DC and Warner Bros. found themselves backed against the wall when Marvel Studios overtook Hollywood with its unified cinematic universe dating back to 2008’s Iron Man and every Marvel Studios release since. It’s important to note that Marvel Studios’ films are separate from other Marvel franchises owned by separate studios, e.g. Fox’s X-Men and Fantastic Four and Sony’s Spider-Man. Nevertheless, with Marvel’s consistent blockbuster films, many other studios have wanted to follow the same formula of a unified cinematic universe (like the aforementioned Fox and Sony).
DC and Warner Bros., meanwhile, found success and reinvigorated faith in their film properties with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, and even won me over as a slight Batman fan, but the entirety of that run was left separate from the overall scheme of things. Their first attempt at building a universe, 2011’s Green Lantern, was a critical and box office failure, and further delayed the companies’ plans. That all changed with Man of Steel‘s release last year, with the film’s box office and critical success enough for the companies to build from. Since then, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was announced, Justice League was officially confirmed, then DC and WB’s full slate of films for the next six years were announced.
Of those new films announced, the most interesting was 2016’s Suicide Squad with Fury and End of Watch director David Ayer attached. Suicide Squad is essentially DC’s version of Marvel’s Thunderbolts where a band of villains are united to take part in black ops operations for the government in exchange for commuted sentences. Beyond the great concept, DC and Warner Bros. swung for the fences yesterday when they officially revealed the ensemble cast attached to the film.
Suicide Squad will star Will Smith as Deadshot, Jared Leto as The Joker, Tom Hardy as Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Boomerang, and Cara Delevinge as Enchantress. Each and every actor listed is on their way to becoming bonafide Hollywood stars (if they’re not already there in the case of Smith, Leto, and Hardy). Certainly, Marvel’s long list of actors represents a large percentage of who’s who in Hollywood, but DC’s new ensemble features many of the other high-profile actors not snatched up by Marvel.
Finally, it appears DC and Warner Bros. know what they’re doing with their film properties and can pose a serious threat to Marvel’s box office returns. We’ll have to play the waiting game to see how it all plays out. I’ll still plant my flag in Marvel’s camp, but I can honestly say I finally have more than a passing interest in what DC is offering.