The marketing for Suicide Squad, this summer’s tentpole supervillain movie, is trying very hard.
The film has unexpectedly been assigned the task of saving DC’s future after Batman v Superman flamed out. The film that was supposed to be the class clown, is now, suddenly, the valedictorian. The pressure is on, and it seems like everyone involved knows it. Writer and director David Ayer recently told Entertainment Weekly, “Two years ago Suicide Squad was a cool little playground… Now it’s like the hype bus. All of the attention has swung onto it, and it has to carry a lot more weight than it was ever intended to.”
Ayer feels it, and clearly everyone else involved does too. Jared Leto went full-on Method as The Joker, he’s terrorized fellow castmates and gotten us to forget he’s one of the Worst Heroes Ever, because he’s just the Worst Coworker Ever. The marketing and merch department is trying so hard, they’ve got a clothing line at Hot Topic. Whoever makes the posters is trying so hard, they are confusingly appealing to a Hollywood studio’s idea of Things Teenage Girls Like (pastels! lollipops!).
Between the poster, the Hot Topic line, and the degree to which it’s trying, Suicide Squad is officially the film equivalent of Avril Lavigne. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing — remember how fun “Sk8er Boi” Avril was, with her ripped jeans, raccoon eyeliner, and edgy ties? Sure, she tried so hard, but she was a blast. Anyone who says they don’t still belt out the lyrics whenever they hear “Sk8er Boi” is a liar.
Avril Lavigne is a tough line to walk, though, and Suicide Squad must navigate it with care, lest they slide from “Sk8er Boi” Avril to “Hello Kitty” Avril, who was married (briefly) to the Nickelback frontman and appropriates Japanese culture while bouncing around like a pop-punk tooth fairy on acid.
Suicide Squad is already leaning there by offering a Juggalo Joker and trading in Harley-Quinn’s comic-cannon harlequin unitard for booty shorts and fishnets.
Then again, that could be just what DC needs to give us to help wash out the bitter taste of Batman v Superman. We’ll find out when Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5th.