Okay we’re just about winding up our Suicide Squad coverage here, but two more little notes.
Russ Burlingame has a rundown of all the many creators thanked in the credits and why they were there in case you were wondering who Federico Dallocchio is (artist on the New 52 SS reboot). It takes a good sized town to make a super villain team-up.
Also, bad reviews and all, if WB and DC Films can really get a handle on what works and what doesn’t and why it was popular, they could have a huge franchise on their hands, along the lines of the Fast and the Furious, which is actually the most successful movie franchise of all time that isn’t based on another medium. The reason? Suicide Squad’s multi ethnic cast had a huge appeal to black and latinx moviegoers who made up 41% of the opening weekend and they gave it a 81% positive score.
The $135 million plus opening weekend success of Suicide Squad can be attributed in part to its appeal to minority moviegoers. It seems that using a Fast & Furious type casting approach when it comes to diversity helped drive minority auds to the theater to see the film. It should be no surprise (except to studio heads) that Black and Latino audiences turned out to see to see actors like Will Smith (Deadshot), Jay Hernandez (El Diablo), and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Killer Croc) playing superheroes/supervillians.
One of director David Ayer’s less mentioned credits is the screenwriter for the first FatF movie. And that franchise had found a huge audience for many of the same reasons: a multi-ethnic, mixed gender cast that is unapologetic about that worldview. Or as reviewer Jonita Davis put it on Black Girl Nerds:
And last but not least, the critics completely missed the diversity of these leading characters. Not one of the major reviews in mainstream publications mentioned the fact that this group of superheroes shined a spotlight on the kickass abilities of women and women of color, African Americans, Asians, and Latinos. Amanda Waller is one black female that I would not want to cross, but I loved her portrayal in the film and Viola Davis who played the character. Diablo contributed a slice of Latino life. Yes, he was a gangbanger. (DC you got to do better there), but the character was the most in touch with his humanity and the one with the biggest sacrifice. Oh, and the Mayan backstory—totally a shout-out to my fellow Latino nerds in the fandom! DC has struggled with providing diversity in its multiverse. These characters were a great step in the right direction.
A lot of people have mentioned Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo (created by Jai Nitz and Phil Hester) as the most compelling character in the film, and despite what seemed like a fiery ending, who knows where those flames could reignite in a sequel. Killer Croc wasn’t handled as well but that can be fixed, as could Katana’s character. This unforced diversity in the cast is something that could truly grow this franchise with a little more care for the storytelling and script.
Finally I’m stealing this chart from Niall McCarthy on the most successful film franchises. It doesn’t allow for inflation but ou can see why everyone is chasing Marvel at this point.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.