To coincide with the release of the Extended Edition of Suicide Squad, I sat down to rewatch the film and see if the problems I had with it from before were fixed. They weren't. I don't think a single one of them was corrected, so since we've done a Fanboys Fix It for both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it seemed like a good idea to point our pencils in this movie's direction and start erasing and rewriting the mistakes.
With that being said, how do you fix Suicide Squad?
Core Problem #1: The Villains
Enchantress and her brother, who I don't even think has a name, was a terrible choice to go with for the adversarial element. It's one of the universal things people dislike about the movie, along with the editing, which I would devote an entire section to but can be summed up mostly by saying "it sucks and the studio clearly messed around too much". The weird dancing twitches are made fun of, not creepy. The magic power base is such an alien concept to audiences fresh in this franchise that it can seem stupid to people who haven't invested in it yet, which is why Marvel played it smart by starting off simple and then building up to that. DC refused to play patiently and rushed, so by doing so, they're making people take leaps of faith.
In a film where lots of bad guys need to be killed, you can't have normal humans being shot up the whole time, so I get why they'd want to have some kind of faceless enemy that can be chopped to bits without getting an NC-17 rating, but they had no personality whatsoever and neither did Enchantress or her brother. And if you want to talk about tired tropes, why did they have the generic blue beam of light in the sky like so many other stories have had? This "swirling ring of trash in the sky" as they refer to it doesn't seem to be any different from any other similar concept: the Space Stone in The Avengers, the Technodrome in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and so forth. All it does is floats debris in a circle above a building and then act like any energy pulse.
Instead, they should have gone with OMAC as the villain with Brother Eye. The story could be that in the absence and response of Superman's presence, different sectors of the government are looking to find an answer for how to deal with metahuman threats. One section, led by Buddy Blank (or possibly Maxwell Lord, or better yet, even have Lex Luthor be someone who is involved in the mix) wants to create the One Man Army Corps as a means to create super soldiers. Instead, they go the cyborg route with the Observational Metahuman Activity Construct. Brother Eye is a satellite that will spy on people while these cyborgs will help police those threats. Bruce Wayne can be looking into it because he sees it as a threat. Amanda Waller agrees that they need some kind of military response unit, but she opts to keep control in her own hands with Task Force X. When OMAC goes out of whack, Task Force X has to swoop in to save the day and cover the government's asses, meaning a lot of the same type of film can play out but you've just changed some important details around.
No longer do you need to get into magical backstories, since this is all just computers, which is easier to explain. Hell, you can even have a big payoff at the end where OMAC's cybernetics can be worked into the explosive nanites implanted in the Suicide Squad!
Core Problem #2: The Style
Some of the choices made for the style of this film are absolutely fantastic, but a ton of others are tiresome, lame, overbearing and just self-indulgent.
Why do I get the feeling there was a decree to try to make everybody fit into either hood/urban or grunge stereotypes instead of everybody having their own unique identity? I'm totally cool with that being used with Diablo, but I hate how they turned Killer Croc into a guy in a hoodie who says "bruh" and "shawty" and his only request is for BET. That just comes off uncomfortably stereotypical.
And what's with the tattoos? Why do The Joker and Harley Quinn have them? First off, I'm not a fan of them because they didn't have them in any other source material. Second, I'm not a fan of tattoos to begin with. Third, to hearken back to the previous point, it seems like they thought "tattoos = bad people" which is another stereotype. Finally, it pigeonholes their look for future movies. Now, if The Joker doesn't always have those same tattoos, how are they going to explain the lack of "damaged" on his forehead and whatnot? It's a choice they made where they thought it would look cool rather than if it would serve the functionality of the universe they're playing in.
Another thing with Harley Quinn's appearance is her costume. As much as I love seeing Margot Robbie in as little clothing as possible, her outfit is just ridiculous. Yes, she's supposed to be sexy, as that's one of the staples of her character, but did she need to be dressed in a way that didn't try to mask that at all? She should have been wearing something closer to her Arkham City look where it covers her up a bit more but also can still turn heads.
