In the lead up to its release, David Ayer's Suicide Squad looked like it was going to be the next Deadpool... a film that rode the hype train all the way to the bank and left fans wanting more. The marketing team was working overtime, getting a lot of fun little spots out there to show off the ensemble cast and get fans in the seats on opening night. And then the first reviews came out.
Many of the early reviewers were not kind. Even those who gave good reviews called out negative aspects of the film, with the editing being one of the most common issues named. A number of fans lashed out against the negative reviews, to the point that there was even a petition launched to shut down review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Now that the movie is out in theaters, though, fan reactions are decidedly mixed as well.
Here's the question: If the cause of these mixed reviews lies heavily with the way that the film was put together, would a director's cut release on Blu-ray make it better?
Is the Theatrical Cut Actually Bad?
This is a bit of a loaded question, as opinions are pretty split regarding whether Suicide Squad is a good movie or not. Some fans believe that it's the best DCEU film so far, while others believe it's the worst. A lot of people fall somewhere between those two extremes, which falls a little short of sort of acclaim that the studio was likely hoping for. The movie saw a sharp drop at the box office after its opening night, though it still had a strong opening weekend. Being a box office success doesn't make a movie a fan favorite, though.
A majority of fans would likely argue that Suicide Squad isn't a bad movie, but it's also not without its flaws. It certainly hasn't gotten the across-the-board praise that the studio was likely hoping for, especially since early hype suggested that the film could be the first major breakout hit to win significant acclaim in the DCEU. It's breaking records in the box office, but there's still a huge debate raging over whether the movie is worth seeing or not.
Do Director's Cuts Make Better Movies?
Just because a movie gets a director's cut, it doesn't mean that any problems in the theatrical cut will magically go away. That said, several movies that have received director's cuts have been made much better by the alternate take. Ben Affleck's Daredevil was significantly improved by a director's cut, and Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice made a lot more sense with the extra runtime that the Ultimate Edition version of the film added. Some movies like Highlander II have even gotten major story revamps in a director's cut.
Of course, not all director's cuts improve on the films they're made from. A sloppy director's cut can make the editing on a theatrical release seem heavenly by comparison, and the wrong footage added in can throw off the pacing of the entire film. Dawn of the Dead seems to slow to a crawl at points in its director's cut, while even Steven Spielberg admits that he made a mistake when showing the inside of the ship in the director's cut of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Would a Director's Cut Improve Suicide Squad?
A lot of the complaints about Suicide Squad center around editing decisions that were made for the film. As a result, a director's cut could potentially fix a lot of the perceived problems with the movie. There were a number of scenes that were shown off prominently in trailers that were axed before the final film, and some parts of the story are kind of hard to follow due largely to how they're put together. The balance of the characters seems a bit off, too, with the movie focusing heavily on Deadshot and Harley Quinn while other members of the team were often little more than set dressing. A director's cut could address these issues, and if handled well could result in a much better film.
Adjusting the tempo of the movie, giving a bit more love to secondary characters, and improving the overall flow of the scenes would definitely improve on the theatrical version of Suicide Squad. A new cut of the film could make it more character driven, keeping the action but giving us more of a glimpse of the personalities of the members of Task Force X. Some would argue that the movie is just a "popcorn flick" and doesn't need to be more than a bunch of action sequences thrown together, but just because a film is in the superhero genre, it doesn't mean that it has to rush through everything else just to get to the big superhero (or supervillain) showdown at the end.
How Different Could a Director's Cut of Suicide Squad Be?
With a lot of films, the director's cut is essentially an extended version of the theatrical cut with added scenes that provide more information or change the way that certain plot points play out. Sometimes scenes will be cut differently or dialog will be tweaked, but the movies seem more like "extended editions" instead of an entirely different cut. With Suicide Squad, though, there's room for significant changes to be made.
Ayer has bragged about the massive amount of film that was shot for the movie, meaning that there is theoretically enough extra footage to expand and revamp the film significantly if desired. If nothing else, it's been confirmed that there was a lot more filmed with Jared Leto's Joker than what actually made it to the screen; a "Joke's On You" edition of the movie could restore some of this cut footage along with other scenes that were cut to expand the film and show more of the villainous nature of its "heroes." It's rumored that test screenings were done with a much darker version of the film, and a director's cut could bring some of that darkness back. There's a chance that it could result in a more balanced film as well, possibly giving Katana and even Slipknot (who in the theatrical release served no purpose other than to prove that characters could die; he didn't even get a title card introduction) more screen time and making them seem at least a little closer in importance to Harley Quinn and Deadshot.
Will There Be a Suicide Squad Director's Cut?
So far, there's been no word on a director's cut of Suicide Squad. In fact, Ayer has been pretty vocal about defending the theatrical cut, whereas Batman V Superman director Zack Snyder started talking about the Ultimate Edition of his movie very early on. Ayer has gone so far as to dismiss the possibility of a director's cut by saying that the theatrical cut is "his" cut, which doesn't bode well for the possibility of a different cut down the line. Of course, that could very well change between now and the movie's Blu-ray release; if there seems to be significant fan interest in an alternate cut, then the studio might explore the possibility to raise the movie's revenue a bit more.
Suicide Squad is in theaters now. Wonder Woman opens on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash, the Batman solo movie and Man of Steel 2 are currently without release dates.
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