If you went to a ramen place that served you a mediocre meal — undercooked noodles, over-salted soup — you wouldn’t return to that restaurant. Following that logic, many critics don’t want another Suicide Squad. But in the hands of a different storyteller – or at least one with more than six weeks for character development, and constructing a villain who makes sense – the film’s inherent concept has potential. Put simply, there’s enough here to build upon, despite what critics say.
Characters like Amanda Waller, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and hell, even Captain Boomerang would all be interesting if they got enough screen time to breathe. The Avengers worked because we knew all the characters already; Suicide Squad had the unenviable task of devoting its entire first hour to introducing them all, in what David Ayer calls “the dossier version”. Because the subsequent hour was a CGI-fest filled with gunfights against faceless blobs, it made the movie tonally disjointed. But we know these characters now, which could eliminate this problem in a sequel. It might be able to navigate the action versus character balance with more ease.
The concept of reversing the usual hero and villain dynamic — using disposable villains as our “heroes;” making Amanda Waller, an agent who works on the so-called “good” side, as the real villain — is inherently interesting. Unfortunately Suicide Squad flubbed the execution, as this concept was muddled by that nonsensical dancing witch “plot” and the Enchantress’s equally nonsensical brother. If a sequel delivered a villain who felt like a real threat — along the lines of Loki or even Watchmen’s Adrian Veidt — Suicide Squad’s concept would also be able to stretch.
Suicide Squad failed critically, but not commercially, not because of its concept or characters, but because it tried to do too much: Cram in too many characters; explain all of their backstories to the audience, add in a villain arc. With a better plan, a future installment still has a lot of potential. Which is good, because let’s be honest: Whether you want it or not, 2 Suicide 2 Squad is coming.
Photos via DC/Warner Bros