The new Suicide Squad trailer has hit online and comic book fanboys everywhere have begun the usual process of dissecting each frame. The first thing that jumps out is the overall dark tone of the film, which is to be expected considering the team is comprised of career criminals.
But the second thing that jumps out is the movie's striking similarity to Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. The backstories may be different but right now that's really of little consequence. DC obviously recognizes what's worked before and is counting on tapping into that vibe now.
For fans of The Suicide Squad, no coercion is necessary. This movie is a dream come true for them, one that seemed impossible for years. After all, DC's villains are thought of by mainstream fans as nothing but villains and the company has apparently been fine with letting it stay that way.
Then there's the question of whether or not those same mainstream fans would actually pay to see a movie full of villains. Being familiar with the books would open the door to accepting it of course but there was never any gurantee it would sell without that prior knowledge.
But that was before Guardians of the Galaxy; now it's a much different ballgame.
It's safe to say that a good number of moviegoers had no idea what the Guardians were or had even heard of them before the film. But Chris Pratt's starpower helped bring in audiences as well as the ongoing narrative of Marvel's cinematic universe.
So the movie that many feared would perhaps not find its audience earned 774 million worldwide, putting it at the third spot for Marvel in terms of its highest grossing films of all time. Curiosity obviously brought people to the table but word of mouth kept them coming back; Guardians was just fun and well worth the price of admission.
The vibe that film laid down is the one that The Suicide Squad seems to have captured. The story focuses on a ragtag group of characters that are thrown together in a situation they have no control over. Each one has his and her own quirks, their own motivations and their own agendas.
Each one also has no business being a hero but that's the role that's thrust upon them. Like Guardians, there will surely be many moviegoers that will have no idea what they're about to see with The Squad when the lights go down in theaters. However, Batman's appearance and the wildly revamped Joker are enough to put a ticket in anyone's hand.
Will Smith's starpower will be in full effect too of course and the only question is will he do for The Suicide Squad what Pratt did for Guardians of the Galaxy?
The movie may succeed on every level, earning a ton of money as the next chapter in DC's cinematic universe after Batman v Superman. Or it may fall flat, ultimately unable to find its audience.
But no one can claim DC didn't try to do just that; the template for success is obviously already there.