DC Comics may never build a movie universe to rival Marvel's. We may never even get our Justice League movie to match Marvel's Avengers. But there's one thing DC can do better than anyone: supervillain team-ups.
If DC really wants to throw The Avengers back in Marvel's face, they need something bold and awesome, something that's uniquely DC. Here's why we think a supervillain team-up movie would be DC's best shot at giving Marvel a run for its money.
Yesterday, we asked you which non-Batman, non-Superman DC characters could help make up for the failure of Green Lantern. But we didn't even include any supervillains in the poll — which was a grave oversight on our part.
In fact, DC has some of the best supervillains in comics. Not just the Joker and Lex Luthor, but a ton of second-string villains who rock. And some of DC's greatest comic books have featured villains joining forces, from the Secrety Society of Supervillains to Suicide Squad to Secret Six. (Sibilance seems to be a running theme.) We'd love to see a Secret Six movie, but it's hard to see how it could be done without sending America's children into therapy forever. (If it was done right, that is.)
Luckily, Warner Bros. actually has two supervillain team-up movies in development:
- Super Max, a "prison break" movie in which Green Arrow gets framed for murder, and sent to Super Max, a shape-changing escape-proof prison where superpowered criminals go. (There would be the Joker, Lex Luthor and Riddler cameos.) His trademark beard is shaved off, and his identity is revealed. And he has to team up with a whole slew of supervillains, including some he put away, to escape from prison so he can clear his name. The action is interspersed with flashbacks to Green Arrow's origin. (Here is a script review, and here is a screenwriter interview.)
- Suicide Squad, an adaptation of the classic 1980s comic about a bunch of convicted super-criminals who are offered a chance at a pardon. All they have to do is go out on a few incredibly dangerous, probably lethal missions — and if they disobey an order or desert during the mission, their collars will be detonated and their arms will be blown off. It's got everything: It's like The Expendables, or Inglourious Basterds, only with supervillains.
Super Max was talked about a lot in 2008, while the Suicide Squad movie was announced in 2009. Both films were being written by Justin Marks, who's currently best known as the writer of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. (But don't hold that against him.)
In an ideal universe, we could get both of those movies — Suicide Squad leader Amanda Waller appears in Super Max, so one movie could lead to the other. But in a less-than-ideal universe, we'll only get one of them. And as a huge fan of the John Ostrander-Luke McDonnell Suicide Squad comics, I'd have to say the idea of a Suicide Squad movie would totally rule.
The great thing about either of these concepts, though, is that you could use almost any supervillain from DC's long history. Suicide Squad has a built-in core of great characters, though, including Deadshot, the incredibly nihilistic marksman who never misses, and Captain Boomerang, the sleazy Australian boomerang-themed villain. You could also include Rick Flagg, the straight arrow soldier who's tasked with leading these dirtballs into battle, or just replace him with an established superhero character. Not to mention Enchantress, a sexy evil witch.
And the great thing about Suicide Squad is it's got globe-trotting missions where our heroes have to assault mountain fortresses, sneak into compounds, fight evil cults and blow shit up. It's got the James Bond factor as well as the superheroics. In any given issue of the comic, there are huge betrayals, massive revelations, double-crossing, and characters dying in droves. They don't call it the Suicide Squad because everyone survives every mission.
There's almost too many great Suicide Squad storylines to choose from, too. Creator John Ostrander suggested doing a straight-up adaptation of his first storyline, in which the Squad goes up against a terrorist organization that's planning a huge bombing. But you could also adapt the story where the Squad goes up against Brimstone, a huge giant fire-breathing monster from the planet Apokalips. Or the super-ironic story where the squad is sent to rescue a Nobel Prize-winning author who's a political prisoner — only to find out she doesn't want to be rescued.
The bottom line is, DC will never beat Marvel at their own game. So DC has to come up with its own game plan, and play to DC's own strengths. And the thing about a supervillain team-up movie is, it could be a great DC movie, but also a great action movie. This could be the super-team we've all been waiting for. Make it happen, Warner Bros.!