Chances are, most comic book fans will tell you that there really isn’t such a thing as “knowing too much” about films that will feature their favorite characters. All you need to do is go to any movie news gossip website, and look for the latest spy pics or obsessiveness with the tiniest, most innocuous bits of information, and it becomes clear. From the look and shape of a costume, to the actors rumored to take certain parts on, all the way down to story and plot details, fans are keenly aware of how to use the internet to both find and share these bits of information.
That’s what seems so strange about Suicide Squad, David Ayer’s upcoming film based in the DC Comics-based cinematic universe first established in 2013 by Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Learning about the cast early on? That was a given. Getting a full view of their costumes more than a year out from release? Not unheard of, but perhaps a little unusual. Having one of the most mysterious characters fully revealed not long afterward? That’s definitely unusual for Warner Bros.
Things have been taken to a new level, though, with not just amateur set photos emerging from the site of the production, but full-blown videos detailing elements of the film that haven’t even been officially acknowledged by the studio. Case in point: Variety recently ran a piece that puts a lot of these videos in one place, all but confirming an aspect of the film that, before too long ago, we didn’t even know was on the radar: a full-fledged appearance from the Batman himself, as played by Ben Affleck. With set photos showing Affleck in Toronto down to someone draping a towel over a character wearing dark grey pants with black boots, it was a limited effort, at best, to conceal that we could be getting an appearance from the Dark Knight in Ayer’s upcoming film.
If they wanted to, Warner Bros. could run copyright claims on any of the sites hosting these videos, as they did when the Batman v Superman teaser trailer leaked online ahead of its official release. They haven’t done that, though, even for one of the videos showing the Batmobile speeding after Jared Leto’s Joker.
That brings up the other element to all this: compared with the Joker’s last appearance on film, where we didn’t get an actual look at how Heath Ledger would appear in The Dark Knight until the drop of the first trailer in December of 2007, the attitude of the studio and the filmmakers seems a lot more cavalier this time. Even compared with Batman v Superman, the production of Suicide Squad seems far more willing to let little details and hints drop. So, why all of this newfound openness from a studio that normally holds things pretty close to the chest?
There’s a certain perception in some segments of the fan community that WB’s DC Comics-based universe is a disaster waiting to happen. This attitude seems shortsighted for a couple of reasons: one, we’ve only seen one finished film that will take place in this world, and two, we know that a plan to team up both Batman and Superman goes back to at least 2004, and that a desire for a Justice League film goes back to at least 2007. Still, fan perception is still very strong, so what is the studio playing at exactly?
My guess is that they’re simply trying to get people excited. Suicide Squad will feature one of today’s most acclaimed actors taking on the role of DC Comics’ most iconic villain, one of its most well-loved villainesses is hitting the big screen for the first time, characters with a lot of history and legacy will be embodied by the likes of Will Smith and Viola Davis, and to boot, we could be seeing Batman face off against the Joker again far sooner than many of us thought.
If they’re trying to get this comic book fan excited, then they’re doing a good job. We’ll have to wait and see what the finished film holds, of course, but I’ll be damned if the prospect of a new Batmobile chase toward the Joker following the first team up of Batman and Superman doesn’t have me fairly excited to see what we have in store.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters on March 25th, 2016, while Suicide Squad will be released on August 5th of the same year.
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