James Gunn's 'The Suicide Squad' is More Than Just DC's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' [Set Visit]

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, director James Gunn gave us the misfit team of cosmic criminals known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, and he gave them a rockin’ soundtrack too. Now the filmmaker is tackling another ragtag group of comic book characters with the DC Comics adaptation The Suicide Squad. Even though this film is guaranteed to give us plenty of comic book action and an assembly of morally questionable characters at the center of it, producer Peter Safran says The Suicide Squad will be much more than DC’s version of Guardians of the Galaxy, and James Gunn couldn’t agree more.

It’s easy to see why The Suicide Squad is already getting compared to Guardians of the Galaxy. It will have plenty of comedy mixed in the with the blockbuster action, an assembly of unique characters, including a couple sure-to-be-popular non-human ones, and a soundtrack full of toe-tapping needledrops. But while our own Hoai-Tran Bui was on the set of The Suicide Squad, she learned about the many ways this movie will differ from Guardians of the Galaxy. Producer Peter Safran said:

“I think it’s so different than Guardians of the Galaxy just in terms of how grounded it is. Obviously, you still have a King Shark and a Weasel but it’s so grounded in the real world. It’s so grounded in Earth as opposed to the space operative that Guardians is. So that and the fact that it’s so much grittier that it is R-rated, and the way it’s shot, you’ll see, is very different than Guardians. It’s not as smooth or as slick as Guardians.”

James Gunn echoed those sentiments, describing The Suicide Squad as being rougher than Guardians of the Galaxy. The director also said:

“It really is a war [film]. I mean, it is just a more grounded story. It’s a sad story. And one of the most fun things I think at the end of the day, even though we do kill in Guardians of the Galaxy, we do kill some of them, but in this movie, it really is about you don’t know who’s going to get killed.”

Behind the Scenes

Helping to make The Suicide Squad stand apart from Guardians of the Galaxy is the crew behind the camera. Safran called attention to the cinematography being done by Henry Braham and how it adds to the grittier style of the film. Even though Braham also shot Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for James Gunn, the producer said:

“It’s much dirtier, and grittier, and rougher just in terms of the camera with the same fantastic [cinematographer], Henry Braham. It’s a very different language with the movement of the camera that he wanted for this movie. So no, I don’t think it was any question that it was just DC’s version of Guardians. It’s a very different feel.”

Also coming over from the Marvel side is another crew member who gave the film a different vibe than the work done on Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers. Gunn explained:

“Everything is…completely practical, you know, the biggest sets ever on any film. More visual..I was able to take all the heads of departments that I’ve used on other films and kind of just do a Best Of. Dan Sudick is doing special effects, and he’s doing more special effects or live special effects in this film than all the Marvel movies combined. And so it’s just a much more grounded, darker film.”

These Really Are Bad Guys

But perhaps the biggest difference between The Suicide Squad and Guardians of the Galaxy comes from the characters themselves. Even though the Guardians can be rough around the edges and have committed plenty of crimes across the galaxy, each of them is actually good at their core. But James Gunn says the roster of The Suicide Squad is a little more complicated. The director explained:

“Some of these characters may end up being good. Some of them are definitely not good. And some of them, most of them, are somewhere in between different shades of grey. And that moral drama, that moral play, the fact that you don’t know anything that’s going to happen is…it’s that unknown of being on edge that it’s really not knowing what’s going to happen is much different.”

James Gunn certainly has an eclectic filmography outside of Guardians of the Galaxy, so if there’s anyone who can veer away from the style of comic book movie that fans might be expecting, it’s him. We’re sure he’ll help make the next wave of DC Comics movies stand out from not just the growing pack of Marvel movies, but the rest of the DC Comics movies that came before.

The Suicide Squad arrives in theaters and on HBO Max (for 31 days) starting on August 6, 2021.

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