Core Problem #3: The Music / The Humor
Piggybacking off the style problem, the same thing can apply to some of the humor in the film. The pink unicorn fetish joke screams of people that thought they'd get the leg-up on Deadpool which works for that series, but not anything else. It's such an easy, middle school level joke, similar to when people think its funny if an old person makes out with a young person or if a gross fat guy rubs up against someone on a bus.
But the bigger problem with the humor is the music, which needed to be toned down considerably. It's obnoxious in how much the film praises itself for its soundtrack. Just as they probably thought they'd throw in some Deadpool-esque jokes with the pink unicorn, I get the distinct feeling this is a full-on attempt to replicate the musical punches of Guardians of the Galaxy.
The repetitiveness of how the music is used is what is the most bothersome part about it, too. It's literally the same joke every single time: a scene where someone bad is doing something violent and it's set to a happy song that wouldn't normally go in that environment. It's a painful attempt to be hip and to juxtapose two different forces that would take audiences by surprise when they hear it, but by the time the opening scene is finished, you've seen the joke maybe six times and it keeps happening, so it loses all its edge.
Core Problem #4: Underutilized Characters
"Hey everybody, here's Katana. She's in the movie, too. Say hello."
That's basically what we get from Katana, outside of a few sword slashes. You couldn't have done a better job introducing her and making her seem like a worthwhile character? If you had no means of accomplishing that in the script, why not just save her character for the Birds of Prey film that is rumored to happen where she could maybe be given the proper treatment she deserves?
Let's talk about Slipknot, too. He similarly just comes into the mix out of nowhere and after having seen the film twice now, I still don't know if he has more than one line of dialogue. He definitely exists just to have his head blown off to show that it isn't an empty threat, but could you at least have attempted to not make it obvious that he was a sacrificial lamb? Audiences are smart enough now to know that the person who will most likely die is the one that hasn't had any importance placed on them and that was extremely poorly done.
Also, I would have enjoyed seeing someone like General Wade Eiling in the mix of the military supervisors and a recasting of Scott Eastwood's GQ character, as I think he accomplished nothing and that ended up being a waste of Eastwood, who could have been saved for a different role in a future DC film.
Miscellaneous Extra Flaws & Nitpicking
Basically, those big problems above are the things that would have saved these movies and made them better as a whole, but there are smaller things that could have been changed as well. I'm obviously not going to nitpick every little detail, but a few things that stand out to me are as follows:
- Recast Rick Flag – Originally, Tom Hardy was going to be Colonel Flag, but I don't think he would have been great for the part, either. Joel Kinnaman wasn't bad so much as he wasn't good. That's probably half a matter of his part being written poorly and half a lack of preparation since he signed onto the film much later than ideal. I like my Rick Flag to be basically Captain America without the likability and this version just came off like your average southern military jackoff. At no point did I really root for the guy or his contrived romance with June Moon, but I also never reached a point where I believed that he was someone who was that great to be in that position of power as a leader for the team. Maybe Adam Baldwin? Maybe Kevin McKidd? Someone who could evoke a young Ed Harris would be great, where you just hate the guy but you respect that he could get things done.
- Take the "Will Smith" out of Deadshot – Will Smith is great, and I'm glad they cast him as Deadshot, but there are times where he's clearly playing Will Smith tropes rather than the Deadshot character. Those times, he should've been reigned in.
- Mallet > Bat – Harley should have used her standard mallet instead of a baseball bat.
- Capture the Flag - Two times in the film, some creatures start dragging Flag away and they have to save him. Did you need to do that beat twice?
- Killer Croc Looks Fake - Killer Croc's makeup, the way his face moves when he speaks, and any CGI they might have implemented all look off. None of it seems natural. It all looks reminiscent of Michael Chiklis as The Thing in Fantastic Four.
Well, there you have it—some insight into how I would have changed things in hindsight if I was magically given me the ability to do so. Some of these problems just cannot be fixed anymore, while others can hopefully be elaborated on in Suicide Squad and future films to help explain why we're left in the dark about so much information.