Almost immediately after being fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a blockbuster superhero sequel set in a shared universe that features a dysfunctional cast of misfits based on a lesser-known comic book, James Gunn was offered the chance to tackle The Suicide Squad, which offered a refreshing change of pace as a blockbuster superhero sequel set in a shared universe that features a dysfunctional cast of misfits based on a lesser-known comic book.
The similarities are there for everyone to see, with the notable difference that The Suicide Squad has taken an R-rating and ran with it, but Gunn has suddenly found himself as Hollywood’s go-to guy for a very specific type of movie. Of course, it’s entirely by choice after the filmmaker revealed he was offered any DC property of his choosing, but in a new interview he addressed the comparisons between his Marvel Cinematic Universe and DCEU projects head on.
“Basically DC came and said, ‘Hey, what do you want to do? Anything?’. At first I really honestly didn’t think it was going to be Suicide Squad, but I was playing with a few different ideas of a few different DC properties and this was the one that just took off. I just fell in love with this particular story that we’re telling right now, and I fell in love with some of the characters, and the way we could do it. It’s not a superhero movie, obviously it’s a supervillain film, but to be able to tell a movie like this in a completely different way, in a lot of ways, like when I came in to do Guardians. Being able to do a space opera in a totally different way, this is my way to do a war film in a completely different way.
I thought it was something that I could do, and surprise people by giving them something completely different than what they expect. Like we did with Guardians, people saw that trailer for the first time, with these weird characters in prison and what was going on with them. To be able to do something like that again, where people might be expecting it to be like Guardians. They might be expecting it to be like the first Suicide Squad. They might be expecting it to be like, whatever, but it’s not like any of those things… I mean, it’s a much, much, much rougher film than Guardians of the Galaxy. Everything is almost completely practical. And so it’s just a much more grounded, darker film. Gorier.”
Based on what we’ve seen for far, The Suicide Squad is an entirely different beast to Guardians of the Galaxy. Of course, Gunn’s signature blend of stylish effects-driven action and irreverent humor is on full display, but the former is a much grittier, violent, foul-mouthed and boots-on-the-ground story with a narrower focus than Star-Lord and the gang swooping in to save the entire universe from an intergalactic MacGuffin.
The Suicide Squad arrives next month, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 set to kick off production before the end of the year, and when you factor in Gunn’s heavily involvement in HBO Max’s Peacemaker spinoff, he’ll have spent the best part of a decade directing nothing but comic book adaptations, so he might well be looking to venture into completely new territory after that.