In the final moments of the movie, Suicide Squad found its pulse. While the individual parts may have comprised a less than perfect whole, this newest addition to the DCEU teased exciting new elements and left much to be desired. To be fair, the juggernaut marketing campaign for Suicide Squad established nearly insatiable expectations for the movie: Jared Leto’s Joker seemed to be more central to the plot than the film ultimately delivered, and there was hardly a mention of the supernatural villain that would dominate two-thirds of the film.
While we can hem and haw over expectations vs reality, we have a growing wishlist for ways the inevitable Suicide Squad sequel can improve upon the original and make its mark in the DC Universe. From embracing its darker tone, to giving Harley Quinn more playtime and letting David Ayer cut loose, we’re confident the follow-up will fulfill its potential.
These are 15 Things We Want To See Change In The Suicide Squad Sequel:
15. Live Up To The Title
As predicted, Slipknot holds the record for briefest membership in the squad. At Captain Boomerang’s insistence, he tried to grapple his way out of the mayhem, but Rick Flag didn’t even blink before bursting his head. In the words of Rihanna, this is what we came for. Other than Slipknot’s shockingly fast death and El Diablo’s sacrifice, Suicide Squad hardly convinced us that the rest of the team was in danger. Deadshot seemed destined to survive, Captain Boomerang was seldom in a precarious position, and nobody was going to get past Katana’s soul-taking sword. How did Killer Croc even survive the movie?
Suicide Squad 2 should embrace its title and live up to our morbid expectations. We want to see a movie where our heroes aren’t guaranteed to survive, the sort of uncertain reality that Game of Thrones has so effectively created. David Ayer built a real-life suicide squad with the tank crew in Fury, so we know he’s capable of translating that to the DCEU.
14. More Iconic Cinematography
While Suicide Squad had plenty of technical prowess behind the camera, it lacked the “right stuff” that makes movies stick in our collective consciousness. Perhaps we should blame the bevy of anti-heroes and the hordes of nameless, faceless enemies, but the “hero” shots used to turn protagonists into veritable demigods were notably absent in Suicide Squad.
Sure, several characters received closeups and plenty of face time, but there was a palpable dearth of iconic framing and cinematography, the visceral imagery we’ve come to expect from superhero films. Think of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man with the American flag in the foreground, Nolan’s Batman with the world crumbling around him, or even Snyder’s Superman in a Christ-like pose. The Suicide Squad sequel should add those doses of grandeur to not only ensure the film fits within the increasingly epic DCEU, but to give audiences an opportunity to lionize the heroes and bask in their glory.
13. More Diverse Locales
It doesn’t need to go to Themyscira, but Suicide Squad 2 would be wise to open its borders beyond Midway City. While the film took total advantage of its urban location, Suicide Squad often felt more parochial than we might have hoped. Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice created enormous worlds with the labyrinthine cities that have become so integral to the DCEU.
On another note, where were the civilians in Midway City? We know there was an evacuation in effect, but outside of the subway sequence that saw the (re)birth of Enchantress’ brother, Incubus, Midway City seemed like the abandoned backdrop in an episode of The Walking Dead, without even the occasional squatters determined to stay in their homes. Between Belle Reve and the city-streets of Midway, Suicide Squad had a limited array of locations in its arsenal. The sequel shouldn’t necessarily abandon its home turf, but it would undoubtedly benefit from a more diverse selection of settings.
12. Way More Harley + Joker
The Clown Prince of Crime finally made it onscreen with his utterly bonkers lady love, Harley Quinn. Together, we think David Ayer, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie absolutely nailed their adaptations of the beloved characters. From their first meeting as psychiatrist and patient to the infant stages of their abnormal and abusive relationship, Leto and Robbie scorched the screen. As the most warped couple in comics history, the actors made their characters’ bizarre relationship feel genuine. Somehow, diving into an acid vat seemed more romantically sacrificial than mentally insane.
However you slice it, Suicide Squad tested the waters of the Harley Quinn/Joker relationship and determined that we’re gonna need a bigger boat. They are corrosive in the best of ways, and while the Joker was over-marketed and under-featured in the film, perhaps their chemistry was simply too dynamic for the maiden voyage. If Suicide Squad 2 turns their tangential plot line into a central story, however, we certainly won’t complain.
11. Fully-Integrated DC Universe
Deadshot and Captain Boomerang both won the Justice League lottery in Suicide Squad. Though Batman and the Flash’s cameos were all too short, they demonstrated the overarching (albeit early) success of the DCEU. We may have just met Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen at Comic-Con, but The Flash has already become a fixture of the fast-growing universe. As for the Dark Knight, his role as a watchful guardian of Gotham and beyond was confirmed in the mid-credits sequence with Amanda Waller. Bruce Wayne may be willing to shut down Task Force X, but Waller knows how to pay off one of the richest men in the world: hook him up with people even more preternaturally gifted than himself.
