The Winners and Losers of ‘Suicide Squad’

It wasn’t supposed to go down this way. Suicide Squad was supposed to be fun. An edgy, subversive antidote to the grim, why-so-serious-ness of Batman v. Superman and Man of Steel. But in case you haven’t heard by now, the reviews are out, and the reviews are… not great.

And not to pile on, but now that we’ve seen it, yeah, the reviews aren’t wrong. Turns out, Suicide Squad made for a much better trailer than feature-length movie. See, much like the Squad themselves, writer/director David Ayer and his cast were given a nearly impossible task: resuscitate the DC movie universe with a team of second-tier supervillains. And if they fail? Well, what’d you expect? They’re not Batman and Superman, after all.

Still, this makes three straight DC movies to debut to disappointing results. So now what? Here’s a look at which way everyone’s trending after Suicide Squad: who took the biggest hit, and who’ll be able to walk away unscathed.

Will Smith


Playing a hired gun who can’t miss in Deadshot, Smith has had a lot more misses than hits at the box office lately. But make no mistake, the man is still bulletproof. (If After Earth couldn’t hurt him, nothing can.) Smith comes in, does the job he’s getting paid handsomely for, and gets out. No muss, no fuss. He even gets one of the film’s most unintentionally meta lines, after the latest in a string of uninspired fight scenes: “When does this end?” See? This guy gets it.

Trending: Up. Suicide Squad’s a much-needed reminder of Smith’s action hero bonafides. Now he just needs a movie to match.

Margot Robbie


2016 was supposed to be Margot Robbie’s year: she landed starring roles in two potential franchises, and a big part in a Tina Fey comedy. Then The Legend of Tarzan turned out to be DOA, and now this. But there’s a lot of things wrong with Suicide Squad, and Robbie’s unhinged Harley Quinn isn’t one of them. Instead, she’s one of the rare instances where the movie gets the tone just right. As for those rumors of a Harley spinoff? Sign us up.

Trending: Up. There’s always next year.

Jared Leto


By now, you’ve heard the stories about what Jared Leto did to get into character as the Joker, mailing the cast and crew “fun gifts” like a dead pig, anal beads and used condoms. Wacky, right? But just wait until you see the finished product and realize he did all that for 10-15 minutes of total screentime. There’s “method acting” and then there’s just being a creepy asshole to your co-workers.

Trending: Down. That post-Oscar glow has officially faded.

Viola Davis


Doing a superhero movie is no longer considered a step down for a former Oscar nominee, so Davis doesn’t hurt her award season cred any playing the mastermind behind the supervillain team-up. Sure, her plan and motivations make zero sense, but Davis makes the most out of what she’s given, out-sociopathing DC’s more brand name psychos.

Trending: Up. Cold-hearted government bigwigs can be a lucrative niche, and Davis nailed her audition.

Jai Courtney


Courtney’s had a rough go of it these past few years. Just look at his credits: Terminator Genisys. The Divergent movies. A Good Day to Die Hard. I, Frankenstein. Dude’s practically franchise Kryptonite at this point. But he’s actually pretty good here as Captain Boomerang “Tom Hardy playing Captain Boomerang,” despite the fact that his character’s main superpower is… owning a lot of boomerangs. And assuming people don’t think it’s actually Hardy underneath that thick accent and eyeliner, Courtney should get yet another shot at yet another franchise after this.

Trending: Even. Maybe the eighth time’s the charm?

Joel Kinnaman


As Rick Flag, AKA the Suicide Squad’s de-facto captain, Kinnaman is a good solider and little more. For whatever reason, he’s a guy who always seems to rise and fall according to the level of the material (see: Robocop, House of Cards) as opposed to rising above it. But considering Hollywood’s running dangerously low on up-and-coming leading men (see: Courtney, Jai), expect Kinnamen to get a few more cracks at stardom.

Trending: Down. It’s Will Smith vs. Kinnaman for the Squad’s alpha dog, and Smith totally takes his lunch money.

Cara Delevingne


The Enchantress is probably Delevingne’s biggest role to date, but playing a six-thousand-year-old witch who speaks in tongues, is constantly surrounded by a swarm of flies, and wears a metal bikini isn’t exactly the kind of part that launches you into Oscar consideration. Go figure.

Trending: Down. Her best-case scenario is Peter Sarsgaard post-Green Lantern, only without his pre-Green Lantern track record.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje


Akinnuoye-Agbaje completely disappears into his role as Killer Croc. Literally. And it’s a good thing for the former Lost actor, because a human/crocodile hybrid in a velour hoodie and track pants is firmly in the running for Suicide Squad’s cheesiest character.

Trending: Down. Unless he’s willing to pretend that was someone else under all that scaly makeup.

Jay Hernandez


Just like Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Hernandez was rendered virtually unrecognizable by Suicide Squad’s makeup department. Unlike Killer Croc, Diablo is actually given a real character arc and a chance to show he can act. You win some, you lose some.

Trending: Even. We’d call that a wash.

The Rest of the Squad


Karen Fukuhara, Adam Beach and Scott Eastwood all make late entrances and/or early exits, and barely register in this overstuffed ensemble. Which is probably for the best, considering.

Trending: N/A

David Ayer


Making a superhero blockbuster isn’t an easy gig, even for summer movie veterans, let alone a first-time like Ayer, and there’s already stories leaking out about studio interference, a rushed production, multiple editors and competing cuts of the film. But it’s still Ayer’s name up there on the finished product, and Suicide Squad’s jumble of flashbacks, montages, neon flourishes and lifeless dialogue goes on his permanent record at the end of the day, for better or worse. (Spoiler alert: it’s worse.)

Trending: Down. There’s a reason people turn down these jobs.

DC Movies


Suicide Squad was supposed to save the DC movie-verse by injecting some much-needed levity (read: Marvel-ness) into their big screen offerings. And before we get accused of being on the Marvel payroll, not every comic book movie needs to be The Avengers. But they do need to be a coherent story instead of a confusing mishmash of character intros and ho-hum fight scenes stitched-together with Queen songs and Eminem. Suicide Squad takes a potentially interesting idea – supervillains save the day – and instead just runs it through the same-old tired superhero formula. In fact, its greatest accomplishment is making Batman v. Superman look better in comparison. Which means now it looks like it’s up to the Justice League to save the day. Godspeed Batfleck.

Trending: Up. Mostly because there’s nowhere else to go from here.