Before James Gunn’s Suicide Squad: Revisiting David Ayer’s 2016 Movie And What Goes Wrong


While James Gunn’s Suicide Squad, starring Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Pete Davidson, Sylvester Stallone and Nathan Fillion, posts largely positive reviews, it promises to redeem David Ayer’s 2016 attempt. is palpable as critics are praising him for being skillful and satirical, here is the memory of the film’s first attempt.

David Ayer caught our attention when the trailer for his Suicide Squad (2016) was released. An assemblage of our favorite villains sent on a deadly mission – it couldn’t get better. The tale seemed straightforward, as it seemed like a new comic book take on Dirty Dozen, where the bad guys reunited. Well, unfortunately the result was a rather confusing and haphazard film with choppy editing, possibly due to studio interference or a tight schedule. Ayer’s fans firmly maintain that there was a lot left on the editing table and that the film had more reach.

Unanimous Suicide Squad received negative reviews with an aggregate of 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.


What really went wrong with David Ayer’s film?

The tone

Harley quinn (Photo: Warner Bros)

There was a solid cast including Will Smith in Deadshot, Margot Robbie in Harley Quinn, Jay Hernandez in El Diablo, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Killer Croc who is reduced to a simple cameo. Yet despite having powerful ideas and characters at its disposal, the film got lost in showing how good it is to be bad. He tried to step away from the obscurity of Batman Vs Superman and adopt a lighter tone, and the end result was that it wasn’t funny or dark. The film is halfway between a dark and sinister comic book flick and a very colorful tale about a gang of criminals. Sometimes there are flashes that work, but it’s even more frustrating. There are some good points of humor in the movie, mostly in the form of iconic dialogue delivered by Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, to be fair. But that’s about all.

Suicide Squad would have been a lot more cohesive had it been just one tone, rather than trying everything all at once.


Introducing the characters

Suicide Squad (Photo: Warner Bros)

Naturally, the film had a large cast to present, which the film insists on doing several times, almost a third of the film goes through this framing device. Why did we have to see Deadshot featured three times? Katana appears with virtually no introduction, and he’s someone we would have liked to hear about.

After Amanda Waller pitched her idea for Task Force X, she introduces each character in one go with a lengthy edit. There’s hardly any room for character development as the movie throws in a lot of bios and doesn’t wait for us to ruminate on it. When executed well, this constant movement in time makes a good story. However, in Suicide Squad, this method puts a brake on narrative works. Every now and then we learn a detail or two about the character’s backstory, such as how Harley Quinn was manipulated by the Joker, but this story arc remains blank. It also makes the movie more predictable.

The film collapsed under the weight of its own underdeveloped characters.

The real villain?

Enchantress (Photo: Warner Bros)

Suicide Squad has given us a new Joker, in the form of Jared Leto. The Clown Prince is one of the most deliciously notorious villains of all time, and yet, ironically, he has no place in Suicide Squad. The movie establishes Joker’s toxic relationship with Harley Quinn, but that’s it and he’s out of the story in no time. So without the Joker, we have the Enchantress as our main villain, except that she doesn’t have a personality or character in the movie, and is just that ethereal being. Viola Davis was the star here, and maybe if the film had focused more on her, the film certainly would have made more sense.

The problem with the Joker

Jared leto (Photo: Warner Bros)

For months leading up to release, the creators of Suicide Squad determined us with determination how Jared Leto was gnawing at the character. He was so engrossed in making up The Joker that Will Smith once claimed he had never “met” Jared Leto on set. So forgive us for the expectations we had, because the only memorable thing about Leto’s performance is that he was totally forgettable. There were those who worried if he would match up with Heath Ledger’s masterclass performance in The Dark Knight, but sadly Leto did nothing to stand out or at least make an attempt. However, Leto insists that a lot of his scenes got lost during editing, and fans raised the banner for “Release The Ayer Cut” to see what he was actually capable of.

The final act

The last hour of the film is exhausting and long. The heroes / villains spend an hour fighting the main villain, and it ends with the weapons being pulled out, making you wonder why it wasn’t done to begin with. The last sequence is so flat and generic, you just wanted the movie to end quickly

Hopefully, the James Gunn reboot corrects these errors in judgment.


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