning into the qualities that make comics work.

The squad itself, but more particularly the lineup of individuals selected for the film’s version of the team, is a big part of what makes The Suicide Squad such a great example of how comic book movies can function as a franchise. In comic books, Task Force X is a squad made up of a diverse cast of villains and anti-heroes, with the composition of each iteration changing from tale to narrative. This enables a team to be formed around characters that have a broad variety of appeal but aren’t necessarily “prestige” — that is, they aren’t the great stars whose tales are typically the backbone of bigger canonical events. This is an approach that Gunn’s film has taken from the start, bringing in some recognizable characters from a previous Task Force X “narrative” — David Ayer’s 2016 picture Suicide Squad — as well as a slew of new and, in many instances, lesser-known characters. Despite the fact that The Suicide Squad is neither a reboot or a sequel, there is still a feeling of place for viewers to leap from, and it demonstrates that any director can come in and create a picture of their own inside an already established squad or universe without relying on their predecessor’s work.

In a similar spirit, the use of “deep cut” characters like Polka-Dot Man, T.D.K, Javelin, and others allows for a variety of tales to be told. While this may make them disposable in the pursuit of the bigger narrative, it also allows them to experiment with various methods and tones to the stories being presented. Peacemaker gave us a tiny taste of what’s to come. While there are little specifics, that character has already gotten his own HBO Max spinoff series, which will premiere in 2022. Who knows what other characters other filmmakers and writers could take on – as long as they don’t die saving the world, that is.

Taking it farther The Suicide Squad demonstrated the benefits of working with a wide cast of characters, and the usage of Task Force X in general provides a chance to create superhero or comic book tales that challenge authority. While Task Force X is loosely associated with the government, this does not imply that the government is on the side of good. Examining the topic of whether or not one can trust authority, as well as the ethical issues that arise from how the squad is recruited into service in the first place, opens up a world of narrative possibilities inside a franchise.

That brings us to another point: The Suicide Squad demonstrates the ability of comic book franchises to break out from the action movie mold. Future Suicide Squad films, even if not directed by Gunn, may easily branch out into other subgenres of cinema. Within the broad universe that The Suicide Squad creates, it wouldn’t be difficult to see a thriller or an espionage film emerging. It also demonstrates that a comic book film does not have to be about superheroes. At the end of the day, Task Force X members are criminals who are unlikely to be redeemed in a single appearance and welcomed into the Justice League. As a salve for the so-called superhero weariness, stories like these open the way for more like them.

Finally, The Suicide Squad proves the true franchise potential of comic book movies by embracing the best elements of the comic book format — large, rotating rosters of characters who aren’t all “prestige” favorites, opportunities to question authority, and stories outside the expected genres or tropes. With the flexibility to explore those aspects as a kind of “next chapter” from Ayer’s picture, Gunn’s film demonstrates that this can be done outside of his work as well, and encourages artists and viewers alike to explore the comic book movie genre in new ways.

The Suicide Squad will be released in cinemas and on HBO Max on August 5th.

Do you want to discover more about James Gunn’s action-packed DC Comics film? Return to CRAM every day leading up to The Suicide Squad’s premiere, and go here for even more articles and videos to learn all you need to know about the upcoming film!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Was Suicide Squad 2021 a success?

Suicide Squad 2021 was a success.

Is The Suicide Squad too gory?

The Suicide Squad is not too gory for me.

Is the new Suicide Squad bloody?

The new Suicide Squad is not bloody.

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