No, It’s Not Just You, ‘Suicide Squad’ Makes No Sense
The box-office records it demolished over the weekend aren’t the only broken parts of Suicide Squad. For all its admittedly impressive financial success, the movie’s story is shockingly incoherent, and that’s when the film has a story at all. Sure, Will Smith was great as Deadshot and Margot Robbie made an impressively committed Harley Quinn. But in much the same way the Suicide Squad is held hostage in Midway City by sinister bureaucrats, Smith, Robbie, and company are trapped in a movie that gives them very little to play with and makes even less sense.
If you found yourself baffled by Suicide Squad’s plot, you’re not alone. Here we’ve compiled some of the most nonsensical parts. And again, these are some of the most confusing aspects, not all. Honestly, at a certain point we stopped trying to understand this movie. It’s just that much of a mess.
1. How are a psychotic with a baseball bat and a dude who throws boomerangs expected to stop the next Superman?
This is one of the most inexplicable parts of the Suicide Squad movie. When Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) pitches Task Force X to her superiors, she does it by reminding them that the next Superman who arrives on Earth might not be so benevolent and we need to be prepared to defend ourselves. That’s a sensible goal; what’s not so sensible is filling that team with not only raving psychopaths, but raving psychopaths with power sets that can’t hold a candle to Superman. What good would Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), a guy who throws sharp boomerangs (and a drone!), be against Superman? Is that really a better plan than using elite, not-crazy soldiers who follow orders and aren’t a threat to destroy the world?
Some comics fans defend Suicide Squad by insisting this is simply the premise of the Suicide Squad comic book, but that’s not entirely accurate. The team Waller puts together in the comics (which does include characters like Captain Boomerang and Deadshot) is created as a black ops unit that can perform tasks that no sanctioned government team could. They’re designed to be secret and entirely expendable. The movie’s Squad is made with the express purpose of taking down a metahuman with godlike superpowers. Preserving a big chunk of the classic Suicide Squad lineup while changing this key element of the premise throws the whole thing out of whack.
2. Why don’t they at least try to recruit heroes?
This is the other strange part of Waller’s plan. Assembling a team of dangerous and amoral murderers seems like a decision of last resort; something you do after an enemy appears that is so threatening you’re left with no choice but a bad one. That’s not the case in Suicide Squad, and it’s also not the case that Waller attempts to recruit more reliable heroes, including characters like Batman (Ben Affleck) and the Flash (Ezra Miller) who actually appear in the margins of the movie.
Eventually, Suicide Squad reveals that Waller is even less ethical than her soldiers, which does explain her decisions to a certain extent; she wants these madmen because they’re the only ones who would be willing to follow her unscrupulous orders. What the movie never explains is why no one else in the government suggests a more heroic alternative when Waller proposes hiring the worst of the worst for Suicide Squad. The first time anyone mentions that idea is when Bruce Wayne himself refers to “his friends” in the film’s mid-credits scene. I mean, I know Batman is a really smart dude, but a group of good guys prepared to save the world doesn’t seem like a concept that would require his genius-level intellect.
3. They had no contingency plan for the Enchantress teleporting away and causing problems?
One of the stranger aspects of Suicide Squad is the fact that there is no external force that causes the team’s creation or antagonizes it once it’s established. Instead, one of the members of the group breaks free of her captivity and begins causing trouble (and by trouble, I mean the end of the world.) Waller thinks she can control Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) because she has her heart, but it turns out she can’t; after Enchantress brings her brother, Incubus, back to life, he gives her some power and she basically does whatever she wants from that point forward.
It makes sense that Enchantress, this ancient creature that’s been forced into working for the U.S. government, would want to escape and wreak havoc. It doesn’t make sense that Waller wouldn’t anticipate any of this happening. She seems shocked that Enchantress, who has all these incredible abilities, might sneak away from Flag while he eats a chicken wing in his hotel room. Waller’s supposed to be this brilliant tactician; the one person who’s playing chess while the rest of the world is playing checkers. The way she gets tricked by Enchantress makes her look dumb.
4. Speaking of the Enchantress, why would an archaeologist like June Moone break the head off a priceless artifact?
The spirit of Enchantress possesses Dr. June Moone after she finds the ancient totem that holds her spirit and, in a move that surely made the professional archaeologists in the audience cry, snaps its head clean off. It’d be one thing if she dropped the artifact accidentally, and the Enchantress snuck out. Nope! Dr. Moone pops that sucker off like the cap on a beer bottle. Maybe Dr. June Moone is very bad at her job?
5. Is Rick Flag a moralist or a realist? He spends the entire movie insulting Deadshot, but when Waller slaughters an entire room of innocent government agents he seems totally fine with it.
Flag’s role in the movie is one of the more curious ones, as his motivations and attitudes toward the other characters in Task Force X fluctuate based on the needs of each scene. Sometimes he hates the team and doesn’t want to be there, other times he seems to have a grudging respect for their tactics. He hates Deadshot in particular, insisting that when the time is right he’ll cut and run rather than stand with the rest of the team. Then Flag (Joel Kinnaman) doesn’t bat an eye while Amanda Waller mows down a bunch of her underlings.
Could Flag be a hypocrite who acts like a good guy to hide his true motives? Sure. But the movie doesn’t have the time or nuance to make that clear, and as a result, his feelings shift more from scene to scene than the length of Kinnaman’s hair (damn you, reshoots).
6. They spent 30 minutes introducing all these characters and don’t even mention this Slipknot guy who just shows up out of the blue to get killed?
