David Ayer has some regrets about Suicide Squad — and no, none of them include the deeply unconventional and emotionally manipulative methods he used during pre-production therapy sessions with his actors. Instead, in a lengthy Twitter message to a fan, the director said he wished he had a time machine to go back and make Jared Leto's Joker the central villain, rather than making the baffling decision to turn Enchantress and her brother Incubus into the film's uninteresting foes.
"Wish I had a time machine. I'd make Joker the main villain and engineer a more grounded story," he said. "I have to take the good and bad and learn from it. I love making movies and I love DC. I'm a high school dropout and used to paint houses for a living. I'm lucky to have the job I have. I have to give the characters the stories and plots they deserve next time. Real talk."
Ayer also shut down talk that there's a "secret edit" of the film that features even more Joker. (Sorry, Leto.)
"Making a movie is a journey, not a straight line. I learned so much," Ayer wrote. "People want what they want, and everyone has a personal vision of how each character should look and walk and talk. If you set out to make a mass appeal movie, it's easy to end up with vanilla. But I went for it. And I know Squad has its flaws, Hell, the World knows it. 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."
Ayer deserves some credit for acknowledging Suicide Squad's flaws, especially after his initial response to the film's bad reviews. Back in August 2016, he told Reuters, "I made the movie for real people who live in the real world. I made the movie for people who actually love movies and go and see movies." While it's never easy to see something you've worked on get scathing reviews, fueling the "fans vs. critics" divide is not the answer. You can be a critic and still be a DC Comics fan. These things are not mutually exclusive.
Still, for the chief creative force behind Suicide Squad to say that there were significant storytelling issues with one of the biggest box office hits of 2016 means that DC Films might be moving in the right direction. If Ayer is actually receptive to learning from these mistakes, then there's no doubt he can make something better the next time around, whether that means teaming up with the cast for a sequel or helming Margot Robbie's Gotham City Sirens movie. (Actually, on second thought, please don't touch the Sirens.)