Since its release on August 5th, Suicide Squad has been a bit of a mixed topic regarding the #DCExtendedUniverse. While a large number of moviegoers enjoyed the film (and helped it soar to box office records), a majority of film critics didn't have very kind things to say. But the one thing both critics and fans seemed to agree on is that Warner Bros. dropped the ball regarding the film's plot and editing choices.
To take things a step farther, there was a lot of confusion and disappointment with the fact that Jared Leto's version of #TheJoker was so severely cut out of the final cut of the film — despite his more inclusive presence both on set and in the Suicide Squad official novelization. We already covered how the book portrayed the Joker (and how he could have been better in the film), but how exactly does the extended cut fare in regards to his character? Not only that, but how does the extended cut fare in general in comparison to the novelization?
First of all, how is the extended cut?
For me, personally, the extended cut of Suicide Squad felt the same as the extended cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — it's an improvement, but it's still not that great. This new version of Suicide Squad unfortunately is still crammed full of the same frenetic editing choices, poorly put-together flashback sequences and strange dialogue choices. Basically, everything that critics were complaining about regarding the theatrical version is still present in the extended cut.
However, there are some plus sides that we can talk about. First of all, there is close to an additional 14 minutes of footage included. While you might assume it all belongs to the Joker (stay tuned), there is a focus shifted onto quite a few characters who seemed to get the short end of the stick. We see more of Killer Croc, Katana, Captain Boomerang, Enchantress and even Slipknot, all of which give some much-needed depth to a plot that desperately needed it. There isn't much, but it's at least something.
In addition to brief glimpses into other characters, there were some editing techniques that seemed to be lifted straight from #BatmanvSuperman in the sense of extending a scene just enough to help the flow of the film. Where you might have seen a scene or bit of dialogue cut short in the theater, you get to see it actually wrap in the extended cut. Again, it's not a major change, but it does help a little bit with the overall flow of the movie.
Is there more of the Joker?
To put it bluntly, there really isn't a lot more of the Joker in the extended cut. Despite what Warner Bros. endless marketing campaign of Suicide Squad would have you believe, #JaredLeto still doesn't have much more of a presence than he did in the theatrical version. Sorry, guys.
As far as additional Joker footage goes, there are really only two parts of the film where we barely see more of this character. First, the scene where the Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum (and performs electro-shock therapy on Dr. Quinzel) is extended. We hear more dialogue from him and get an explanation as to why he's chosen to betray the doctor he tricked into "helping" him. Sadly, the only other scene where we see more of the Joker in is the motorcycle chase between him and Dr. Quinzel that was entirely cut out of the theatrical version. And yes, the motorcycle chase is fantastic.
Although the actual cut of the film still might not contain as much of the Joker as we would have hoped, we do get to see a little bit more of what Leto brought to the table when it comes to the iconic #DCComics villain. In other words, don't gloss over the special features section, because that is where a majority of Leto's Joker exists. Along with the blooper reel, we see a significant amount of the Joker and Jared Leto's path to developing the character in the "Joker & Harley: 'It' Couple of the Underworld" featurette, as well as the "Chasing the Real" featurette.
How does it compare to the official novelization?
Here is where things get a bit tricky. If you read the Suicide Squad novelization, you should be aware that there were a lot of aspects of the book that might have been touched on in the theatrical version, but they weren't really expanded on — that, or they weren't included at all. Many moviegoers (including myself) had hoped that the extended cut would bring more aspects of the novelization, and unfortunately, we didn't quite get there as much as we might have wanted.
While the novelization brought in a lot more development and expansion for the Joker, #HarleyQuinn, Katana, Enchantress, Lieutenant Edwards (a.k.a., GQ), Killer Croc and Captain Boomerang, the extended cut still just scratches the surface of what the book gave us. Examples of what still didn't make the cut include, but are not limited to:
- The Joker's full escape from Arkham Asylum.
- The full dance club scene between the Joker, Harley Quinn and Monster T.
- The full car chase scene involving the Joker, Harley Quinn and Batman.
- The Joker's full infiltration of the Van Criss Laboratory.
- June Moone's full cave diving exploration and possession by the Enchantress.
- The full development of Incubus.
- Explaining the Eyes of the Adversary (a.k.a. EA's).
- More development and introduction to Lieutenant Edwards (a.k.a. GQ).
- More dialogue between Task Force X during the bar scene, including the explanation of why Harley Quinn was such a great bartender.
(For more about these scenes, check out our original article on the Suicide Squad novelization.)
I think the truth of what we are looking at here is the continued proof that Warner Bros. just doesn't know what they want the #DCEU to be. After seeing the extended cut of Suicide Squad, I will admit that it did seem to strike a balance between humor and "dark and gritty," but the fact that they continuously change their minds is what is hurting not only the universe as a whole, but the individual releases.
As far as Suicide Squad goes, the extended cut is still a disappointment in comparison to the official novelization written by Marv Wolfman. As I said in my previous article on the subject:
"I wanted more explanation, more development, and more from these characters that we all fell in love with during the marketing campaign. This book gave me just about everything that I was looking for after walking out of the theater with my head shaking in disappointment."
I can admit that the extended cut was an improvement (and I said the same about Batman v. Superman), but it still just didn't compare to the novelization. If you find yourself still disappointed with the extended cut of Suicide Squad and you haven't read the book, do yourself a favor and just go read it. You'll be more satisfied with it than any version of the film Warner Bros. will ever release.
Which version of Suicide Squad do you prefer?
Do you have more to say about the extended cut of Suicide Squad? Let us know in the comments!