Could Suicide Squad be DC’s Fast and the Furious?

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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.

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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.

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Comments

  1. Tom Croston says

    Good article, Minor point though, Star Wars isn’t based on an existing property so is the most successful franchise not based on another medium. Obviously Star Wars borrowed from everything so you could argue it’s based on existing mythologies.

  2. says

    Good catch! When I see the words Star Wars I automatically think “a movie franchise created by all living things that surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.”

  3. def says

    I haven’t seen SS, but, strangely, I still kind of want to. With BVS, there was just no way I could get past the Snyder of it, but with SS, it looks like a tolerable summer movie. The fan reviews that say it’s “not bad” are believable (the fan reviews that say it’s awesome and movie reviewers can’t handle badassery and are paid off by Disney are still entirely dismissible, can we cut off their Internet please?). I’m not expecting something great, just something entertaining.
    The comparison to F&F is interesting. The first one of those is pretty lame, but it evolved into a very fun franchise. As someone who hates cars and loves comics, I’m far more predisposed to like this franchise. I want DC to have at least one decent property. so here’s hoping they let Margot Robbie seize the reins and get something solid going.

  4. anonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn says

    If you mean will it take DC/WB four to seven movies to get the series right, then yes, it will be their Fast and Furious.

  5. says

    I find Def’s comment fascinating. Like many fans, he or she is anxious is to be part of the conversation, even without seeing the actual movie. It’s amazing to me that this property has this effect on so many fans.

  6. says

    Ed, I love the whole dominance of 80’s comic properties in the marketplace, but it’s baffling.

    I’ve hated the last two DC movies, find the animated universe pretty dull, and wasn’t even that impressed with Nolan’s movies after the first one. With SS, the trailer looked honestly good! Even with the movie being reviewed as a mess, it still has people saying there are highlights. I find the DCEU fascinating!

    As someone who dislikes DC films so much, I want to like one.

    I suppose the thing that caught me was your post is calling me a fan. My feelings on DC post 1990 verge on hate watching. I’m an unabashed X-fan, but i’d only call myself DC-literate. I want to see how things go. From the outside, the SS looks as close to something appetising as the company has managed yet.

    Man, being called a fan online has irked me in a way that a whole lot of far more nasty, angry name calling hasn’t. I like to pretend comics and media is a hobby, not a lifestyle :)

    Following up on nichey comics website comments probably doesn’t help!

  7. Other Chris says

    “he or she is anxious is to be part of the conversation, even without seeing the actual movie”

    Run with that thought, Ed Catto, and you’ll soon become jaded over the reason why these disposable movies are being made.

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