There is probably no topic more hotly debated amongst fan circles (at least on Screen Rant) than the fundamental value of the films in the DC Extended Universe. (Don't like an artistic choice that Zack Snyder made? Here's a one-way ticket to Marvel-schillville!) In 2016, Warner Brother released two films (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad) that did well in the box office but were largely panned by critics. Both were based on properties that are beloved in the fan community, and both could be described as hard-edged adaptations of their source material. Stylistic preferences aside, both were lambasted as disjointed, lacking character motivation, and riddled with plot holes. (Some of these qualities were later remedied with an extended cut in the home video release.)
In Suicide Squad, the presence (or lack thereof) of The Joker was a sticking point for many. Whether or not you liked Jared Leto's portrayal of The Clown Prince of Crime, he was, at most, relegated to an arguably unnecessary subplot. This despite the fact that he was heavily featured in the film's promotional material.
For at least one fan, none of these issues were a problem. Just recently, this devoted aficionado took to Twitter to offer some belated encouragement to Suicide Squad writer and director, David Ayer:
So thankful for suicide squad @DavidAyerMovies exactly the way it is. It's a masterpiece, don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
— Jody (@PensFanboy) January 21, 2017
Ayer gave a detailed response regarding his feelings about the film's criticism, but his most telling statement was quite succinct:
"Wish I had a time machine. I'd make the Joker the main villain and engineer a more grounded story."
Either Ayer let anyone tell him otherwise, or his reflection on his own artistic journey led him to the decision that waylaying The Joker was a bad call. Either way, it raises questions as to how the project might have gone differently if Ayer had slanted the film this way to begin with.
The Enchantress (played by Cara Delevingne) worked because her villainy was enabled by the very organization that establishes the Squad. Could The Joker have had the same thematic impact on the team's creation? Would the origin of his persona (or at least his current villainous plot) somehow have been Squad-handler Amanda Wallace's fault? Considering The Joker's anarchic behavior, this may have been a further stretch. Though if the film needed him, (and based on his presence in the marketing, WB clearly thought it did,) it would likely have been wise to make him the centerpiece of conflict.
Do you agree with Ayer that Suicide Squad would have been better served with The Joker in a larger villainous role? Let us know in the comments section and stay tuned to Screen Rant for updates on the DCEU's catalog of films as they hit.
Source: David Ayer (via Twitter)
- Wonder Woman (2017) release date: Jun 02, 2017
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- The Flash Movie release date: Sep 19, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Green Lantern Corps. (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020