The Curious Case Of WB’s Poorly Written and Presented DC Villains

Aug 8, 2016

While DC bros are freaking-out that Rotten Tomatoes gave a low rating to Suicide Squad and creating petitions to shut down the site based on their bias of Warner Bros’ DC lineup. Even though, Warner Bros. owns a thirty percent stake in the site, which they seemingly are ignoring completely.

The majority of reviews good or bad point out that the villains of the film left much to be desired.

I have to agree with this and instead of writing another review, I figured I’d actually point out the main flaw in these DCCU movies and it’s primarily their villains. A superhero film is only as good as their villain, both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad had majority issues in that arena, dislike or love those movies. The villains were poorly written and seemed like it had more to do with meeting a mandated studio release dates rather than making solid cinematic experiences.

A lot of it comes down to rushed scripts and likely studio notes coming from executives. David Ayer reportedly only had six months to pen the script which saw Justin Marks’ script completely thrown to the side. It’s a harsh creative environment already without the added pressure of the big tentpole ahead of you getting a lot of backlash from critics, sparking a freakout from the studio with whatever reshoots and editing happened in attempt to make the film more accessible to audiences.

The villains of Suicide Squad seemed just as lazy as Lex Luthor and Doomsday were in Batman v Superman, a lack of motivation and reliance on mindless CGI action to cover-up poorly planned plots.

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Enchantress aka Gozer from Ghostbusters had a really weak motivation. Along with Incubus, a CGI mess of a sidekick with isn’t that different from horrid Doomsday, but the difference is he’ll speak once and a while.

I also didn’t think Cara Delevingne was properly cast as Enchantress, she gave a performance you’d expect from a model learning how to become an actress. It’s possible they hired a model over a regular actress that was comfortable with wearing a really skimpy outfit for a majority of the film.

She seemed slighted only by Amanda Waller’s actions, which is odd she just didn’t kill her off the bat instead of killing thousands of innocent people. Reenforcing the DCCU trope of having massive civilian causalities as the crux of your film, something everyone was clearly over with when Man of Steel did channelling 9/11 and the studio doubled-down in Batman v Superman with the needless courtroom bombing.

I’m curious if the inclusion of Enchantress was only to help setup Justice League Dark with introducing the magical/occult side of the source material, not make a better Suicide Squad film. Since the magical threat of the film really seemed to pump the breaks on the entire movie and felt really out of place for most of these characters, considering a majority of them weren’t even meta-humans to begin with.

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Enchantress is unleashed as the film’s villain thanks to Amanda Waller’s lack of management skills, a call back to Clark’s unintentionally sending out a signal to Zod, who eventually wants to kill everyone on Earth. Something that seeming is echoed by Enchantress, the lack of variety is another failing here and I feel like this will happen yet again with both Steppenwolf and Darkseid.

The worst part it completely refutes makes the time spent setting up Waller as this amazingly smart and ruthless tactician pointless. Granted Waller isn’t exactly the film’s villain.

With all the talk of the DCCU being such a fresh take on the superhero genre and very different from Marvel Studios, it’s hard to take it seriously with the threat of Suicide Squad takes direct cues from Avengers and Thor.

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A green magical god (is that you Loki?), shoots a beam of light opening a portal, unleashing a mindless horde upon a major city and a giant mindless sidekick that shoots fire.

I’m also totally over these lazy CGI villains that have even less motivation or reason for existing than the main villain unleashing them upon the heroes.

Which has me even more worried about how they’ll be tackling Steppenwolf in Justice League because if he’s just another CGI space thug that only smashes and breaks things it will be super disappointing. Whoever is making these decisions concerning the villains seemingly doesn’t understand these kinds of villains have zero stakes or impact on the plot, besides beating up the heroes for a couple of minutes before being quickly defeated. Instead, villains should be mostly character driven to help the overall story.

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Jared Leto‘s Joker was okay, but with only ten minutes of screen time it’s hard to really get a beat on the performance itself.

His use in the film on the other hand was a bit insulting to audiences considering how heavily he was used in the marketing and only was briefly in the film. Most of the scenes were already shown in trailers and TV spots.

He’s easily the most iconic DC villain, but was deflated in Suicide Squad because he doesn’t impact the plot in the slightest, he’s just there. Unlike Luthor, Joker has a clear motivation in the film and that’s to free Harley and it kind of works for the most part, but again this doesn’t have any real consequences to the plot of the film.

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DOOM

It would have made a bit more sense if he partnered with Enchantress in some early version of The Legion of Doom, with him collecting other criminal meta-humans. It’s revealed this incarnation of The Joker can make deals without killing people, so in theory he might be able to put together the super villain team with the help of Lex Luthor eventually.

They really should look towards more grounded or established villains if they’re able to make a Suicide Squad sequel or at least ones that make sense for a baseball bat wielding Harley Quinn can up against. Also, they don’t all need to be Batman villains, you can barrow from other superheroes to help boost their setup as well.

Ignoring these growing issues won’t help make them magically go away, they have to be pointed out so they can be addressed and eventually fixed. Just accepting a mediocre thing doesn’t help Warner Bros. develop a well-oiled cinematic universe.

I really hope that Geoff Johns’ involvement has some sort of positive impact on Wonder Woman, Justice League, Aquaman and The Batman. However, if they keep repeating poorly executed villains it’s going to hard to keep audiences interested beyond baiting them with Joker and Batman appearances.

I also spotted some other nagging similarities to other superhero films in Suicide Squad.

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The music drops were okay in spots, but in Deadpool the music is inside his head and in Guardians of the Galaxy it’s the playlist from the tape his mother gave him. So it’s a little jarring why there are so many of them without really explaining them, outside of the club scene. The reasoning here might have more to do with Trailer Park (a trailer company) reportedly editing their own cut of the film, who used similar drops in their trailers for the film.

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The introductions of Task Force X were very similar to the Guardians of The Galaxy police lineup with origin exposition at Nova Corps.

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Captain Boomerang’s unicorn clearly reminded us of Wade’s unicorn.

The DCCU is still fresh and developing itself, but they need to give us stronger plots and villains, if they really want the emulate Marvel’s success.

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