Unsurprisingly, much of the reporting around the Warner/DC situation continues to be driven by herd mentality and inaccurate.
For example, how many sites reprinted the story that the Suicide Squad reshoots were all about adding jokes to the movie because they used every joke in the movie in the last trailer? Sorry, but that”s just nonsense. There were some big reshoots, but it wasn”t just to add jokes, and they certainly didn”t use every single joke in the film in the last trailer. The reason everyone picks that up and runs with it is because they like how nice and neat it sounds. Reshoots. Add jokes. Fix movie. Never mind that people went crazy about my (accurate) reportage about how divisive early reactions were to Batman v Superman. People didn”t want to hear that story, so they attacked me and they attacked my reporting, determined to simply shout it down.
That”s not how reality works, though. You don”t get a vote on it. You don”t get to decide what”s true based on what narrative you are most invested in. I want Suicide Squad to be great. It looks really confident in all the materials we”ve seen so far, and what I”ve heard about the reshoots is that David Ayer is being surgical in addressing things he wasn”t satisfied with, reacting to all the feedback he”s gotten so far, and that much of the new material adds a sense of scale to the mayhem in the film”s final third.
Tonight at the MTV Movie Awards, they premiered a new Suicide Squad trailer, and it”s another winner. Confident and strange and full of new images and lines, it both clearly connects this film to the larger DC world with that opening dialogue about Superman and the shots of Batman in action, and also makes it clear just how different this is than the film that is still currently playing in theaters everywhere. While I”m well aware of the issues our own Donna Dickens has with the version of Harley Quinn that this movie seems to be portraying, I just plain disagree. Everything we”ve seen so far of Margot Robbie”s work is distinguished to me by the delightful insanity of the choices she”s making. I love this Harley, and it has nothing to do with the booty shorts. If anything, I could argue after this clip that Harley is totally aware of the reaction her appearance causes in people, and she”s using that as a weapon as much as any mallet or gun or baseball bat we see. She is an animal in these clips, truly deranged, and if Robbie doesn”t emerge as a full-fledged movie star after this, I will be shocked.
She and Will Smith appear to be the closest thing to leaders that the Suicide Squad has, but the new trailer finally gives us a little bit more of some of the other players. Jay Fernandez as El Diablo makes a strong impression here, and David Ayer may be a genuine genius if he”s actually found a role that makes great use of Jai Courteney, who looks hilarious as Captain Boomerang. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) also gets a little bit more of a focus in this trailer, and he looks like a great foil for the big insane personalities of the team.
And then there”s Mr. J.
Jared Leto was very, very careful after he won his Oscar for Dallas Buyer”s Club, taking his time and considering what kind of role to play next. The Joker is one of the biggest icons of pop culture, and considering he”s been defined on the big screen by Jack Nicholson and an award-winning turn by Heath Ledger, it must have been an irresistible challenge. For Warner Bros., it”s a genuinely interesting creative choice to let the Joker take center stage in a film that is not headlined by Batman, and introducing Harley Quinn to live-action for the first time in her own film is also a pretty big choice. I give Warner a lot of credit for seeing the potential in this idea, and considering some of the versions of the script that existed during development, they pushed it much further in the end than I think they even originally considered. The Joker”s laugh during the Warner and DC logos, the very distinct visual choices they made in his design, and the much more physically aggressive nature of this Joker all define him a certain way for the DC Universe they”re building, and if they want us to start thinking about how these puzzle pieces all fit together, I”ll admit it: I have a hard time picturing this Joker in a scene with Jesse Eisenberg”s Lex Luthor. It seems like a hard thing to pull off. Impossible? Of course not. But by telling these filmmakers to sign these films, something Zack Snyder has repeatedly emphasized by calling the DC films “filmmaker-driven,” they risk a much harder time eventually blending elements later in a film like Justice League.
It”s an exciting trailer. It”s very promising. But let”s be clear: those reshoots didn”t happen because the film was perfect and Warner Bros just decided to add more icing to the cake. This is a tough one to get right, and they are going to be fine-tuning it all the way to the release date in August. I hope it”s a home run, because there is so much about it that is so promising. And considering this is almost entirely new footage and it”s just as fun as the last trailer, it seems like they”ve got a lot to work with.
Suicide Squad is in theaters August 5, 2016.