While D.C. and Marvel are two completely different universes, there will always be a perceived combat between the two based on the fact that both are superhero universes. With the release of Suicide Squad, there has understandably been comparisons to a Marvel film bringing together various characters: The Avengers.
Instead of pitting them against each other, however, there are things that Marvel can learn from the movie and from the reaction to D.C.’s newest film.
Characters must be properly introduced – and Marvel already does this well
Many critics have pointed out that Suicide Squad is all over the place, saying that there are too many supervillains and not enough time.
Marvel addressed that problem by giving each Avenger a film beforehand. There were Iron Man films, Thor films, and Captain America films, and although there were no Hawkeye or Black Widow movies, this strategy made it so that there were significantly less characters to introduce. The Avengers also had Joss Whedon at the helm as both writer and director. His previous experience on TV and film with multiple main characters no doubt helped navigate through all the superheroes in the film.
D.C.’s television shows do a great job of introducing the characters in other media (e.g. Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, etc.), but D.C.’s cinematic universe needs to make better, clearer connections in a way that doesn’t make even the villain seem like a rushed afterthought. Marvel already does this well through multiple movies, and the negative response to Suicide Squad confirms that their strategy works.
Marketing shouldn’t mislead fans
Jared Leto’s portrayal of such a iconic character whose previous incarnation gained Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar was a large part of the appeal of the film. Trailers released for the film created a misleading impression that he would play a larger role in the Suicide Squad, not just an interesting back story. An upset fan is even trying to sue Warner Bros. and D.C. for false advertising. The poster for the film also lists Jared Leto as a main character and pictures him alongside Margot Robbie and Will Smith.
While Mavel’s marketing is known to be good, the inaccurate focus on the Joker brings up how many characters who are advertised to be part of the MCU haven’t been given as much screen time as the others. Please, for example, give Loki his own film – the charismatic demi-God can succeed in his own movie.
Charming super villains are great
A lesson for both D.C. and Marvel, and again, more reason to give characters like Loki their own film.
One of the biggest lessons from Suicide Squad is that fans are ultimately in control. After critics were generally unimpressed by the film, it has soared to $370 million box office according to Deadline.
That being said, hopefully D.C. movies like The Justice League and Marvel films like Doctor Strange will learn from the mistakes of Suicide Squad. D.C. and Marvel are different franchises, but it’d be wise for them to learn from each other.