Despite being financially successful, Suicide Squad left a lot to be desired in the minds of many critics and fans. The high-powered antihero team up movie attempted to do something different by focusing on characters traditionally portrayed as villains, but the efforts were overall not well-received. With a 26% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes (and a less-than-stellar 63% audience rating) there’s certainly room for improvement when it comes to the sequel.
Thanks to the first movie’s commercial success, Suicide Squad 2 is already moving forward. Suicide Squad director David Ayer is passing on the sequel and instead overseeing Gotham City Sirens, a spinoff movie centered around Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, as well as the yet-to-be-cast Poison Ivy and Catwoman. Meanwhile, Warner Bros./DC are courting several directors for the Suicide Squad sequel, including none other than Oscar-winning actor/filmmaker Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge). While the search for a director is ongoing, it appears that the project has a screenwriter in place now.
THR is reporting that the studio has recruited screenwriter Adam Cozad (The Legend of Tarzan) to write Suicide Squad 2, which is very much a priority for WB/DC. Cozad is taking over from Ayer, who wrote the first Suicide Squad in addition to directing. Cozad and WB have a solid relationship, with The Legend of Tarzan being a modest financial success after earning $356 worldwide last year. His credits also include Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the Chris Pine-headlined reboot of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series.
Cozad may not have much experience under his belt, but a movie like Suicide Squad is certainly within his wheelhouse. As a writer, his focus has been on writing scripts for movies that hinge on fantasy and action. While neither The Legend of Tarzan nor Shadow Recruit were that well received, they were both fun popcorn movies, which is certainly a good place to start with any comic book movie. It’s also worth noting that Cozad worked with Robbie on Tarzan, so this might give him an edge when it comes to portraying Harley Quinn, assuming she’s not skipping out in favor of Gotham City Sirens.
While there was a lot to like in the first Suicide Squad, ultimately the film never equaled the sum of its parts. There was a considerable lack of focus in the movie, and the awkwardness of bringing these characters together was a thread that ran throughout. Much of that can be attributed to problems with the script, which Ayer infamously wrote in just six weeks prior to shooting. Between rewrites and reshoots, Suicide Squad never quite had a chance to get off the ground properly, lessening the film considerably.
With Suicide Squad 2, WB has a chance at a do over. A lot of that will of course depend on who ends up in the director’s chair. While Gibson seems to be in the running, nothing is set in stone. A good script, or at least story, could push him over the edge and give us what might be our biggest superhero movie to date. Let’s hope that everyone learned their lessons and that the course is corrected. That already seems to be on WB’s agenda with Wonder Woman and Justice League; a knockout punch from Suicide Squad could be just what they need.