You all raced out to see this, I’m sure, so spoilers ahoy. I’ll confine my remarks to bullet points but I saw this at a Sunday MORNING matinee and the theater was packed.
• This was basically an hour-long music video followed by a fight scene. The villain was a woman who had been possessed by her own eyebrows. It wasn’t as bad as some have said, but it wasn’t good by any stretch of the imagination. I am willing to agree that there was an element of “fun” to seeing this film. The many cooks stirring the stew pot were all too evident. Also a bunch of unconfirmed (but plausible) deleted and/or recut scenes give an idea of what the film was like in the first cut. Comicbook.com has the best write-up with more information from the novelization. Perhaps the most interesting (again unconfirmed) element is that in the first version Harley rejects the Joker to stick with her new friends, which would have been an actual, and satisfying character arc for her. However, I find it hard to believe that any version would have broken up the power couple of Joker/Harley…although it does match the current comics incarnation.
• But when she took off her “Puddin'” choker, that was the only really sad moment in the movie, as far as I’m concerned. IN the version shown it’s because she thought the Joker was dead, but imagine if it had been because she realized this abusive relationship was sick and dangerous to her. That’s what I imagined in my mind, anyway.
• The plot was pretty simple to follow, really, if you know the characters from beforehand. What was confusing (to me) was the action scenes which were basically incomprehensible. I haven’t seen director David Ayer’s other movie so no idea if he normally has a better handle on it. CGI in the dark and rain is typical, though.
• Of all the supposed deleted scenes the one I’m happiest was removed is the one where Killer Croc eats some meat he puked up. Earlier versions also made Slipknot a rapist and Capt. Boomerang a racist/sexist asshat. Really glad all that was cut out.
• On the other hand, Viola Davis portraying Amanda Waller’s steak eating was totally on point.
• Poor Slipknot. I had to check to make sure he wasn’t wearing a red shirt.
• I had to wonder if Jai Courtney was cast AFTER Tom Hardy bugged out of playing Rick Flagg (Supposedly because he didn’t like the script) because then you would have had TWO guys from Australia who look a lot alike, and that would have been confusing.
• I did not buy that scene where Batman tries to capture Deadshot in front of Deadshot’s kid. In an alley. That is the ONE THING Batman would never, ever do.
• Margot Robbie was the perfect Harley (although her accent was a bit all over the place) but ugh, what a badly written, male gaze-inflected character. Jared Leto’s Joker was really annoying, but in real life the Joker would be really annoying, so maybe it was more realistic than we thought.
• Although the drop off from Friday to Saturday was steep (41%) the movie is s big hit and hopefully Suicide Squad 2 will be the funny, wise-cracking movie that people expected. I’m not sure Ayer is the person to deliver that movie, so that should be interesting.
• It is very interesting to compare SS to Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy. Really, it all comes down to the script. Deadpool and GotG had a lot more time to write good scripts, and that’s why they are better movies. Plus, you had studios that believed in the source materials. I know I’ve said this a billion times, but WB’s previous regimes didn’t like superheroes, and thought the only thing that makes them palatable was being dark and cerebral like Nolan’s Batman movies. That why everything has been so dark and gloomy until now. The new Berg/Johns/Affleck team should be able to get the ship back on course, though. Lessened input from producer Charles Roven will also help. The one thing I’m MOST curious about is just who wrote the script to Wonder Woman and when. The script is now credited to Johns and Allen Heinberg from a story by Zack Snyder and Heinberg. Seems straightforward, except that the credits of the script were kept secret until just before Comic-Con. Which is really weird. The story had been kicked around by every screenwriter in town, it seems, and I suspect there’s a little more archaeology to it. The Wonder Woman trailer, which they showed again before Suicide Squad, is just a delight though, with exactly the right tone. Hope all the good bits weren’t in the trailer. But as Variety’s Brett Lang bluntly put it, ‘Suicide Squad’ Is a Hit, But DC Needs to Start Making Better Movies.
• Enchantress was the worst thing ever. Ayer sure has a thing for women with hair over their face.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.