In Suicide Squad 2, let’s hope we see an even more sublimely integrated universe with the Justice League. There is beauty in keeping the stories separate, as Suicide Squad admirably achieved, but more overlap may be even better when the sequel rolls around.
10. A Stronger Villain
In a movie filled with anti-heroes, it was easy to forget about the need for a Big Bad villain. Indeed, the expert marketing for Suicide Squad sold us on the “skwad” and promised some compelling action scenes to boot. Enchantress, creepy and wicked as she may be, seemed to be a part of the team. As the movie quickly revealed, however, June Moon/Enchantress was the true wild card of the movie, striving to regain her stolen heart and give life to her ancient brother, Incubus.
Suicide Squad might have benefited from revealing the full extent of Enchantress’ role further ahead of the film’s release. Withholding clues about her power made for quite the surprise when she essentially turned Midway City into a black magic mecca of ancient rituals and voodoo straight out of Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom.
Rather than fighting one-off enemies on a film-by-film basis, Suicide Squad 2 should consider integrating a villain attached to the larger DCEU. It might not have to be Darkseid, but then again, that could make for one mighty crossover.
9. Amanda Waller Unleashed
While audiences were constantly reminded of the “crazy” squad, Amanda Waller took the cake for the most senseless act in the movie. In front of her expert marksmen, Deadshot and Rick Flag, Waller unloaded on several government employees at point blank range. In a movie constantly traversing dark themes undercut by comedic jokes, this was a moment no humor could save.
Suicide Squad made it abundantly clear that Amanda Waller isn’t just the leader of Task Force X, she’s a villain with the law and the government on her side. Her hand is constantly on the trigger, whether that’s a pistol or the tablet that controls the explosive in her squad’s necks. She means business, and even with Bruce Wayne staring her down and threatening to shut her operation down, she doesn’t bat an eye. Viola Davis brought her thespian expertise to the role, giving Waller a sort of gravitas that truly benefited the overall film.
8. More Squad, Less Deadshot
The charm and magnetism of Will Smith should never be underestimated. In Suicide Squad, Smith dominated the screen and received the most attention. Unfortunately, the movie leaned a bit heavily on the bona-fide star, and lost some of its flavor as a result. As we’ve already discussed, the movie’s marketing seemed to put the squad in the spotlight, while the final cut seemed to play out like a Will Smith action-movie with a robust supporting cast. There’s a reason he got the Batman cameo, the monologues, the scenes with his daughter, and that show-stopping sequence of him unleashing bullet hell from atop an abandoned car.
We love Will Smith, but Suicide Squad 2 could make for a stronger sequel if it fully incorporates Deadshot with the crew and not the other way around. From Boomerang to Katana and Harley Quinn to Killer Croc, there is plenty of fresh material to mine while Deadshot gets his due.
7. Deeper Character Backstories
May he rest in peace, but El Diablo got some of David Ayer’s most affectionate directing in all of Suicide Squad. He may have bit the big one in the Incubus-killing blast, but El Diablo still made his mark through a compelling backstory that revealed the darkness of his past. Having effectively lit his family on fire, El Diablo recounts his story to tearful eyes, making the rest of the Squad feel pretty good about their life choices thus far.
While each of the characters received at least a moment of history, and Boomerang got some quality time in with his pink unicorn, there is plenty of material yet to be explored. Katana’s sword-whispering was chilling and Deadshot’s home-life background was engaging, but Suicide Squad rushed us into this fledgling world without fully introducing its inhabitants. Given their incarceration at Belle Reve, and their mutual penchant for bloodletting, we assume the Squad has a lot in common. The Suicide Squad sequel has a prime opportunity to dig deeper into these characters’ pasts and show us how they got here, why they’re perceived as “crazy,” and how they’ll keep saving the world.
6. Actual Squad Fighting Tactics
Even if they’ve just met each other, modern military contractors know how to work as a team. Because their training roots are similar, they are primed for nearly any circumstance. Why, then, did Suicide Squad skip team bonding exercises or some kind of group activity? The squad became awfully chummy within seconds of meeting one another, but their lack of preparation really showed on the battlefield.
While walking through empty streets and abandoned buildings, the Squad stood upright and yammered about with no appreciation for tactical warfare. Though a Rocky-style training montage would have jumped the shark, Suicide Squad could have used a little extra specificity on the combat front. Considering the film was led by David Ayer, a veteran and expert craftsman of war and law enforcement films, this lack of specificity came as a surprise. Split missions and specific plans of attack could definitely make for a more interesting sequel, now that the team has their first mission under their belt.
