Set to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," the lighthearted, yet action-packed, second trailer for Suicide Squad suggested Warner Bros. was charting a new course, away from the grim tone of the first look, released in summer 2015, but also of Man of Steel, which retroactively launched the so-called DC Extended Universe. But when writer/director David Ayer's film arrived some seven months later, in the wake of the dark and divisive Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it left a lot to be desired. Despite its box office success, Suicide Squad was skewered by critics, who lamented the film's lack of cohesion. Word rapidly spread about its troubled post-production, which included re-shoots and, reportedly, competing edits.
Ayer denied studio interference, insisting re-shoots were intended only to add even more action. However, subsequent reports would in fact confirm that the new scenes were meant to lighten the mood of the film following the negative reception to Dawn of Justice's darkness. The result was a cut-and-paste film that tried to be something it was not: a lighthearted film that was colorful, action-filled and humorous despite its lead characters being dangerous killers.
To many fans, it appeared as if Suicide Squad simply attempted to replicate the success of Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy, a film that also featured a band of merry criminals forging a bond through (cosmic) fire. Heck, the Suicide Squad trailer using Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody was a move that felt very Guardians of the Galaxy-ish. And now that Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director James Gunn has been tapped by Warner Bros. to pen and possibly direct the Suicide Squad sequel, it looks like the studio may finally get the movie it originally wanted two years ago.
In 2014, Marvel released Guardians of the Galaxy, helmed by writer-director James Gunn. Under Gunn's watch, the Guardians became household names almost overnight. His movie, which centered on unlikable characters becoming a family unit, was filled with bright colors, catchy music, action and heart. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 followed the same path, and was once again met with enthusiasm by audiences around the world. Gunn was set to complete his trilogy, until right-wing detractors made some of the director's years-old jokes about unsavory subjects the focus of a targeted campaign against him. Disney quickly dropped Gunn from the planned sequel, though it appears his script may yet be used when a new director is named.
Upon news of his firing, fans immediately called on Warner Bros. and DC to recruit the director, and now that it's happened, most seem pleased with his first project. The Guardians and Suicide Squad share a number of similarities, after all, and Gunn will once again dig into what he knows and does best: off-beat, high-concept films. Gunn has an opportunity to revisit the same elements his Guardians were known for, with the added twist of a dark sense of humor that is exactly what the Suicide Squad needs; after all, the Guardians have hearts of gold, but the Squad should be heartless.
From the start, it was clear Warner Bros. wanted Suicide Squad to be a film that was darker than your standard Marvel Studios film, but also just as fun. With Gunn at the helm of a sequel, the studio finally has the chance to release the movie it wanted in the first place.
James Gunn is a huge get for Warner Bros. and DC Films, who have struggled to find a cohesive vision for their cinematic superhero universe. Gunn, particularly if he ends up directing the film, has the chops to do the Suicide Squad justice, allowing them to have a whole lot of devilish fun while discovering, and earning, a sense of kinship. And we bet there will be a catchy tune or two in there somewhere, as well.