Before Suicide Squad, it’s fair to say that the DC Extended Universe has had a rough start. Man of Steel was glossy but morally troublesome, and Batman v Superman was a fundamental misappropriation of the entire superhero mythos. Things have been difficult for DC, and they are still figuring out how they want to appear to the public. It’s tough when you’re always going to be unfairly judged next to Marvel’s output.

Then, something happened. Suicide Squad, a film based on a series made of mostly B and C list characters, began to conjure up a ton of interest. Between Jared Leto’s insane new take on the Joker, the big screen premiere of Harley Quinn, and Will Smith’s casting as Deadshot, there was already a curiosity building around Suicide Squad. But those surface elements weren’t what made fans go gaga for this bizarre property.

2016 Set Suicide Squad In A Good Place

First, Suicide Squad got a lot of help from two films: Deadpool and Batman v Superman. The Merc With A Mouth’s film gave audiences an irreverent hero, something that has been lacking in the current landscape of superhero cinema. Batman v Superman, on the other hand, was so grim and self-serious that people felt repelled by its lack of fun. Enter Suicide Squad: a movie that angles for the same zany feel as Deadpool while refuting the somber grumpiness of Batman v Superman.

Sometimes, the cultural zeitgeist factors into how audiences and fans will feel about an upcoming film. As hard as it is to craft a hit film, it’s even harder to predict how fans are going to be feeling when the film is released. Suicide Squad definitely owes some of its success to the luck of the draw. Still, if that’s what people want, then why not give it to them?

The Characters Look Like They Should

Suicide-Squad

It’s weird to think that we used to consider Bryan Singer’s take on the X-Men as a great cinematic appropriation of superhero aesthetics. Superhero costumes are inherently silly. It’s a part of the medium we all unconditionally accept. However, as film and television have gotten better at representing superhero costumes, we’ve come to expect more fealty to their original designs.

Suicide Squad has managed to satisfy this desire while still putting its own spin on the characters. Of course, everyone will point to Jared Leto’s Joker, but that makes sense for this version of the character. Comparatively, most of the characters look like they were ripped right off the page. Can you believe we’re getting an accurate depiction of Killer Croc on screen? That alone has made fans happily embrace David Ayer’s bonkers vision of the Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad Isn’t Playing It Safe

Fans are getting more savvy as time goes on. It isn’t easy to appease a crowd that has absorbed hundreds of superhero stories over the years. Most of all, it’s very easy to spot when a superhero movie is trying too hard to placate everyone. Films like Green LanternThe Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man 2 are so predictable and obvious that fans have ignored their existence.

Meanwhile, Suicide Squad is throwing caution out the window and taking big risks. Not only are the unknown characters a gamble, but so is the unhinged tone and freakshow plot. That risk is enticing to those bored with familiarity. Suicide Squad doesn’t look or feel like anything else out there, and that alone draws fans in. It also allows the film to go crazier and be wackier. If superhero movies are going to be as pervasive as they already are, fans will want more of them to go off the rails. Suicide Squad is definitely going for that mindset.

Drew Dietsch
Drew Dietsch has written for CHUD.com, the News-Press, WhatCulture, and releases a weekly film review podcast, The Drew Reviews Podcast. He'll yak your ear off about horror movies, Jaws, RoboCop, and/or Batman if you let him.