5. Commitment to Darker Tone
Deadshot made everything seem like it was going to be alright. Even after Amanda Waller emptied a full clip into her Task Force X staff, Deadshot broke the tension by saying, “that is just a mean lady.” No, she’s a warped, maniacal and totalitarian bureaucrat who just knocked off a handful of innocent people. Unfortunately, the gravity of her actions could hardly sink in before Deadshot dropped a quip to bring the laughs. This was a fundamental issue with the vacillating tone of Suicide Squad.
We’re not calling for a dirge, or some excessively macabre adventure, but we hate to see Suicide Squad wander into the same jokey territory of Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron, where genocide was lightened by Tony Stark’s language censorship. Considering the chthonic nature of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the DCEU will be stronger for adhering to its well-established tone. Earn the humor, don’t use it as a salve to make sure audiences weren’t offended.
4. Stronger Fight Scenes
Say what you will about BvS, but that warehouse fight scene was one for the books. Batman’s punches packed serious hurt, and thanks to Larry Fong’s instinctive cinematography, the audience felt every hit. The action in Suicide Squad, on the other hand, felt surprisingly sanitized. While some viewers have complained about the film’s editing, the larger problem may actually be a lack of both style and substance in the fight scenes. Harley’s baseball bat made for some fun moments (and we’d be happy to see the Louisville Slugger return), but it’s hard to single out any awe-inspiring action scenes from the film. Indeed, Suicide Squad had an approach to fighting like much of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, where smoke and mirrors masked a lack of inventively choreographed combat.
If the squad is as crazy as their reputation tells us, then their action sequences have to measure up. In the sequel, bring on the creative choreography, the visceral fighting and a more devil-may-care approach to war.
3. Give Croc, Katana and Boomerang A Purpose
We understand that large, ensemble movies have a lot of ground to cover and that some characters will inevitably fall through the cracks, but Suicide Squad had more than a few casualties. While Deadshot and Harley Quinn received copious attention, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang and Katana essentially became human props.
Let’s start with the reptile. Other than jamming in a few awkward one-liners, and executing an all-too convenient underwater bomb-plot, Killer Croc was left out to dry. Captain Boomerang hardly lived up to his name, having whipped about only three of his signature weapons throughout the course of the movie. Furthermore, after slyly convincing Slipknot to go rogue, Boomerang essentially lost his edge and became the confidante of the group, a sympathetic ear. As for Katana, the brilliant swordsmith did more standing than slicing, and other than providing occasional cover for Rick Flag, we’d be hard pressed to validate her place on the Task Force X roster.
The good news is, we like these characters. We just want to see them live up to their potential and contribute to the plot and the squad in more compelling ways. Boomerang has an abundance of swagger that needs to be amplified, and Killer Croc is an amphibious human, for goodness sake. Surely his action sequences can be more… animalistic? Throw in some more swashbuckling from Katana, and we’re confident the Suicide Squad sequel will be a huge improvement.
2. More Bad Behavior
While the squad itself is a force for good, the individual members are as wild as they come. Strangely enough, this didn’t really translate to the big screen. He might not have contributed much to the squad’s offensive attacks, but Captain Boomerang gave us a much needed dose of madness. His sneaking a swig of beer mid-battle was one of the best moments in the film, one shared between the Australian pugilist and the audience alone.
Suicide Squad 2 needs much more of this, and less of Rick Flag reminding us how crazy his Task Force X really is. When Harley bashes in a storefront and steals a purse, he bellows, “seriously, what the hell is wrong with you people?” Considering Midway City is in shambles, petty theft is the least scandalous crime this deranged bunch could commit. The sequel needs to live up to the title and let its lead characters cut loose (perhaps even with an R-rating).
1. More David Ayer, Less Warner Bros
Let’s get one thing straight: Warner Bros. is a great studio and David Ayer a peerless director. Despite the controversies over alternate cuts, test screenings, multiple editors and more, Suicide Squad delivered a solid product that simply could have been more exciting. Going forward, it’s imperative that WB empower its accomplished director (should he be attached to the sequel) and allow him to craft the story without being shackled by studio constraints.
While we can only speculate as to who ultimately shaped Suicide Squad’s inconsistent tone, we can bet that Ayer would have preferred to dig deeper into the psychoses of his characters, particularly those of the Joker and Harley Quinn. We received fleeting tastes of their insanity, but little enough to suggest that someone at the studio got cold feet and elected to turn certain scenes into montages to lighten the pain. Should you still be doubting the man in the director’s chair, simply turn on End of Watch, Harsh Times and Fury to know that Ayer is not the sort that pulls punches.
What else do you want to see in the Suicide Squad sequel? Let us know in the comments below!