The most recent trailer for Suicide Squad, scored to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was very well-received, and probably the one piece of marketing for Warner Bros’ recent deluge of filmmaking that’s ended up more or less universally praised.

But, as it turns out, according to Devin Faraci at Birth.Movies.Death., that trailer wasn’t terribly indicative of the actual film’s tone. Per Faraci’s source on the matter, “every joke in the movie is in that trailer”. But, after the rapturous reception for the trailer in question, he reports that Warner Bros. is undergoing reshoots on the film to “beef up fun character moments and interactions” to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

This is clearly a smart move on the part of the studio, who are now recognizing that the big draw of their competitors at Marvel is in how inherently fun their films are. Even the worst of their output (you know the ones!) has a sense of breeziness that makes for relatively decent Sunday afternoon viewing and allows for rewatchability. It’s harder to say the same of movies like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which both have their merits, but the dourness approaches oppressive.

Then again, I’ve yet to see a David Ayer film that I considered funny, so this should prove fascinating nonetheless.


  1. Part of it could be the success of Deadpool.
    I’m actually a bit surprised…. given the popularity of Harley Quinn in the comics and at conventions, I suspected she would be the main character in this movie, and set the tone towards black comedy.

  2. If the trailer is any indication, SUICIDE SQUAD borrows the plot of John Carpenter’s ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, and much of its setting (dark streets at night) and fashion choices (bald heads, tattoos, leather and chains).

    THE DIRTY DOZEN appears to be another inspiration.

    And, yes, black comedy was the approach I expected, given Harley Quinn’s presence. I was half-expecting an R rating.

  3. “This is clearly a smart move on the part of the studio, who are now recognizing that the big draw of their competitors at Marvel is in how inherently fun their films are.”

    If you do an apples to apples comparison, the DCEU films so far have been significantly more successful at the box office than the MCU films have.

    The first MCU film was “Iron Man” which grossed $585 million.

    The first DCEU film was “Man of Steel” which grossed $668 million.

    The second MCU film was “The Incredible Hulk” which grossed $263 million.

    The second DCEU film was “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” which (to date) has grossed $530 million.

    The mistake that too many people make is in comparing the early DCEU films with the mature (e.g., later) MCU films after the MCU had had an opportunity to get their sea legs. But comparing the films at from each company at similar stages in their respective shared universes, it’s indisputable that the DCEU is overwhelmingly more successful than Marvel was at a similar point in their development.

    So stop it with the DC bashing. They’re more than holding their own. They’re actually succeeding.

  4. Hi Daniel,

    While I understand what you’re saying, I think the idea of comparing Batman v Superman to The Incredible Hulk is a non-starter. BvS is A) a sequel to a fairly successful initial film, B) the actual shared universe launching film for Warner Bros that’s more than just Easter Eggs for hardcore fans.

    At the very least I’d compare it to Iron Man 2, but the stature of the characters colliding here really almost makes it an Avengers-level comparison. We’re talking Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, icons known around the world. Any one to one comparison based on chronology that doesn’t take context into account is fighting an uphill battle.

  5. Plus DC has benefitted from the era of comic book movies that Iron Man sorta ushered in. Plus I doubt most casual moviegoers think of these movies as distinct from the Nolan films. I mean, Nolan produced Man of Steel.

  6. I’d be happy to substitute “Iron Man 2” for “The Incredible Hulk” in my above scenario (structurally (but definitely not tonally) “BvS” is very similar to “IM2”). Yet even in that case I think “BvS” will still come out on top in the comparison when the final box office tally comes in.

    But I still stand by my assertion though that the best way to measure performance between the two companies’ film slates is to compare them chronologically.

    I agree that the DC films are benefitting from a tailwind from Marvel, but Marvel also benefitted from a tailwind from the Christopher Reeve “Superman” movies, the Tim Burton “Batman” movies, the Fox “X-Men” movies, and the Raimi “Spider-Man” movies. And not just from the successes but also from the failures (that Marvel was then smartly able to avoid repeating).

    Just to be clear: This isn’t to begrudge Marvel (whose films I actually like (most of them anyway)). I just think that the DCEU is being held to an unfair metric by the fanboy public and entertainment press (yet still doing remarkably well despite that).

  7. The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man came out in 2008. Ticket prices had risen a bit by the time of Man of Steel (2013) and this year’s Batman v. Superman. That may be reflected by the higher grosses of these later DC films.

    Warner is going full speed ahead with the DCU: Suicide Squad is coming out in August, Wonder Woman in June 2017, and Justice League begins shooting this month (for a Nov. 2017 release). Unless more than one of these films is a major flop, we should be seeing DCU movies for the next several years at least.

  8. “Marvel also benefitted from a tailwind from the Christopher Reeve “Superman” movies, the Tim Burton “Batman” movies”

    I don’t want to be insulting but if you don’t want to come off as a fanboy shill, don’t make ridiculous statements. The success of Spider-Man and the X-Men undoubtedly helped prime the pump for the MCU. But Reeve’s Superman movies? Burton’s Bat-flicks? Why not credit the Captain America serial that came out in the 1940s?

    “Man of Steel” was a commercial success but to pretend there isn’t a difference between Superman and Iron Man when it comes to popular appeal is silly. DC isn’t failing but they clearly aren’t equaling Marvel’s success in Hollywood.


  9. @Daniel: To consider Man of Steel vs. Iron Man to be an “apples-to-apples” comparison, you have to willfully ignore all but the most superficial elements of the context in which each movie was made.

    When Man of Steel was released, Superman was an internationally-renowned icon who had been popular for 75 years and was arguably the best-known superhero of all time (and certainly in the top three). He had already appeared in five feature films and four live-action prime-time TV series.

    When Iron Man was released, Iron Man was a relatively obscure superhero who was really only known to comics fans.

    When Man of Steel was released, WB was coming off the success of two Batman films and the failure of Green Lantern, both of which greatly informed the direction of the film. (And it bears adding that the only reason MoS is “the first DCEU film” is that Green Lantern was a failure. Green Lantern was *intended* to be the first DCEU film.)

    When Iron Man was released, Marvel had never made a film before. It had other studios’ films to use as a guide (including Fox and Sony’s Marvel superhero films), but nothing Marvel-produced.

    And your comparison of international gross ignores significant changes that occurred in foreign markets over the five years between Iron Man and Man of Steel. China’s emergence as a major consumer of American films has had a huge effect on foreign markets, which your comparison completely ignores. (Not for nothin’, if we only compare US gross, then Iron Man beat Man of Steel handily, before you even adjust for the 13% increase in US ticket prices from 2008 to 2013.)

    So no, Man of Steel vs. Iron Man is not *remotely* an apples-to-apples comparison.

    As for Batman v Superman being in any way equivalent to Incredible Hulk, that doesn’t even pass the giggle test. You’ve gotta be kidding.

  10. To update:

    Batman v Superman fell hard at the box office its second weekend and has fallen a good bit below the returns of Iron Man 3.

    I actually think BVS is better than IM3 but the latter, for all its flaws, tried to be fun. BVS doesn’t.


  11. The only fun in B v S came from Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Eisenberg’s Luthor. Batman and Superman were both so grim, brooding and humorless, they canceled each other out.

    If DC can get a hit movie out of Aquaman, I’ll believe they have as much savvy as Marvel Studios.

    My favorite putdown came from film critic Michael Phillips, who said on a podcast that Chris Nolan’s movies were “the work of an adult,” while Zack Snyder is “an adolescent punk nihilist with no visual style.” Ouch!

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