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The comic book movie landscape is a crowded place. Between the MCU, the X-Men movies and their associated characters, and DC about hit the scene in a major way, the movie theater is becoming somewhat homogenous in its offerings. So how do you make your comic book movie stand out among all the other comic book movies? Well, the director of Suicide Squad has a plan for that. For him it’s about making a movie about relatable characters with personal stakes.
As part of Empire’s epic cover story on Suicide Squad this week, David Ayer spoke about how he sees all the other comic adaptations as pretty much the same and he’s blunt about what he thinks about them.
You know, all these movies are about defeating the evil alien robot from fucking Planet X, before it destroys the world with its ticking clock. And who the fuck cares? But you do this story about struggle and isolation, and people who have been shit on that suddenly get thrown this lifeline... that's not so bad... I like to think of this as the Comic Book Movie 2.0.
Ayer certainly pulls no punches. And honestly, he’s not wrong. Nearly all recent comic book films could be described that way. Hell, both Avengers were almost literally this. What’s more interesting is that Ayer’s shift in tone and structure is not really a shift from DC as a whole.Man of Steel was essentially the same thing as well, and we don’t really have any reason to believe that Dawn of Justice or Wonder Woman won’t also fall into the same category. Suicide Squad may very well be in a class by itself.
At the same time it remains to be seen exactly how different the film will be. While the characters are certainly going to be unlike anything we’ve seen on screen recently, their backgrounds and motivations will be unique among comic based films thus far. They will presumably have some sort of enemy to defeat in order to save something from someone before they do something bad. It may not be the alien robot from Planet X, but at that point, it becomes a question of scale, not structure.
There’s a lot we don’t know about Suicide Squad, and what we do know does make it look like something very different. There certainly is room for some differentiation among comic movies, and if David Ayer’s new film turns out to be as good as we hope it will be, hopefully we’ll get to see some smaller, more personal struggles along with the big world-saving action.