Why Marvel Movies made you hate Suicide Squad: My Comic Book movie History

As a 34 year old non Comic book reader I am in the exact core audience that comic book movies are aimed at. Not to say other people can’t like it but when I was a child I never had anyone to introduce me to comic books so, like many others, I spent my after school time and weekends watching Fox Kids and it’s fantastic cartoon line up. This line up introduced me to Batman: The Animated series, X-Men, Spiderman: The Animated Series and The Tick. With hindsight I consider myself incredibly lucky to watch such well written and entertaining cartoons as a child. These introduced me to such spectacular and interesting characters.

Once these cartoons were over I needed to find these characters in other mediums so I looked to movies and television. I watched the re-runs of Batman (1966) and I had already missed Superman: The Movie (1978) so I looked to the 90s movies for help.

Even by today’s standards there are some brilliant Comic Book movies that came from the late 80s/Early 90s, Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), The Rocketeer (1991) and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) to name but a few.

However in the 90s I didn’t know what a good movie was, so I just wanted to watch these characters I’d seen on Fox Kids. I watched films such as Captain America (1990), Nick Fury: Agent of Shield (1998), the Joel Schumacher Batman Movies (1995, 1997). At the time I loved them, the terrible acting; terrible special effects and whatever that Captain America movie was didn’t worry me as I didn’t know any better.

In the late 90s and early 2000s I knew better, I had watched a lot of films and completed a Film Studies course. I realised that these movies were not good movies but I had a lovely nostalgic feel because I had once loved them.

In the late 90s/Early 2000’s Comic Book movies had moved on in quality by leaps and bounds starting with either Blade (1998) or X-Men (2000) depending on whom you listen to. These movies started to take these characters seriously and started to make a lot of money.

So when 2008 rolled around I had been educated enough to be ready for what started a Comic movie revolution.. Iron Man.

Since Iron Man (2008), Marvel has set the bar for comic book movies. They have superior writing, clever interconnectivity and have tried to each be very different even though they are set in the same universe (sometimes they have succeeded sometimes they haven’t).

If you only started to watch comic book movies from Iron Man (2008) you have been spoiled. You may therefore believe that the quality of these Marvel Movies is the standard of comic book movies. Whilst I wish that were true; you have missed out on the terrible history that was previously mentioned.

At this stage of Comic Book cinema, DC has fallen quite far behind. So in 2013 (Marvel had released 7 movies up to this point) they launched their own interconnecting universe with Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. These were arguably not up to the standard of the Marvel Movies, but compared to their early efforts such as Batman and Robin (1997) these are almost masterpieces.

So to Suicide Squad (2016), which personally I kind of like. It’s by no means a great movie; there are problems I have with it, the villain, the 3rd act and pacing issues for example.

However people raised on recent Marvel efforts will not like this movie. It would be argued that it’s not clever enough or smart enough to be put alongside the like of Avengers (2012) or Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). But compared to the 80s and 90s movies that I have mentioned it is a much more interesting and cleverly made movie in DC’s connecting universe.

When watching these movies people need to appreciate how good we have it in terms of comic book movies. In 2016 we had 2 movies that featured Batman. That would have been inconceivable in the 80s and 90s. I understand that these movies could be better and should be better but just remember how bad they really could be. (See Judge Dredd (1995), Fantastic 4 (1994), The Punisher (1989) to name but a few.

What is your take on the Marvel/DC cinematic universe?

Let me know in the comments below.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Canary says:

    Great discussion points. Yet here’s the thing – when going to the movies, folks aren’t gonna compare Suicide Squad to 1990’s superhero movies. They’re gonna compare the movie they just spent their money on (Suicide Squad) against all the other movies they could have seen instead (ie, movies made around the same time as Suicide Squad). Given a choice, if I have to pick between seeing a superhero movie with mediocre reviews and a superhero movie with good reviews, I’m probably gonna go with the good one. (though, if I had to be honest, okay, I’ll probably end up seeing both)

    “You know, the mediocre movie has AMAZING special effects and costumes and stuff compared to the 1980’s, and the acting is LOADS better than 1990’s comic movie heroes, so I’m gonna watch the mediocre movie tots,” said no one ever.

    I’m also inclined to say that it’s not merely a passage of time that’s dated older movies. If I’m not enjoying the older superhero movies, it’s not because I’ve been spoiled by modern filmmaking.

    1977 Star Wars still holds its own. I just rewatched 1995’s Jumanji and was blown away by the special effects. Old movies can still rock my world. And let’s face it, the old Batmans could have been crafted with the goal of surviving the passage of time as an ageless classic, but these comic book-based movies were pulp movies at the time they were made. (Even today, they’re still churned out as entertainment, much like James Bond, Terminators, and any number of series and reboots.)

    (Tangent: There’s also no guarantee that if we take a time machine and bring Suicide Squad to the 1970s that it would be a hit. Maybe technically, because of the special effects, but the rate of camera changes and scene jumping, view point shifts, the dialogue and costume choices, the levels of violence, the modern social mores, heaven knows if any of that would play at all in a 70’s audience.)

    I’d argue they are made the way they are not to be timeless monuments to geekdom, but to be a safe middle-of-the-road money-makers following a safe formula with small jolts of originality. Nowadays, those flashes of “new” are that Whedon-inspired combo of action, emotion, and humor. But it’s not revolutionary filmmaking. It’s just good modern entertainment that, for all I know, will probably seem campy and quaint in another 20 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. swanpride says:

    There is a reason why I disliked Comic Book movies before 2008. It is not like I hated all of them (1966 Batman is a lot of fun, the first Superman is cheesy, but in a good way and Burton’s Batman is at least interesting to look at, and I kind of have a soft spot for The Crow), but those were exceptions. Even the Spider-man movies were a big disappointment for me, the only thing I liked about the whole trilogy was the train scene.

    So, Marvel finally gave me what I wanted (what I actually expected Fox to do for the X-men, but instead the Studio settled for dumb action movies which happen to feature Mutants), and I am not in the mood to give anyone a pass….especially not for the output of the DCEU. Honestly, even in the context of older Comic book movies, Warner’s output this year has been shockingly bad. I might not like the original Spider-man trilogy, but those movies were at least properly edited, well-scored, and they had scenes which were memorable – in a good way (minus dancing Peter Parker, naturally). It is 2016 and BvS just delivered one of the stupidest scenes ever in Comic book movies…what I am talking about, it delivered multiple ones, take your pick if the Jolly Rangers, the Jar of Piss, the Press kid in the middle of the movie or Maaaarthaaaaa is worse. It is 2015 and Suizide Squad isn’t even a movie, it is an overlong Youtube video, in which some fan has put together his favourite scenes of a couple of character to some music. Green Lantern was better than both of those offerings, and that movie was WAY too concerned with setting up future movies, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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