The new Suicide Squad movie is out, reviews are in, and audiences and critics alike are not favoring the long-awaited film that zeroes in on some of the most beloved and classic Batman villains of all time, such as Deadshot, Killer Croc, Harley Quinn, and, of course, The Joker. After Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t fare as well as studios would have hoped either, studios actually reshot a lot of Suicide Squad in hopes of lightening the tone and giving viewers what they complained was missing from the superhero team-up movie; apparently, they missed the mark yet again.
So what went wrong this time? Critics of Man of Steel said the tone was too dark; then critics of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice argued that not only was it too dark, but it took itself entirely too seriously. Well, the previews don’t make it look like these villains take themselves too seriously – at least not villains like the clearly psycho Harley Quinn or the manic Joker. Perhaps you were worried that fans of the comics might have thrown fits about how characters were brought to life? Actually most comic book (and video game) fans have loved most character designs and how they’ve been cast and embodied by the actors; each villain has their appropriate insane flair that adheres to the comic descriptions while it also has a unique touch by the actor.
So where are the problems? Is this movie worth seeing or not? Where did it go wrong? We’ll break it down for you: here are the fifteen blunders made in Suicide Squad…
[Suicide Squad spoilers lie ahead, puddin’]
15. David Ayer
Writer/director David Ayer isn’t exactly known for his lighthearted films. After a record of films like Fury, Training Day, and End of Watch, a goofy romp through villainous tyranny doesn’t really sound like his style, does it? They might have been better off seeking out a director like Edgar Wright, or even pulling Zack Snyder over from the Man of Steel movies. However, none of that is to say that David’s not a good director; David Ayer is a damn good director. It’s not all David’s fault this didn’t work out. David was asked to write and direct a movie about the villains of the Suicide Squad, a comic book invention of John Ostrander. Studios then asked him to make it fit into the Justice League franchise. Then he was told to make it dark and gory, but still potentially family friendly (whatever that means). Then, after Batman v. Superman performed under par, he was told to make it more lighthearted. Even the best of directors would have struggled to produce a successful movie under those conditions! Even if you end up hating the Suicide Squad movie, we recommend viewing the director’s cut once the movie hits DVDs; David surely worked some wonders that couldn’t be brought to the big screen.
14. Batman Should’ve Showed Up More
One of the best parts of the movie is when our favorite anti-hero (or maybe she’s more like an anti-villain; at this point, it’s hard to tell), Amanda Waller, briefs Admiral Olson on who this squad of meta-humans would consist of. As she does, we get to see flashbacks of criminals like Harley Quinn, The Joker, and Deadshot doing what they do best before getting caught by the big bad Batfleck (that’s Ben Affleck’s Batman, in layman’s terms). It’s awesome because we get to see Batman in snip-its of what must have been some of his greatest criminal confrontations. Catching Harley Quinn almost cost him his life! Finally cuffing Deadshot was the most emotional but righteous arrest Batman might’ve made throughout his career! Yet, that’s about all we get to see of Batman; twenty minutes into the movie and we’re done seeing the bat-suit. It was pretty lame that we had this grand opportunity to see Batman hard at work, not when it had to do with Superman, and we barely got to see a glimpse.
13. Diablo Didn’t Get Enough Screen Time
Diablo is perhaps one of the most interesting members of the Suicide Squad, though we didn’t get to see much of him. He’s one of the few designated “meta-humans” that actually has superpowers -think about it: Harley just shoots guns, Deadshot just shoots guns, Captain Boomerang just… throws a boomerang. The young arsonist filled with regret and fear over what he has done is one of the most complex members of the squad because he’s not a psychopath and he’s not a serial killer: he’s a man that can’t control the powers he’s been damned to have. He’s an awesome character that deserves way better than anyone else on his team (which makes the ending for the team even more of a bummer for him). Yet, he was given so little screen time that we barely know his backstory and why he was thrown in with the baddest of the bad in the first place!
12. Katana REALLY Didn’t Get Enough Screen Time
Katana has been around the DC comic universe since the 1980s, but she’s never been brought into the folds of a movie or even a video game until now. The Japanese warrior, fighting with the soul of her murdered husband in her sword, is one tough chick and has been brought on by Amanda Waller and Rick Flag to help keep the Suicide Squad villains in check as they complete their mission. When she was introduced, audiences got excited: alright, we’re going to infuse some cool martial arts fights and see some sword slashing action, right?
Wrong. Katana was hardly used in the film and ended up looking more like Flag’s lackey than a competent hero. For a character that was brought into the fold to be a threatening force on the good guy’s side, Katana wasn’t given enough screen time, lines, or action to pose any real kind of threat to anyone. Disappointing, to say the least.
