Watch the 2016 “Suicide Squad” and then watch the 2021 “The Suicide Squad” and you’ll notice a vast difference. The 2016 version spends all its time constantly going into the backstory of multiple characters. Yet most of this information isn’t relevant to the story so it simply wastes time and delays the story getting started.
In contrast, the 2021 version starts the story off right away with occasional flashbacks so you can see where the various characters came from. More importantly, the 2021 version immediately begins the story and gradually reveals what’s happening as the characters get further into the plot.
Not surprisingly, the 2016 version was panned because it’s simply awful. Because the 2021 version focuses on telling a compelling story right from the start and gradually teasing us with the details over time, it’s far superior.
The 2021 version follows the basic structure of a story:
- Start off with an intriguing idea.
- Show the hero getting close to success.
- Suddenly twist the story to reveal what’s really going on.
- Then show the hero dealing with this new twist.
This structure works in every good movie. In the 2021 version, the story starts off by having the Suicide Squad storm a beach and mostly get wiped out in the process. At this point we only have a vague idea that the goal is to destroy some type of military project that the island’s dictator is creating.
A second group of Suicide Squad members now can sneak on to the beach after the first group distracts the military. They find their goal and infiltrate the project, ready to blow it up. So far, everything appears to be going according to plan.
Now the twist occurs and we find out what’s really going on. This causes the Suicide Squad members to doubt what they’re doing and try to decide how they should react.
Finally, the Suicide Squad members decide what to do and then act on their decision. This leads to an emotional change in the main characters that leads to a satisfying physical conclusion as well that culminates in a major fight scene.
This simple story structure is completely lacking in the 2016 version, which explains why it was so awful. Eliminate structure from any story and you essentially gut the purpose of a movie altogether. Hollywood throws millions of dollars on A-list actors and directors, along with special effects and explosions, but none of that matters if the story structure is absent.
When you see the 2021 version, you’ll see that it follows the basic story structure perfectly. When you watch the 2016 version, you’ll see that it completely ignores the basic story structure, creating a complete mess and a waste of all the talents of its A-list actors and directors.
Movies tell a story so make sure your screenplay tells a great story. That’s the secret to making a great movie.