Suicide Squad was released in August to a very mixed reception. I and other comic fans seemed to enjoy it, but critics complained that the film was tonally inconsistent and said the pacing was a mess, which were legitimate issues, but the movie was still entertaining. Although I will acknowledge, my first thought when leaving the theater was “that was pretty good, I wish I could’ve seen the rest of it.” There were many moments where one could tell scenes were missing, and the Joker’s plot was a complete nonstarter. Not long after the end of the theatrical run an extended cut was announced and fans were hopeful after the success of the Ultimate Cut of Batman v Superman. Unlike the Ultimate Cut of BvS, the extended cut of Suicide Squad is able to fix some problems, but the film is still ultimately flawed.
The extended cut only adds an additional 11 minutes of footage, so fans will still notice many shots in the trailers that never make it into the film, such as a scene in which the Joker attacks the Squad in the subway system, a rumored alternate cut of the helicopter crash, and Katana attacking Killer Croc, as well as various lines. Many expected a significant amount of the Joker added to the extended cut, considering Leto consistently talked about how much was filmed. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and Leto’s fantastic Joker is given only slightly more screen time than he was in the theatrical release.
In the extended cut, we fans are given an opportunity to see more of Harley and her abusive relationship with the Joker. A scene of him electrocuting her out of revenge is added. It includes an interesting line about Harley potentially erasing Joker’s mind and memories, but the movie doesn’t really do anything with that development. Another key element is added in which we see Harley chase down the Joker on a motorcycle and beg the Joker to accept she loves him, but she is rebuffed. It is able to convey the fact that Joker never had feelings for Harley, he was just manipulating her as a means to escape Arkham, something which was only hinted at in the theatrical release. The additions actually make things more confusing for me though, since we later have a sequence in which the Joker tells Harley he will accept her love if she dives into the vat of acid at ACE Chemicals. It still feels something’s missing, or it may just be a symptom of bad writing.
We comic fans will notice their relationship in the extended cut is much more accurate to what has been seen in DC comics. I think the theatrical release had a tendency to soften the Joker and make him seem like a lovesick man just trying to reunite with his girlfriend and Harley as completely accepting of being under his thumb. The added scenes help show the audience his blatant physical and emotional abuse, as well as Harley standing up to him by chasing him and putting a gun to his head. The fact that in the comics she was pushed into the vat and him slapping her are still left out, but the extended cut does show someone who’s a long way from being a lovesick boyfriend.
We also get a fun additional scene of Harley psychoanalyzing her teammates within the Suicide Squad, in which we’re reminded that at one point she was a competent psychiatrist. The sequence also helps give us a little more insight into each of the members of the Squad, and it’s even the only point in the film in which Katana shows her face. It’s also another scene in which Margot Robbie gets to shine as Harley Quinn. In fact, most of the scenes added showcase Harley’s character development and motivations, which I think is the weakest link in either version of the movie. Every single character not named Harley and Deadshot are basically a cardboard cutout, even in the extended cut. There are little bits of scenes with Diablo, Captain Boomerang, and Killer Croc added and even some dialogue, but they are just filler that further establishes what little we know of these characters. We already knew Boomerang wanted to escape the Squad, we already knew Croc was more beast than human, and we already knew Diablo regretted what happened with his family and how he views himself. I would have liked to have seen just a little more insight into each of them, and I was hopeful the extended cut was going to be a drastically different movie, like Batman v Superman with the Ultimate Cut.
Both the extended and theatrical cuts of Suicide Squad are entertaining in spite of the numerous flaws. The extended cut is worth watching if one was already a fan. It gives us more time in the universe and has some entertaining scenes added. The extended cut will not change the mind of those who didn’t enjoy the film though. The additional runtime does nothing to fix the flaws of the theatrical release, which is the most disappointing thing to me, all of the missed opportunities with the fantastic concept and cast. Hopefully, Wonder Woman in 2017 will put DC on the right track, and we fans will start getting the DC movies for which we all yearn.