The whole first act of Suicide Squad introduces characters over and over again. (Will Smith gets three different intros all by himself!) There’s no story, just endless personnel briefings. It’s like an Ocean’s 11 movie where George Clooney doesn’t want to steal anything, and instead just does a lot of research into thieves he could recruit for a heist at some point in the future.
Then the Enchantress goes rogue, and the Squad is called in to clean up their own mess. Suddenly, they throw in two more characters: Slipknot (Adam Beach) and Katana (Karen Fukuhara). Katana, at least, gets a brief flashback and some dialogue about her history and unusual powers. It’s enough detail to give you a sense of who she is, and enough mystery to leave you wondering about her true motivations. Slipknot, though, doesn’t even get that. He shows up right before the team leaves for Midway City, and in their first scene as a group, he’s immediately killed. He says maybe 15 words total.
Likely Slipknot’s intro was left on the cutting room floor along with a lot of other stuff. And it’s hard to argue this movie needed more backstory. Without it, though, Beach’s role in the movie is one of its most confusing parts — which is really saying something. Who was this guy? Was his power really just climbing stuff? No wonder he died so fast.
7. Why is Waller hiding out in a skyscraper in Midway City? And why does Enchantress choose Midway City as the place to run amok? Is this a giant series of coincidences?
It seems that way? This is something the ScreenCrush staff has spent a lot of time internally debating. Why does Enchantress pick the subways of Midway City as the place to turn her brother loose? Is it because Waller is in Midway City? Or is that a very unfortunate coincidence for her, because that is where the Suicide Squad ends up?
We still don’t honestly know. The Suicide Squad is sent into Midway City, but their mission isn’t made clear until they rescue their “asset,” which turns out to be Amanda Waller. That’s certainly a surprising twist, but not a particularly logical one. What the hell is Waller doing in the middle of a skyscraper in some anonymous city? And why did Enchantress choose that same city to plant her evil flag? If she had set up shop literally any other place in the world she almost certainly would have succeeded, because the Suicide Squad is only in Midway City to rescue Waller, not to stop Enchantress. That part comes later as a matter of chance. We think? We’re so confused.
8. Why does Captain Boomerang come back at the end of the movie?
As soon as Flag destroys the device that activates the bombs in the Suicide Squad’s necks, Boomerang splits. It’s a funny moment, and one of the few genuine ones in the movie. This guy has no interest in camaraderie or friendship or saving the world. He’s a degenerate bank robber; he’s there because he has to be. The moment he can, he dumps the rest of the Squad. Perfect.
But then, a few seconds later, when the Suicide Squad decides to help Flag save June Moone and the rest of the world, and the team gets its slo-mo Guardians of the Galaxy-esque walk toward the camera, he suddenly returns, out of nowhere. Why? Uh, because he’s a crazy person? That’s all we’ve got.
9. During the big action climax, El Diablo turns into a fire demon guy to fight Incubus. How does he keep the bomb in his neck from exploding when he’s made entirely of fire?
This is probably a nitpick, but a frustrating one nonetheless. The Suicide Squad is kept in line by Waller and Flag through coercion; the members have nanite bombs implanted in their necks. It’s not an empty threat either, as we see when Slipknot tries to escape and is promptly blown up. Later, Flag destroys the remote control that activates the bombs, but that’s not the same thing as deactivating them completely; they’re still sitting in their necks at the end of the movie when El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) transforms into a big fire monster dude to fight the other evil fire monster dude, Incubus.
Now this is a comic-book movie, and I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on physics, fictional or otherwise. But isn’t one of the fundamental rules of bombs that when you heat them up, say by turning your body into a giant living caldera, they explode? When El Diablo went full Human Torch, how did he keep his neck from going boom? Is he immune to bombs? If that’s the case, why is he then killed by the explosion from another bomb?
10. In the big final confrontation with Enchantress, why did they have Killer Croc throw the bag of explosives instead of Captain Boomerang? Isn’t he the expert on throwing stuff?
This has been driving me crazy. You shove this guy who has no apparent powers and serves no apparent purpose onto the team, mostly because he’s been a fixture in Suicide Squad comics for years. You give him literally nothing to do, except in one scene, he uses a boomerang as a drone. Then at the end of the movie, there is a moment that involves throwing something with perfect accuracy; this big bomb that needs to be tossed into the portal and then blown up, to destroy the Enchantress. Here it is, a moment where Captain Boomerang is not only useful, but essential. So of course they have Killer Croc throw the bomb.
How did they blow this? That one moment would have justified having this kooky bank robber with a weird unicorn fetish in the entire movie. But no. Are Captain Boomerang’s throwing skills limited to only throwing boomerangs? Can he not throw other things? If so, he’s even more useless than he already seemed.
11. Why is the Joker’s part so minimal?
Even Jared Leto wants to know the answer to this question. After more than a year hyping Leto’s crazy performance, the Joker of Suicide Squad is a hollow shell of a villain. He’s not even really a villain, at least not in this movie’s story; everything he does is entirely tangential to the main narrative. (The image above, from one of the movie’s trailers, doesn‘t even appear in the final film.)
This is one of the most baffling parts of Suicide Squad. Why throw the Joker into the mix only to make his part totally superfluous? You have an Academy Award-winner reinventing one of the most famous villains in movie history. Why not give him something to do? Why not have Joker on the team? Or as the guy the team has to kill or capture (which would have made Harley and her torn allegiances so much more interesting)? Or give him some kind of role advising the team? Or trying to destroy them from within? Literally anything would have been better than the nothing that we got.
12. What the hell is wrong with Jared Leto? He sent people dead pigs to get into character for a glorified cameo?