11. Killer Croc – Why Killer Croc?
We know: Killer Croc is one of the most iconic villains of the Batman universe. Waylon Jones, the boy who grew up with a strange genetic condition giving him some of the appearance and abilities of a crocodile, is one of the most famous Batman villains, right up there with Joker, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Two Face, and Penguin. It makes sense that he should be included, but did he have to be? The makeup was tacky, the CGI was corny, and the entire combination was downright unbelievable.
Don’t get us wrong, the actor who played Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) is an amazing actor that deserves all of our love. But the very manner in which Killer Croc was included was so flawed from the start, how could anyone have thought it was a good idea? Every time he opened his mouth to speak, we’d roll our eyes and think “WHY ARE YOU HERE?”
10. Rick Flag Wasn’t a Good Enough Anti-Hero for the Squad to Rally Behind
Joel Kinnaman joined the cast as Rick Flag, a Special Forces operative working directly for Amanda Waller (interesting fact, Tom Hardy was slated to play the role before dropping out to be in The Revenant). He is tasked with the duty of leading “Task Force X” (better known to us as the Suicide Squad) to stop the Enchantress, the bad guy of the week, who has possessed his girlfriend’s body. Writers hoped making the mission personal to Rick Flag would be enough to explain why the Suicide Squad rallies to his cause but we’re not buying it. There are no apparent and good reasons why any of the villains in the squad, especially the ones more excited about going rogue like Captain Boomerang, would stay and fight for Flag. Since Deadshot could kill Flag and his stooges in seconds before they could tamper with his explosive implant, why wouldn’t he? We’re not buying it, over here.
9. Vague World-Destroying Machine
To explain what we’re talking about without spoiling too much, the villainous Enchantress finds her brother and tells him that, though they used to be worshiped as Gods by human, humans had since turned to machines as their new deities (“You worship technology too much!” says the studios asking us to spend our money on movies and home cinemas). To regain control over humanity, she insists her brother help her build a machine that will destroy humanity so they reestablish domain.
Okay… wait, what? Go back a sec. You’re going to speedily create some elusive machine, even though you just popped out of an ancient relic found in a cave and have never seen a motherboard before, whose purpose will be to decimate the human population… the same one you intend to rule after it’s gone? There must be something we’re losing in translation here because none of this is making sense.
8. Super-Villian Was Genuinely Creepy – Until She Was Overexposed
It’s hard to make super-villains truthfully scary. Usually they have to be tame enough to be family friendly, like the heroes that will beat them, or at least make them human enough to give them lines that sound convincing. That’s why Captain America’s Red Skull and Batman’s Penguin are hard characters to ever put in live-action film: it’s hard to find actors that can portray the physical horrors while also stepping up to the acting challenge.
Cara Delevingne, though, was given an amazing opportunity. She played Enchantress, an ancient deity that possessed the body of her other role, June Moone. In the beginning, Enchantress is nothing short of terrifying. Reminding us of characters from The Grudge and The Ring, Enchantress creeps around in the shadows and appears in places she shouldn’t be. Then, they suddenly gave her a ton of screen time and gave her scenes in the daylight and got her talking in a boring “AREN’T I SO POWERFUL” voice and she was no longer scary at all. Enchantress could have had a mysterious and terrifying part, lurking in the shadows around the Suicide Squad, but instead she was easily fought and trumped.
7. Supervillain That Can be Defeated by… Lotsa Guns and Big Explosions
Task Force X, aka the Suicide Squad, was called in because there was a “meta-human terrorist event occurring in Midway.” National guard troops, local police officers, and all civilians on the ground throughout the city were evacuated in what seemed like only a couple of hours (totally unbelievable, but props to the imaginary police force somehow able to accomplish such a feat) to make way for Task Force X to come in and stop the meta-human. How would they do it? With superpowers? X-ray vision? A BATMOBILE?
Nope. They used a lot of guns, two moderately sized explosions, a boomerang, and one guy with fire spewing superpowers that could’ve been replaced by a flame thrower. Why was it necessary to call them in? It really seems like normal national guard troops could have handled this or like there had to be somebody better for the job on standby…
6. World Might End… Um, Where Are the Superheroes?
Speaking of which, where the hell is Batman? Where are all the superheroes, for that matter? This movie takes place just after Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, so we know Superman’s dead (or something like it) and can’t come to the city’s aid. But what about Batman? He’s gotta be nearby, since these are all his bad guys he’s helped put away, with the exception of Captain Boomerang, who Flash locked up. Also, where’s the Flash? Where’s Wonder Woman? Cyborg? Aquaman?? NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON?! ANYONE?!
Seriously, why have none of the superheroes shown up? There’s a mysterious floating ring of garbage in the sky that’s apparently indicative of a cataclysmic machine preparing to do no good. The government is beyond involved, and it appears that Enchantress knocks out global communications at some point. This seems like something that might pique Bruce’s interest. Where are they all? Too busy on their own film sets to help save the world??
5. Inconsistent Dialects
Oh, yeah. We’re coming for you Captain Boomerang.
