In late March, some eyebrow-raising superhero news came down the pike: David Ayer’s DC Comics–adapted ensemble opus Suicide Squad was rumored to be getting millions of dollars’ worth of reshoots. The alleged aim? Making the end product funnier. Ayer denied the reports, but a seed had been planted in the public’s mind. There was chatter that the tonal softening was in response to the sludge-heavy grimness of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and, in general, an effort to make the DC cinematic universe more giggle-heavy. Even if the reshoot scuttlebutt wasn’t true, the trailers certainly implied a comedic thrust. The actors have tried to walk back the rumors about attempts to make things lighter — e.g., Joel Kinnaman saying the reshoots were “just added action” in a Variety interview — but the story line persisted and hopes were raised.
Having now attended a press screening, we can put the rumors to bed: Suicide Squad is, for the most part, not a funny movie. That’s not to say it’s necessarily a bad movie — that kind of judgment comes from an entirely different set of criteria. But for those of you expecting, understandably, a lot of laughs out of your trip to the theater this weekend, you’ll find that the film isn’t going for that.
We’ll refrain from spoilers, but suffice it to say that Kinnaman’s take is on the money: Suicide Squad is basically a standard-issue action movie. Not action-comedy, just action. That means there are some one-liners (many of them coming from Will Smith’s Deadshot) and zingers (Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn handles those), but much of the movie is filled with dire foreshadowing, emotional character development (too much of it, really), and shoot-’em-up melees. There are jokes peppered throughout, and they’ll get laughs, but Deadpool this ain’t. The bang-zoom-boom is the point. (Well, that and setting up an expanded Suicide Squad sub-universe.)