There is a Will Smith movie out there that has caused division. Okay, maybe there are more than one, but the one we are talking about is the 2016 David Ayer film, Suicide Squad. Believe it or not, it has made an appearance on Netflix’s top watched movies globally, sitting at number ten.
The setup for Suicide Squad is reminiscent of the 1967 war film The Dirty Dozen where a U.S. Army Major first must choose a dozen military prisoners who have death sentences to take on a mission with little chance for survival. If they survive, their sentences will be commuted.
In this case, the “U.S. Army Major” is Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), a government intelligence officer who, after the death of Superman, convinces the US Government to approve what she calls Task Force X. This group would be a response team of supervillains and criminals with their only goal to stop metahuman threats.
The need for this group comes from Dr. June Moore (Cara Delevingne), an American archeologist, who becomes possessed by Enchantress, a powerful demonic witch. This witch was under Waller’s control before she betrays Waller, escaping and taking over Midway City.
Waller then goes Dirty Dozen by selecting her team, which consists of Will Smith’s Deadshot, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, and Adam Beach as Slipknot. Joel Kinnaman is Col. Rick Flagg, the leader of Task Force X.
Before Waller sends out her Suicide Squad, she lays down the law, explaining to them that if they try anything other than what got them out of prison, they will die immediately. She is able to make this happen with the nanite bombs she has implanted in each of their necks.
Things immediately go bad for the Squad as the helicopter they are using to reach Midway City is shot down. They then go from bad to worse when Boomerang convinces Slipknot to escape believing the bombs aren’t real. This forces Flagg into killing Slipknot.
More trouble arises when the Joker (Jared Leto) involves himself in trying to take Harley Quinn away. He is able to get her bomb disabled and whisk her away. As the team begins to fracture, they also find out that their true goal is to cover up Waller’s involvement with the Enchantress escape. This is also when Deadshot finds out why Flagg is involved, he had a relationship with Moore before Enchantress took over.
Things come to a head when Harley returns to the Squad after the Joker’s helicopter is shot down. The Squad, putting all their differences aside, putting the double-crosses behind them for the time being, reunite to go toe-to-toe versus the powerful Enchantress.
The Will Smith-led 2016 Suicide Squad was a highly anticipated movie when released. His star power alone should have carried the movie. But something went wrong from the time the script was written to the final edit and release. What seemed like could be a very fun movie to watch turned into a task and not a good one.
The movie was critically destroyed. While the cast, especially Smith, Robbie, and Davis, were praised, the movie was lambasted for its disorganized plot, characters who were thinly written, and directing that left little to be desired.
Those directing duties, as well as writing duties, fell to David Ayer, who was taken to task for the final results. In its aftermath, Ayer has admitted to many of the film’s flaws, stating she would have loved to have made Leto’s Joker the main villain. He even told a fan on Twitter, based on the critical lashing Ayer was taking, “I know it’s a controversial film, I really tried to make something different, with a look and feel of its own,” he wrote. “Nothing hurts more than to pick up a newspaper and see a couple years of your blood, sweat, and tears ripped to shreds. The hate game is strong out there.”
The funny thing about the movie, as poorly as it was received, it was nothing less than a major box office success. While fans didn’t care for Ayer’s take on the Suicide Squad, especially making Enchantress the film’s main villain, they still came out in droves. Ayer spent $175 million of Warner Bros. money to make the film and it saw a major return of nearly $750 at the box office. Not bad for a despised movie.
So, where is the infamous Ayer’s cut? You’d have to know that once the win came from Zack Snyder’s Justice League cut that fans would turn their attention to an Ayer’s cut of Suicide Squad. They did and Ayer would be happy to oblige. He is all in if Warner Bros. asked. But he also understands the business. I get it, it’s a business,” says Ayer to Entertainment Weekly. “It’s frustrating because I made a really heartfelt drama and it got ripped to pieces and they tried to turn it into Deadpool, which it just wasn’t supposed to be. And then you take the hit, you’re the captain of the ship, my name was on it. [Laughs] Even though it didn’t represent what I actually made, I would take all the bullets and be a good soldier. I made an amazing movie. It’s an amazing movie, it just scared the s— out of the executives.”
Since the fans have pushed and since Ayer has responded, Warner Bros. also has responded in kind. It was a short, to-the-point answer from WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff, who recently told Variety, “We won’t be developing David Ayer’s cut.” Apparently, Ayer isn’t taking that statement lightly as he responded with one simple word, “Why?” He’s still waiting for an explanation.
As for Will Smith, the movie didn’t harm his reputation too much. Besides, nothing could be worse than his take on James West in the horrible reimaging of the ‘60’s hit series The Wild Wild West. Smith already had enjoyed a large cache of good movies, big box office winners, and a number of smaller, heartfelt movies. After Suicide Squad, Smith went on to Collateral Beauty, Bright (which is being set up for a sequel) and then he jumped into the role of Genie in the live-action remake of Disney’s Aladdin. He also reprised his role as Mike Lowrey, opposite Martin Lawrence, for the fourth time in Bad Boys for Life.
Be that as it may, Ayer’s Suicide Squad is making its global rounds on Netflix and doing quite well. Maybe the movie needs more than one viewing to appreciate what Ayer was trying to put out. Give it another shot, if anything, to prepare yourself for the upcoming James Gunn film, The Suicide Squad.