Mel Gibson is back in the news again, but this time it’s only about his abilities as a filmmaker. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny Gibson is supremely talented in front of and behind the camera. His latest work, Hacksaw Ridge, was one of the best films of 2016 and yet another crown jewel in his impressive filmography as a director. News broke recently that Warner Bros. is eyeing Gibson to helm a potential sequel to Suicide Squad. Now, nothing has been confirmed yet, but Gibson did reveal that talks are indeed underway and he has plenty of ideas for the movie.
If Gibson does end up directing Suicide Squad 2, it would be perhaps one of the strangest and shocking developments in the movie industry. Not too long ago, around the time Hacksaw Ridge opened in theatres in early November, the director criticized comic book films. Gibson believes that Marvel and DC movies are more violent than any of his films as they usually contain violence without a conscience. There’s no meaning or depth behind all of that destruction in these superhero movies, according to Gibson. Following all of this, for him to actually agree to helm a sequel to one of the most hated films in the genre is quite interesting to say the least. Especially considering the first Suicide Squad is littered with brainless action set pieces that don’t carry any emotional weight.
Plenty of people are strongly opposed to Gibson joining the DCEU and for Warner Bros. giving Gibson creative control over characters like Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and the Joker. But, behind all of that hatred for the man that many people share, this just might be a brilliant move by Warner Bros., and one that could potentially save their fledgling comic book cinematic universe.
There are numerous different things Gibson could bring to these DC films, and he’ll most certainly add elements Warner Bros. desperately needs. For one, Gibson has a knack for telling his stories through the perspective of one character. In nearly all of his films there’s a strong and well-written protagonist that viewers can root for and understand, and these characters are often highly flawed. If there’s one story element that Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad have failed to nail, it’s having relatable and nuanced characters.
Aside from Ben Affleck’s Batman, all of the DC heroes have been handled poorly, especially Superman. Clark Kent, despite star Henry Cavill doing the best he can to elevate the character, has come off feeling like a depressed and annoying man-child. This version of the character is a far cry from Christopher Reeves’ excellent performance in the original Superman films. The Man of Steel needs to be upbeat and hopeful to counteract the more brooding tone of Bruce Wayne.
Mel Gibson has the ability to focus on a single DC character and make them shine. In Braveheart, Gibson’s William Wallace is an important historical figure. The filmmaker manages to make the audiences feel Wallace’s rage and pain, and understand his decision to lead an uprising against the elite. Similarly with Hacksaw Ridge, which showcases the unusual moral dilemmas that Desmond T. Doss faces. He wants to participate in The Second World War, but refuses to fire a weapon, and the viewer always understands why Doss decides to make these tough choices.
Gibson has plenty of excellent DC characters to play around with in Suicide Squad, from Harley Quinn and Boomerang to perhaps the one anti-hero best fit for Gibson’s filmmaking style: Deadshot. Will Smith’s master assassin is a confused and flawed individual that wants to care for his family, but has to commit crimes and murder to do so.
Given the time and resources, Gibson can certainly pull off some interesting storytelling with Deadshot. At first glance, Gibson might seem like a terrible next move for Warner Bros. in its attempt to save its DCEU, but the more you think about this directing choice, the more it’s easier to understand why Gibson might be a great fit.