We are now getting the Snyder Cut of Justice League next year, and now fans are asking for the Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad. The director himself David Ayer, has been quite vocal about letting Warner Bros. release his actual version, because it’s apparently a much different cut. Where else have we heard this before? Yes, the upcoming Snyder Cut just very might be a completely different version of the Justice League film we all saw three years ago, but we won’t truly know that until next year. I’m excited, many other fans are excited, but the Snyder Cut may have started something.
Let’s look back at the Suicide Squad movie. Firstly, we already have an extended cut, and it honestly didn’t do much to improve the original cut. Yeah, neither versions were that good and anyone who’s watched the movie knows why. With the amazingly elegant Margot Robbie moving on with the Harley Quinn character (one of the few saving graces of Suicide Squad) and James Gunn’s sort-of sequel The Suicide Squad releasing next year, it begs the big question: Is the Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad really necessary? If you ask me, I’d say it absolutely is.
Now that Disney has Disneyplus, Warner Bros. has answered the call of competition with HBO Max. I’ll start off by asking what’s the harm in releasing the Ayer Cut? The Suicide Squad movie we got is probably the worst movie in the DCEU slate, but it’s not beyond improvement. Ayer himself has made it clear that his “version” is one hundred percent complete. That’s the critical difference between the upcoming Snyder Cut and his apparent cut of Suicide Squad we need to consider. Despite what some fans initially thought, the Snyder Cut was never fully completed and just sitting in Zack Snyder’s basement. While he managed to shoot a big chunk of what he wanted for his cut, he never finished it in post-production.
What does this mean? Well, once shooting is finished, the director has to work with the editing team to make sure every scene flows smoothly. And don’t forget, this is a superhero movie, which means the visual effects team has got to work on making the cool action scenes look cool. There’s also the score from Junkie XL that we never got and that’s just another thing that cost money. Color correction, cropping, the CGI, all of that is what didn’t get finished for Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League. Because of this, Warner Bros. is dropping $20-30 million to complete all of this to make the Snyder Cut an actual completed cut.
On the other hand, David Ayer’s version of Suicide Squad wouldn’t need a few extra millions to finish the post-production. Everything he wanted to shoot was already shot several years ago. The problem is, what he shot and wanted to show us wasn’t what Warner Bros. wanted to put out. Ayer wanted something darker and more violent, but Warner Bros. ordered reshoots to include more humorous scenes to make it a more “fun” movie. Yeah, we all remember how that turned out, but based on what I’ve read about the production on the film, it seems that film was going to disappoint from the get-go. However, there are several story elements that were removed from the final cut of the movie that Ayer really wanted to emphasize on.
What exactly are these story elements? The most crucial of these elements is Ayer’s take on the relationship between Joker and Harley Quinn. In the fanbase of the DCEU, most fans adore Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, but like to forget Jared Leto’s Joker. This is understandable, but if you ask me, Leto’s Joker wasn’t particularly bad, just very underutilized. I’ve argue this before, but when I did, there was no talk of an Ayer Cut becoming a reality. Yes, we got to see more of him in the extended cut, but those scenes didn’t really do much to enhance his performance. He appeared mostly in flashbacks and losing his mind over Harley.
Wait a second, that doesn’t sound like the Joker we know, does it? The Joker we know treats Harley like a plaything that he calls whenever pleases. In pretty much every version of Joker Harley’s relationship, we always see a toxic, abusive relationship. This tangible dynamic between them is what Ayer wanted to explore. Now I get why it was removed, because Warner Bros. probably wanted to make it a more “fun” movie for everyone, but let’s face it, you simply can’t have Joker and Harley Quinn in the same room without some toxicity.
I’ve done some digging before and I remember watching leaked footage of Joker smacking Harley around. As a fan of DC comics, I know this is something he regularly indulges in. Not once did he hit Harley in the Suicide Squad movie. Instead, this version of Joker actually kind of cared about her. After all, he went through a lot and even put his own neck at risk just to get her back and even succeeded by the end of the film. If you’re a fan of DC, ask yourself this question: How many times has Joker put himself at risk just for Harley? The answer is next to never.
Now that doesn’t mean their relationship in the actual movie wasn’t toxic. We saw no physical abuse, but to Joker, Harley was more like an unhealthy obsession he just couldn’t get over. In a way, Harley has always been Joker’s greatest weakness and the film just didn’t do enough to explore that. Think about how this carries over to the Birds of Prey movie. It takes place right after Suicide Squad, after Joker succeeds in springing Harley from prison. They happily embrace each other and they escape. That’s fine to me, but it also leads to some questions.
The Birds of Prey movie opens with Joker ending their “relationship” by throwing Harley out of his house. She’s clearly broken up about it, but we’re led to believe he couldn’t care less. This doesn’t exactly flow well with the ending of Suicide Squad. Why would Joker go through all of that chaos and put his life on the line to get Harley back JUST to let her go like nothing? The Joker we saw in Suicide Squad sure looked like he cared about Harley’s life, but because of Birds of Prey, it seems like he never truly did. This sounds like the Joker we all know, but that’s not what we saw in Suicide Squad.
While Jared Leto’s Joker might not have a bright future for the DCEU, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn certainly does. Without a doubt, the most crucial aspect of Harley’s character development is her relationship with The Joker. That’s what created her, that’s what drives her, and that’s what we need to see more of in the future. Heck, why not have Joker come back to attempt to win her back in a sequel? Harley has begun her emancipation, but what exactly is she emancipating herself from? Based on what we saw in Suicide Squad, it didn’t seem like she was trying to escape from an abusive relationship. Joker was toxic, but she seemed to enjoy the perks she got while being with him. If Harley wants to become a hero, she has to conquer those demons. The problem is that Joker wasn’t the abusive boyfriend that she needed to conquer.
Getting the Ayer Cut would allow us to see that much-needed dynamic. Above all else, it would help Harley’s storyline flow a lot smoother. She is now an essential character to the DCEU, so her development needs to be spot on for future movies. Plus, it would be nice to see those colorful, but underdeveloped characters flushed out more. More of Will Smith’s Deadshot? I’ll take it.
Do you think we’ll be getting the Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad? If the Snyder Cut is coming, I certainly wouldn’t be ruling it out.