It was recently confirmed that James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad would indeed be a complete reboot. Despite being a massive hit at the box-office, the David Ayer-directed 2016 film was met with scathing reviews. Ultimately it was considered another disappointment for the struggling DCEU. With a new director and a slew of new characters, the reboot seems like the best path for the future of this franchise.
The original Suicide Squad did certainly have a lot of issues, which even Ayer will admit. However the film does have its fans and there are certainly a few highlights. So before Suicide Squad becomes another forgotten comic book film, have a look back on some of the things the film actually did right.
10 The Trailer
The fact that Suicide Squad made money even with the terrible reviews is probably due to its excellent marketing campaign. The fun, fast-paced trailers promised audiences a good time with an irreverent group of outcasts. They were also expertly edited to catchy pop music, including Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" which made it seem like the DCEU's version of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Sadly, the film couldn’t deliver on that promise and there was a lot of footage in the trailer that never made its way into the finished film. Still, it was a fun marketing campaign that may have ultimately been better than the film itself.
9 The Rogues Gallery
With a movie about a team of villains in the DC universe, they had a lot of fun characters to choose from. But part of the fun about the Suicide Squad comics is how they have filled the team roster with some unexpected members.
The movie did a great job keeping that aspect alive. There were well-known Batman enemies like Harley Quinn and Killer Croc. There were also more obscure characters like Katana and Diablo. And then there was Captain Boomerang. It was a team with a lot of potential even if most of the characters had nothing to do at the end of the day.
8 Amanda Waller
While the Suicide Squad is filled with nefarious individuals, perhaps the most cold-blooded among them is Amanda Waller.
Waller is the government official who comes up with the bright idea to put together a team of super villains. In the comics, Waller is a ruthless operator who is not above sacrificing lives to get what she wants. The film did a great job maintaining Waller as the puppet master. It certainly helped having Oscar winner Viola Davis in the role. She gives a badass performance that actually makes some of the other villains look tame by comparison.
7 The Scale
Despite what some people think, not all superhero films need to be massive world-saving events. The scope of these films can sometimes get out of control and so it’s nice to see the occasional superhero movie that is a willing to scale things back.
Make no mistake, Suicide Squad is a big-budget film, but the action and plot are kept appropriately small scale. Yes, there is a rather lame villain with an end-of-the-world scheme but most of the movie remains at street-level, which is where these characters thrive. A more interesting mission would have been nice, but using the squad as a grimy special forces team was effective.
6 The Attitude
As the name suggests, Suicide Squad isn’t meant to be wholesome fun for the whole family. The comics are often quite violent and rarely heroic. With the movie being PG-13, some fans worried that we would be getting a watered-down version.
The movie does make itself more accessible to the masses, but also manages to keep a lot of its edge. This is a movie about bad guys and they don’t try to turn them into all-out heroes by the end. Some are more sympathetic than others, but that outlaw quality is kept pretty well in tact.
Ever since the MCU popularized the concept of a cinematic universes, it’s been debated if the trend benefited and harmed franchises. Some people enjoy the connected films, while other would rather see solo adventures. For all its many faults, Suicide Squad actually walked the line between both quite well.
The film is very much in the DC universe, but it is not tied down by that fact. The connection helps to build this world and add some nice touches, but the movie really does exist on its own. Judging by the current path of the DCEU, the new film will similarly be a stand-alone adventure.
Even though the team is largely made up of members of his rogue’s gallery, Batman rarely plays a big role in the Suicide Squad stories. He is usually seen more as an omnipresent shadow hanging over the team. In that sense, the movie used the caped crusader quite effectively.
In Ben Affleck’s second big screen appearance as Batman, we see him hunting down villains like Joker and Deadshot without being a distracting presence. Neither Affleck’s Batman nor this iteration of the Suicide Squad managed to stick around the DCEU, but this remains a solid bit of crossover fun.
3 The Tone
The DCEU now seems to have found its footing by finally embracing the lighter aspects of the comic book world in movies like Aquaman and Shazam. This is a stark contrast to the more serious earlier films of cinematic universe, like Batman V Superman and Man of Steel. In fact, when Suicide Squad followed those two brooding film, the lighter tone felt like a breath of fresh air. The high-energy film showed that the DCEU didn’t have to be all doom and gloom. That seems odd for a movie about deranged criminals but the energy and comedic tone made for a welcome change of pace.
Deadshot became the defacto team leader in Suicide Squad, which is not surprising with Will Smith in the role. Despite being the biggest name in the cast, Smith won’t be returning for the sequel and Idris Elba will take over the role.
Smith is one of those actors who is always compelling to watch and he was great as this badass assassin. As usual, Smith brought some much-needed charisma to the film and worked well in the ensemble. As great as Elba is, it’s a shame Smith won’t really get a chance to show off his bad guy mode with this role
1 Harley Quinn
With the rebooted The Suicide Squad, it seems clear that the DCEU has cut ties with the poorly received original. However, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn seems to have stood above the rest as the one aspect of the film worth holding on to. It’s not hard to see what, as the character and Robbie’s performance are clearly the highlight of the film.
Harley Quinn has been a fan-favorite for years and Robbie did not disappoint in bringing her to the big screen. With a mix of childish humor and deadly rage, she easily stole the show. Rumors suggest Robbie will be the only character returning for the reboot and she will also be reprising the role in Birds of Prey.