What DC Learned From Batman V Superman And Suicide Squad

Jared Leto as The Joker in Suicide Squad

You can't make an omelet without cracking a few eggs. Similarly, you can't build a Cinematic Universe without making a few mistakes along the way. Warner Bros. and DC may be enjoying the fruits of their labor on the well-received Wonder Woman movie, but that success came on the back of previous DCEU movies, which caught a lot of flak. DC's current head honchos, Jon Berg and Geoff Johns, are taking a bit of a victory lap, and opening up about lessons they learned from their early DCEU efforts, with Berg explaining:

There are lessons from every movie. You would be silly not to analyze how a movie was received --- what went right and what went wrong on the making of a movie. On Suicide Squad, the movie did incredibly well commercially. It didn't work narratively. You had some great casting and some great characterizations, but where the story fell down was on narrative, on plot. We could do better. Batman v. Superman was tonally dark. People didn't respond to that.

It's refreshing to hear such candor from Jon Berg and Geoff Johns, who opened up to Variety and talked about the mistakes made in the DCEU that, we hope, have the universe on the right path. It's very true about Suicide Squad. The characters are well-drawn antagonists in that movie, and David Ayer's cast did a solid job of bringing Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Deadshot (Will Smith) and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) into the fold. I'll continue to argue that Jared Leto missed the mark on his interpretation of The Joker, but if future DCEU movies want to make use of the other Squad characters, I think the blueprint is in place.

The same holds true for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Director Zack Snyder has played Monday Morning Quarterback on the superhero team-up movie, stating that his intention to go dark was because he needed his key characters to be at odds with each other, and it's his hope to correct the tone and build a team in Justice League. But now, that ball is in Joss Whedon's court, and I get the sense that a lot of things are happening behind the scenes to implement major changes in that wildly anticipated movie.

Revisit the Justice League trailer, and try to get a sense of what Snyder had in store:

Following up with Jon Berg said to Variety, DC President Geoff Johns basically clarified that while upcoming DC movies will learn from the missteps of the DCEU films, there's not a sweeping change in place because the seeds of hope and optimism always WERE a part of the DC Comics stories. Johns explained:

Wonder Woman celebrated exactly who the character is, but looking at it, it's not like we should change everything to be about hope and optimism. There's nothing to change. That's what these characters are.

So going forward, DCEU movies like Aquaman (directed by James Wan), The Flash, Cyborg, the Green Lantern Corps movie, Gotham City Sirens and Batgirl need only to stay in tune with the traits of the characters to get their big-screen adaptation right. It sounds simple. And Wonder Woman proved that the strategy works. Want to know what else is coming in the DC Extended Universe? Head over here and catch yourself up.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.