In the second and final week of picking apart DC Comics’ hour-long film presentation, we turn to their villain-team film “Suicide Squad.” When the project was showed off at Comic Con, the response was mixed at best. With a moody tone and eerie song, the feel of the film wasn’t the comic, Guardians of the Galaxy-esque film people were expecting.
With the latest trailer presented, the film has taken a 180 in tone. Cut flawlessly to Bohemian Rhapsody, drowning in quips, and with a kinetic, colorful energy, you’d think the footage was taken from a different movie. The response has been immensely positive, welcoming a movie that looks weird, colorful, and fun.
Let’s get down to business. This change is a calculated deliberate marketing move by Warner Bros. A trailer doesn’t present a film, but the feeling the studio wants you to have for a film. And it is clear they want you to imagine something along the lines of Guardians of the Galaxy: a rowdy, fun romp with unconventional characters. This is a complete rebranding of the film, as even the posters have gone for a neon, vibrant palette. But just the fact that Warner Bros has the awareness to make this change, especially when they decided double-down on the bleak, hopeless tone of “Man of Steel” with “Batman V Superman” regardless of the former’s backlash. Maybe they have finally realized that the same gritty tone isn’t an all-purpose tonic for superheroes.
I really love the trailer. It had energy to it. It felt unique. And most importantly, it gave a sense of direction to the story. My main assumption was that the film would be mostly paramilitary fights, but the trailers showed off weird, magical aspects. Now, heroes who mainly use guns and fire against magic? That’s an interesting spin. As someone who has been dreading seeing my favorite characters getting a “Dark Knight” treatment, it is genuinely reassuring to see DC characters having fun.
But again, this is marketing, and seeing such a radical shift for “Suicide Squad,” a now-forgotten DC project comes to mind: “Green Lantern.” The infamous disaster met similar criticism with its first trailer, which was made primarily of Hal Jordan on Earth, not the epic space adventures the character is defined by. Shortly after, Warner Bros released new “recut” trailers which prominently featured scenes in space with the entirety of the Lantern Corps. When the actual film came out, it turns those trailer were “stretching the truth” to say the least, as almost every scene that took place in space was feature the 3 minute trailers. That is the ultimate example of Studio changing their marketing based to appeal to fans, while misrepresenting their film.
Is “Suicide Squad” guilty of this? Hard to say, but my instinct would say no. Base on what little we know of the plot, it sounds like the main villain isn’t the Joker as we’ve been led to believe, but the Enchantress, or a magic-based character. In that case, the more fanciful elements of this trailer would be the rule, not the exception. And frankly, I hope so. Yes, I’m a big Marvel fan boy, but the film would be better with two equally matched competitors. If DC wants to achieve that, they need to find ways to branch out from their grim-dark tone that has previously defined it. If this trailer is an accurate representation of their product, there are going to make something different, something weird, and dare I say fun? I can buy into that.
Carter Glace is a staff columnist for the Highlighter.