Poor, poor Suicide Squad. Warner Brothers had put a lot of faith in its villainous blockbuster to save the DC Comics franchise, but the year-long hype-train spectacularly crashed and burned upon the film’s release last weekend. It received a brutal lashing from critics and hardcore fanboys alike, and despite topping the box office it’s expected to fall off a financial cliff as it moves into its second week in theaters. But now the film has come under a new attack from way out of left field: the South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord has trashed it for “jocking their style.”
Yolandi and Ninja, the core duo behind the outfit, took to Instagram to air their grievances against the film, which ranged from the warranted to the utterly absurd. They apparently heard from Cara & Jared (Enchantress and Joker in the film respectively) that director David Ayer talked about them on set, and lifted elements of the Die Antwoord aesthetic onto various character designs. Then Ninja had to “sit thru dat hole bullshit movie” and play nice with Ayer, which in all fairness is a feeling that many cinema patrons probably felt after the weekend.
The Instagram video shows that there are indeed a few design similarities between the rap group and some of the film’s principal characters. The Joker’s tattoo-covered torso and haircut resemble Ninja’s, and Harley Quinn’s deranged makeup could be compared to some of Yolandi’s severe looks in the group’s music videos.
But despite all these similarities, it remains just as likely that this is merely one of Die Antwoord’s now infamous ploys to create a media circus. The group successfully lit a miniature media-firestorm earlier this year with a truly bizarre indictment of Kanye West, which included a story involving pornography and banana pudding. And lest we forget, this is the musical group who found mainstream success by very publicly trashing Lady Gaga in response to her offer of going on tour.
All in all, who's to say what director David Ayer's intentions were or whether Die Antwoord's claims have any merit. The only true losers in this situation are Warner Brothers' tireless PR agents, who are currently testing the limits of a damage control cycle.
Suicide Squad is in theaters now.
In related news, Die Antwoord's upcoming album Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid is set to arrive sometime next month.