Suicide Squad has been on a bit of a media blitz lately, ahead of tonight’s new trailer airing as part of a DC Cinematic Universe special on the CW—including a new poster. It’s nothing like the sort of we’ve seen from a DC movie before: It’s vivid. Colorful. Garish, even. And it’s fantastic.
Yesterday, the cast of the film tweeted out their own individual character posters, each based on a skull motif:
That was then aped in the full poster revealed today—this time, with the motif culminating with the squad itself representing the “teeth” of the skull:
It’s a brilliant aesthetic for the film—but like I said, it’s also a far, far cry from the glum, desaturated promotional material we saw for Man of Steel, or for Batman v Superman. It’s the direct polar opposite: there’s actual color, for starters. It’s bold, but in a comic book-y way, and it catches your eye. It oozes personality (whether or not you like that personality is a different matter, but at the very least it oozes it). Hell, there’s characters smiling, and actual, honest to god emoting. Compare that to the most recent posters for Batman v Superman:
The difference is stark. Everything’s so muted. The characters look either mildly concerned, or outright bored. All the personality and vibrancy these characters should have—Batman! Superman! Wonder Woman! The World’s Finest!—is just drained, replaced by an endless malaise. Remember when people were actually surprised at the color in Wonder Woman’s costume, because all the promo pictures were so desaturated? Remember those endless months when people had no idea what color Batman’s batsuit was, because the only picture was in black and white? Or when Aquaman’s first picture was likewise drained of all color? Even today’s first look concept art for the cinematic Justice League, although a little better in this regard, is all muted and self-serious.
It’s all emblematic of the far too serious tone that’s been leveled at DC ever since Man of Steel hit theaters—a tone that these Suicide Squad images are missing. The Suicide Squad posters are a breath of fresh air, even when what we’ve seen of the movie itself is still pretty dark and “grounded”. They actually seem to embrace the boldness of the comic books they’re drawn from. They stand out in the sea of bleakness by simply daring to have a vivid color palette and an emotive quality that doesn’t make the cast look like they’re wondering if they left the kettle on.
What kind of absurd world do we live in where it’s the villains that look like they’re having all the fun, and the superheroes just have to solemnly glower slightly off-screen, trapped in their dark, colorless dystopia? The bizarre world of DC movie marketing apparently, where our heroes are far too busy looking glum all the time to stand up to the comics they represent.
Sure, Suicide Squad could end up being terrible. Batman v Superman may be the grand dawn of a new comic book movie universe that Warner Bros. and DC comics want it to be. The posters won’t decide the ultimate fates or quality of these movies. But man, they really show that having a sense of fun and personality can go a long way in how you view a movie. If only even a fragment of Batman v Superman’s marketing could look as vibrant and exciting at this.