What Was Missing From DCEU? Dinosaurs!

When it first came out, the Suicide Squad movie was universally critically panned. DC fans, however, lapped it up and supported it, if for no other reason than to ‘own’ the critics. The problem, however, was that Suicide Squad just wasn’t very good.

Suicide Squad, for reasons I couldn’t quite put my finger on, felt like an inferior sequel to a movie that was never made. It ran an ‘enemy within’ storyline for a cape-team with no buildup, and Task Force X was just a shaggy dog in the DCEU.

Suicide Squad was where Warner Brothers first really tried to open the DC film franchise into a universe with the breadth of the MCU. Despite fan support, it failed miserably to liven up an already stalling cinematic universe, and I think I know why. Never mind that the rest of the DC movies range from mediocre set pieces that borrow the emotional gravitas of the Nolan films via the Zimmerman scores to just plain trash. No, the real reason was there were no dinosaurs!

The first Suicide Squad move should have been about Rick Flag fighting dinosaurs and kaiju during the Cold War.

BRAVE & BOLD 38 VG SUICIDE SQUAD November 1961

The DCEU lacked a Captain America–everybody, even Superman, was super grim and super serious. Captain America: The First Avenger was a lynchpin film for the first wave of Marvel movies–it captured an idealistic soldier bravely fighting against unadulterated and unquestionable evil, and allowed Cap to be sort of a moral core of the Avengers.

In Suicide Squad, Rick Flag is tossed into a group of villains who create more problems than they solve and really is just kind of there while his girlfriend goes crazy and becomes the big bad of the movie.

Instead, imagine, if you will, a movie that starts in America’s heyday, where a War Hero, his beautiful not-girlfriend, and two pointdexters protect the earth from the kaiju menace in an age before supermen [yes, there were supermen back then, but not in the DCEU].

People were still into kaiju cuz they still liked Pacific Rim, the Jurassic Park franchise was making a comeback, and Americans are [or were] always up for some jingoism. So, before everything goes to hell after the death of Superman and gets even worse with Waller in charge, brave normal men stood between America and the deadly dino menace! It could’ve made for a real blockbuster that could have saved the DCEU and given it somewhere to go.

[Nah, it would never work.]

Anyway, I recently picked up the Silver Age Suicide Squad omnibus for a song at Ollie’s. I’d read one of the stories before in one of the 70s Brave and Bold digests that Mike Barr edited, but this is the first time I’ve read all of the original run of Suicide Squad.

I’ll admit, I don’t like the Star Spangled War Stories Suicide Squad as much as Brave and the Bold. In War Stories, Suicide Squad became a catch-all for ‘soldiers fighting dinosaurs.’ B&B SS didn’t JUST fight dinosaurs, and when they did, the stories relied more on classic sci-fi monster movie stuff than just WWII + dinosaurs.

Anyway, I think that Warner Bros. missed a huge opportunity to cash in on a Silver Age Suicide Squad flick–the time was right for it. But instead, we got uwu trashgirl Harley and Will Smith-desperately-trying-to-rebuild-his-action-hero-brand Deadshot in one of the messiest films I’ve seen in years.

7 responses to “What Was Missing From DCEU? Dinosaurs!

  1. “Captain America: The First Avenger was a lynchpin film for the first wave of Marvel movies–it captured an idealistic soldier bravely fighting against unadulterated and unquestionable evil, and allowed Cap to be sort of a moral core of the Avengers.”

    THIS!

    • Rick Flag would’ve been the PERFECT character to do this in the DCEU with, but instead they wrote him as a bland and generic soldier because they wanted to make a Harley Quinn / Deadshot movie.

      • I’ll be honest. The main reason I went to see it was because it had Katana in it and I’m a huge Batman and the Outsiders fan. Katana ended up being pretty much a non-entity.

        They should’ve had Kobra been the villain and found some scene-chewing character actor to play him. I think he’s someone that might have raised some eyebrows among people who were casual DC fans that weren’t aware of him but would also have appealed to older fans.

  2. This is a great take. (1) Yes to giant monsters in a period film. (2) It seems like pretty much everything in the DCEU was rushed beyond what the on-screen universe had “earned,” in their effort to catch up to Marvel. (3) I also have a hard time figuring out why Suicide Squad wasn’t great. I actually thought it started out pretty strong but then lost its momentum.

    • The finished Suicide Squad movie suffered a lot from pacing issues due to editing and attempting to do an almost Tarantino-esque ‘assembling the team’ episodic flashback sequence that took up a lot of time.

      But one of the underlying problems was the story that was just “Here’s a team to combat super threats; also, one of the team members is the super threat.”

      Making Enchantress, or any other member of the squad, the film’s antagonist was a mistake.

      • Agreed. Having a member of the squad be the film’s antagonist kinda defeats the whole idea of team-building. Would have liked to see a dinosaur/kaiju romp that introduced a Rick Flag that could be the moral core of any team instead of Waller’s bloodstained henchman who watches her gun down her support staff without blinking an eye.

        Wanted to see more Katana too, but…oh well.

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