Warner Bros and DC Entertainment have spent the past six months or so hyping up Suicide Squad as the darkest, edgiest thing to ever be released, even claiming they made use of an on-set psychiatrist to keep the crew from becoming too traumatized. So it’s with a whimper that the company tries to spin today’s PG-13 rating announcement.
In an interview with Collider, Suicide Squad producer Charles Roven had this to say
“The intention of the film is definitely to be PG-13… We really want to make these films tonally consistent so that, as I said because this is a shared universe, at least our current thinking—and again, we’re not dealing in absolutes because while this is business it’s also a creative endeavor, so you want to leave yourself open to changing your mind, doing something different, being inspired, that’s the whole process of filmmaking is you have to allow for inspiration as well as having a road map for what you’re gonna do. So our plan right now is to make all these films PG-13. In some cases, you know, right there on the edge of PG-13, but still PG-13.”
Look, PG-13 doesn’t mean the film won’t be dark, but it definitely doesn’t jive with the tone we’ve been promised. Even the haunting tone of the teaser trailer that DC begrudgingly released after it leaked on the Internet felt dark and foreboding, and now it looks like the darkest thing the film may do is use it’s one alloted F-bomb for a PG-13 release.
The problem is that DC doesn’t understand how to do anything but this half-dark tone, and that’s largely thanks to Batman. Batman movies, even at their worst, have always done really well at the box office and generated a lot of money for the company, so the logic is that you make a series of connected movies with a Batman tone and you have a hit franchise overnight. But as we saw with Man of Steel, those plot mechanics just don’t work for the non-Batman characters in the DCU.
It’s really just a shame. I want DC to have a big cinematic universe, and I want it to be fun like the DC I’ve always known, but lately everything they do is just so dark. Imagine a Suicide Squad with the lighter tone of Gail Simone’s popular run? Imagine doing it without hyping up the appearances by Batman and Joker to sell the movie, and treating Suicide Squad as a weird, niche flick, an almost arthouse film that then generates hype because holy crap, did you see The Joker in that movie?
We won’t get that, unfortunately, but we will get a PG-13 Suicide Squad film written and directed by David Ayer (Fury) and starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnamen and Cara Delevigne on August 5, 2016, just six months after the next wave of the DC Cinematic Universe is ushered in with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Part 1.