Being the second DC film to arrive in 2016 to have been met with mixed feelings by moviegoers, Suicide Squad arguably has the advantage over Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in that it was leggier at the box office and seemingly caught on more when it came to merchandising, along with inspiring legions of cosplayers.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to like about this movie, but there’s also quite a bit that I found to be less than satisfactory. Director David Ayer brought an expected sense of gritty realism to the film along with a certain gravitas needed when bringing so many iconic supervillains to life, many of which are appearing on the big screen for the very first time. He obviously had a clear vision for the adaptation, but it was quite obvious that the studio had other ideas after BvS didn’t exactly receive the warmest of receptions and ultimately, cut the film to their liking. And although I was someone who enjoyed what I saw in theatres, I could count myself among the ilk who wanted to see something a little different when hearing that this “Extended Cut” would be coming to home video.
Unfortunately, this is just that – an extended cut of what we saw in theatres, only 11 minutes beefier. It can in no way be seen as an alternate cut and, if you want an idea of what this flick probably looked like before reshoots, it’s probably best that you also pick up the official novelization.
Sure, it’s nice to see more interaction between the various members of the Squad along with Harley Quinn, who flat out steals the movie thanks to Margot Robbie playing the femme fatale to perfection, but in no way will this cut alter perceptions like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition did. The funny thing is, there’s probably a cut of Task Force X’s first outing lying around somewhere that would. We just probably won’t see it in our lifetime.
Something that was somewhat altered with the assistance of an additional scene was that of the infamous dynamic shared by Joker and Harley. Portrayed onscreen as more “Bonnie and Clyde” than the abusive relationship that fans of comics and animation have come to know, this polarized audiences, to say the least. The only real difference presented on Blu-Ray is that we see Joker was at one time annoyed with his former therapist, but we still get a tale of outlaw lovers while all the abusive stuff – although filmed – was left on the cutting room floor. I guess the studio didn’t want the vilest of all Gotham City’s residents making people uncomfortable with any odious behavior.
Despite any of his misdeeds, it’s an empirical fact that Joker is one of the most popular villains in all of fiction. So, why is he still largely absent from this cut? I mean, we know there’s much more material that could have been used. But, then again, I can’t complain too much because this interpretation of the character wasn’t all that great to begin with.
Jared Leto did indeed immerse himself in the role, but he certainly doesn’t reach the bar his predecessors set. Hell, Gotham’s Cameron Monaghan, a proto-Joker, outclasses his performance in every way. Acting aside though, I think a good amount of my disillusionment comes from his look. It’s perfectly okay for characters to evolve over time, as they all do, but couldn’t someone from DC Entertainment have stepped up at some point to say, “Joker doesn’t dress like a freaking pimp?” If I had the ability, I would take a page out of The Flash’s playbook and alter the timestream so I could pair Heath Ledger’s Joker with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Now that would have been the stuff of legend!
That aside, there are still several other bright spots here, such as Will Smith’s badass Deadshot, Viola Davis’ cold-as-ice Amanda Waller, and the slick, deadly Katana, played by newcomer Karen Fukuhara. And although I don’t loathe the studio’s choice to use Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) as the villain, I probably would have gone a different route. Watch the animated film Batman: Assault on Arkham, which pretty much was a Suicide Squad tale, and you’ll see that a story such as this can pretty much write itself, along with making use of characters who are a better fit.
When it comes to bonus features on the Blu-ray, most are pretty informative but don’t stand out from what you normally see from supplemental material these days. Two of them, however, are very much worth your time: “Task Force X: One Team, One Mission” and “Joker and Harley: The ‘It’ Couple of the Underword,” both of which examine the comic book origins of the characters in the feature film as well as having the cast and crew detail the process of bringing each to life.
As can be expected from a movie that may get an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects, the visuals presented on the disc are top drawer: Crisp, vibrant, and generously colorful, even if the film mostly takes place at night. Sound quality is also quite good, as it needs to be with such a diverse soundtrack being utilized.
Overall, Suicide Squad Extended Cut likely won’t sway your opinion from what you thought of the theatrical cut, good or bad. But if I have to choose, I’m going with the one boasting a longer running time, since it’s never a bad thing to see more of the characters that one enjoys.
In short, Suicide Squad Extended Cut is fun, packed with personality and, thankfully, features more of Harley Quinn. Just be aware that what you'll see won't greatly differ from what was presented in theatres.