Known for his altercations with The Flash, Boomerang is from Australia (who’d have guessed) and has a thick Australian accent. Yet Jai Courtney, the actor portraying Digger Harkness, didn’t always have an Australian accent. It went in and out so noticeably that sometimes we wondered if he knew his character history.
But we won’t be too mean to Jai – he wasn’t the only actor that couldn’t figure out if they should stick with the dialect or not. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje also suffered, sometimes speaking with a thick southern accent sometimes and other times speaking in monosyllabic starts as if speaking was hard for the half-man/half-crocodile. Even Margo Robbie struggled as Harley Quinn: sometimes she had down a great Brooklyn accent, other times she was totally non-regional. It’s okay, ladies and gents, we don’t demand perfection… but some time practicing your dialects couldn’t have hurt.
4. Reshoots Cut Out Most of The Joker
We were all tentative and a bit cautious when Jared Leto was announced to play The Joker. It’s not that Jared’s a bad actor, not at all: he’s done some amazing work in films like Requiem for a Dream, Dallas Buyers Club, and Mr. Nobody. We were nervous because the last amazing actor that played The Joker, Heath Ledger, was so intent on getting into the mind of the character that it killed him. We got even more scared when Jared started method acting as well: he’s sent threats disguised as gifts to many of his cast members and bullets as love notes to Harley Quinn actress Margot Robbie. Truth is, Jared’s taken the role very seriously and it shows in his performance. While he’s a very different Joker, he’s very terrifying.
Unfortunately for us, we don’t get to see a whole lot of him. His character is woven in and out of the plot, mostly so we can see Harley Quinn being mushy with her puddin’. Originally, Joker was much more present in the film but reshoots and edits mandated a lot of his screen time be cut. We’re hopeful that maybe he’ll make more of a commanding appearance in the director’s cut.
3. Flashbacks Were Random and Transitions Bumpy
Another horrible side effect of the many reshoots and edits made to the film in the final stages of post-production is that the many flashbacks, which are essential to the story for the detailed information about the criminals and where they came from, don’t seem to fit in at all. There’s one well done sequence early in the film narrated and explained by character Amanda Waller that gives some insight to the histories of all the characters we will come to know, but that’s the end of flashbacks making sense. They appear out of nowhere and, while we as audience members can identify the gimmick, we’re still left looking around the theater wondering, “where did this come from?” For instance, Harley Quinn is at one point climbing a set of stairs, looks down, and has this random flashback to giving herself over to the Joker. It’s entirely out of place, makes no sense, and barely helps drive the story forward.
2. Harley Quinn and Joker are not #RelationshipGoals
If there’s been any positive reaction coming out of Suicide Squad fans, it’s how much they loved Margot Robbie and Harley Quinn. She’s adorable, sexy, spunky, and a very faithful girlfriend. Plus, her relationship with Joker, as portrayed in this film, can at times appear almost sweet. “Aren’t Joker and Harley so cute?!” “It’s awesome that even villains fall in love!” “They’re so perfect for each other.”
NO. There is nothing cute, adorable, or perfect about Harley Quinn and Jokers’ relationship. Joker, a psychopathic killer, has manipulated a promising, young doctor into being his confidant, henchman, lackey, and sex slave and, worst part about it all, he barely cares about her. He almost lets her drown in a vat of chemicals in the movie! Harley wants a normal life, but Joker has robbed her of any chances she’ll ever get at that. The main romance of this film was Harley and Jokers’, and it’s nothing that any healthy couple should aspire to (outside of maybe Halloween costume ideas or interesting bedroom role-playing).
1. Suicide Squad Could Have Been DC’s Version of Guardians of the Galaxy
Think about it. Both movies involve a group of outlaws: Star Lord, Gamora, and Drax in one, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang in the other. Neither group can really be trusted to behave on a good day: Harley likes to refuse food, Star Lord likes to take black market bounties. Both groups are entrusted with tremendous, world (and potentially universe) saving responsibilities mostly because, if they don’t do it, who else will? And in the end both groups pull through, somehow heroes though still bad to the bone, sure to commit more crimes in the future though darn it, they’re so sweet. Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad are essentially the same movie. Both are intended to tie in to their respective superhero sagas (Guardians will eventually tie into The Avengers while Suicide Squad has already begun tying back to Justice League) and be lighthearted side tracks to the sometimes heavy superhero movies that make up most of the brand.
Yet, Suicide Squad isn’t and will never be as successful as Guardians of the Galaxy was. Why? For the same reason all the other Justice League movies thus far haven’t been as successful as The Avengers’ have been. By whatever misfortune, DC just hasn’t found the writers to perfectly balance humor with dark threats of tragedy, and they haven’t been able to figure out how to make the imaginary worlds of these heroes real to us. Hopefully the Justice League movie will help make up for audiences disenchanted by this failure to launch.