Right now the internet is buzzing, churning, bubbling and whatever other buzz terminology you want to throw in to show that people are talking, about the news that actor/director Mel Gibson is being courted to direct the sequel to David Ayer’s 2016 film Suicide Squad. Many of those same people are looking at the possibility of this happening and letting out a collective “What the F…..?!”
I happen to be one of them. At first glance, I was able to dismiss the news. I wasn’t particularly a fan of the first Suicide Squad, so I don’t really have a proverbial dog in this fight about anything that has to do with a proposed sequel that I will probably wait to see at a discount showing. What I do have an opinion about is the unique and special time we live in now where the stories and characters that we, as geeks, cultivated and enjoyed throughout our formative years are finally being represented positively and embraced by wider audiences. It’s taken a long time in cinema for there to be a series of films that took characters who leapt off the page and into our imaginations to not be made for cheap, not be ridiculed for quality and to take both the source material and the fans who read it seriously.
One of the reasons why this culture of comic book movies has been successful is because everyone involved in the production of these films is first and foremost, a fan. Even the ones who didn’t start off as such have found ways to embrace the aspect of the fandom that they find themselves involved in. You can see those moments on social media with Brie Larson or Benedict Cumberbatch picking up and reading the comics about their characters for research purposes.
Honestly, I think Mel Gibson is an amazing director. Braveheart is and will continue to be a staple of my collection. If there is one thing that the man can do is craft a scene and move the camera. That being said, I think hiring Mel Gibson to direct the sequel to Suicide Squad is a horrible idea and possibly the biggest indicator that Warner Brothers is in the weeds about what to do with the DC Comics universe. Here are some of the reasons I believe this to be true.
We Don’t Need Another Ego!!!
As much as we comic book and comic book movie fans talk about the big named cinematic auteurs that we would love to see take on our favorite comic book heroes, there is one problem with that scenario: Ego. As much as I would love to envision Quentin Tarantino’s version of Luke Cage, I don’t want to see it. I want to see Luke Cage. I go to a comic book movie to see a comic book character. I didn’t go see Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange last year. I didn’t spend my money to see The Russo Brothers present Captain America: Civil War. The directors that Marvel employs have a really good track record of letting their work be what they are judged by and not their personalities. I don’t want to see Mel Gibson’s Suicide Squad. I want to see Suicide Squad. As good a director as Mel Gibson is, there is way too much of his ego in his films to be ignored.
Pretty much every film he makes is a personal “passion project”. It’s almost impossible to think that he could fake his passion for a comic book movie and is that really a film you would like to see?
Lethal Weapon V: His Mouth!!!
Mel Gibson does not want to direct a comic book movie. He has stated so publically. If he meant it, fine. I can live with his decision and move on safe in the knowledge that I never have to worry about a character I enjoy being put into the hands of someone who doesn’t want to bring forth the best version of that character. If his public statements aren’t true, then he’s disingenuous at best and a hypocrite at worst. Making him someone I would never want to be around a comic book character that I enjoyed. Mel Gibson said this to Entertainment Weekly last year.
“Do you know what the difference between real superheroes and comic book superheroes is? Real superheroes didn’t wear spandex.”
But hot ass non-functional leather in the desert is perfectly fine.
Gibson, who has spent a career starring in violent films had this to say about Marvel movies to the Washington Post.
“To talk about the violence question, look at any Marvel movie. They’re more violent than anything that I’ve done, but [in my movies,] you give a s— about the characters, which makes it matter more. That’s all I’ll say.
This is the guy Warner Brothers is thinking of giving a crack at Suicide Squad. If any reporter on a junket is worth their expense account, they would be asking him the question why. Why would he want to direct a movie about “fake” heroes who people don’t “give a s- about”? There wouldn’t be a satisfactory answer if the man had any integrity, which I happen to believe that he does.
DC Films = Apocalypto
I’m not talking about the 2006 film about the fall of the Mayan civilization. I’m talking about the seemingly self-inflicted damage that Warner Brothers keeps heaping on themselves with how they are handling the DC Comics universe of films. With the growing series of high-profile problems plaguing the productions of The Batman solo film and The Flash, I can see how a high-profile name like Mel Gibson could instill confidence in your shareholders and investors, but you can’t right the ship and stay on the same foolish course. Your entire slate needs to be taken in a new direction and for the reasons I mentioned above, Mel Gibson is not the guy to right the ship.
If he can overcome his own ego, at best, he can deliver another mediocre Suicide Squad film. At worst, his ego, demands and “vision” will continue the current trajectory that DC Films finds itself in when it comes to the rest of their slate of films. I would tell Warner Brothers to take a step back and look at the problems with DC Films objectively. Take a good look at the things that are not working and come up with an overall plan for your films. The first thing you can do is not hire a director for anything until they can pitch the film to you with a vision that emphasizes the characters. I don’t think Mel Gibson can do that.