Suicide Squad director David Ayer regrets not making Joker the main villain

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Suicide Squad was not a great film. It had moments of greatness (Will Smith being a ballistic badass as Deadshot still gets me pumped up). but it was also… well, it was just too much. Thanks to some filmmaking by committee studio tampering that saw writer/director David Ayer have to take his otherwise pretty grim comic book action thriller and add Guardians of the Galaxy-like needle drops and brightly coloured title treatments, it feels like you’re watching two or three different movies, each made by very different filmmakers, all smooshed together.

But as discordant and jarring as the film’s various moving parts were on an audiovisual level, that wasn’t its biggest foible. No, if anything, Suicide Squad had the dishonour of boasting one of the most terrible comic book movie villains in recent times in Cara Delavingne’s Enchantress, who spent most of the movie just sashaying in front of a portal as the team of coerced villains led by Deadshot and Harley Quinn battle reject Power Rangers putty monsters and terrible CGI. What made this even worse is that the Joker, arguably the most well-known comic book villain of all time, is right there in the movie as well.

Jared Leto’s depiction of the Clown Prince of Crime may have been way out there, and not to everybody’s liking, but he sure as hell would have made things a lot more interesting than Enchantress. Instead, Leto’s Joker only showed up in a handful of scenes related to the origin backstory of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and not much else. Based on all the brouhaha that was made around Leto’s casting as the Joker – fueled by his reported extreme onset antics – this was a bit of a letdown to audiences.

They weren’t the only people unhappy with Joker’s very trim screen time though, as David Ayer himself recently revealed to a fan on Twitter that he actually regrets not giving the deranged villain a much bigger spotlight.

Assault on Arkham is a fantastic take on the Suicide Squad/Joker dynamic and would have been a much better angle to take. It’s especially good because it keeps things relatively small-scale – Enchantress, with all her world-ending magic, is really a villain better suited for the likes of the Justice League. The Joker and one of his twisted schemes would have been way more on the Squad’s level (think about it: They’re a secret black ops squad of criminals that the government won’t publicly admit to, and their first mission is to try to save the world from a gigantic televised threat).

In the beginning of the year, Ayer noted that if he had a time machine, he would go back and “engineer a more grounded story”. He still wishes he could do things differently, but still seems reasonably happy with how the movie turned out, especially since it did fairly decent business at the box office.

One thing that some fans had been hoping for was some kind of Director’s Cut of the film after all the reports of meddling from Warner Bros. started surfacing. Ayer has always maintained that there is no Director’s Cut except the one we saw as that’s the movie he wanted to make. His story wasn’t helped though by Leto publically stating his displeasure at apparently having had tons of his material cut, as well as behind the scenes shots of the characters in costumes we never saw on-screen. As Ayer explains though, for the most part, those scenes don’t actually exist and those that do are rather insignificant.

In other words, this is some bad news if you were still holding out hope of one day getting an improved version of Suicide Squad. Well, actually that’s not totally true as we might still get a superior Suicide Squad movie in the upcoming sequel which will see Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, The Accountant) take over from Ayer who is is developing a Gotham City Sirens spinoff focusing on Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Catwoman and Poison Ivy. That’s if those movies ever come out. You never quite know with the DC Comics cinematic universe nowadays. Those pesky WB suits just can’t keep their hands out of everybody’s business.

Last Updated: November 29, 2017

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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