In the early reactions to Suicide Squad, there’s much talk about the film’s use of The Joker, played in the film by Jared Leto. It’s been pointed out, by critics, fans and Leto himself, that the character isn’t as big a part of Suicide Squad as the film’s marketing suggested. The Joker disappears for long stretches, he’s not given much background or depth and the main plot of the movie has little to do with him. Others have pointed out that considering how much media attention Leto drew with his on-set antics, maybe all of that manic method acting wasn’t worth the trouble.
Most critics and fans have reacted to this development by, well, criticizing it, writing negatively about it, and/or otherwise disapproving it through normal channels. However, one filmgoer is taking things a lot further: they’re threatening to take Warner Bros. Pictures and DC to court, on the account of “false advertising.”
A poster on the Reddit subreddit r/movies says he – along with his brother, who is a lawyer- “are going to sue WB and DC for false advertising, misleading visual images and gaining a profit from us and millions others due to these acts.” The poster, who lives in the U.K., points out specific scenes that were included in the trailer for Suicide Squad but did not end up in the finished film. Strangely, in this era of DC/Marvel fan confrontations, the poster goes by the username “BlackPanther2016.” His argument:
Suicide Squad trailers showcased several SPECIFIC Joker scenes that I had to pay for the whole movie just so that I can go watch those SPECIFIC SCENES that WB/DC had advertised in their trailers and TV spots. These scenes are: When Joker banged his head on his car window, when Joker says, ”let me show you my toys”, when Joker punchs the roof of his car, when Joker drops a bomb with his face all messed up and says, ”BYE BYE!”. Non of these scenes were in the movie. I drove 300 miles to London to go watch these specific scenes they had explicitly advertised in their TV ads…and they didn’t show them to me.
The poster goes on to complain about scenes with Katana that weren’t in the film and notes that he was laughed at and kicked out when he asked the theater manager for his money back. He concludes that he doesn’t want to have to wait for the ”deluxe premium special directors gold extended edition supreme cut’‘ to finally get a look at the scenes he wanted.
Now, assuming this person isn’t posting this as an elaborate joke or troll, it seems likely that such a lawsuit would be quickly laughed out of court. Most filmgoers are aware that marketing is marketing, movie trailers and commercials are often produced long before the film is finished, and there’s always a chance things they liked in the marketing materials won’t end up in the finished film. There’s no evidence that Warner or DC purposely kept things out of Suicide Squad‘s theatrical cut in order to defraud filmgoers.
Moreover, all of the commercials and trailers the poster liked so much remain easily accessible on YouTube and the plaintiff is free to look at them whenever he wants. Perhaps the false advertising laws are different in the U.K. from the U.S., but the odds of this lawsuit having any sort of success don’t seem particularly high. That said, the poster does have a fair point about the tendency to release “deluxe premium special directors gold extended edition supreme cut.”
Suicide Squad is in theaters now. Wonder Woman opens on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash and Batman solo movie are currently without release dates.