For plenty of internet chatter, if not outright celebration, and in the case of The Suicide Squad, it comes from one of the only directors who has managed to put an auteur’s stamp on a blockbuster-sized superhero movie. It’s been warmly received by critics, currently boasting (as of this writing) a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
And since Gunn’s new film, while technically IS a sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad movie, it plays it as loose as possible with that, in part because of the critical savaging the first David Ayer movie received. But for years, there have been whispers (well, more than whispers) that the theatrical cut of Suicide Squad wasn’t the film Ayer intended to make and that the movie was re-cut in a panic after brutal reviews of Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice six months earlier. And to be fair, it wasn’t entirely undeserved: the finished product was bizarrely edited, with little character development, and painfully on-the-nose needle drops at virtually every opportunity, all in an attempt to lighten the perceived darkness brought on by Batman v Superman and perhaps inject a little Guardians of the Galaxy “misfits set to cool tunes” vibes into the proceedings.
Shortly after, Zack Snyder stepped away from directing Justice League and that film was given a similarly bizarre makeover in his absence. But word soon spread that Snyder’s original vision was far more complete than anyone suspected (and further away from the finished product than we imagined), and the internet began to clamor for the release of “the Snyder Cut,” which HBO Max finally obliged them with earlier this year. And once it became apparent that this kind of thing could be done, and with Ayer occasionally offering teases of what his original plan for Suicide Squad included, “the Ayer Cut” similarly became a subject of internet discourse.
With The Suicide Squad set to arrive next week, some critics have chosen to compare it to the 2016 film, which led Ayer to release a heartfelt statement on Twitter both about his life, and his struggles with Suicide Squad. But in particular, and once and for all, he confirms that he completed that movie as he intended…that just isn’t the movie that we got to see.
“I put my life into Suicide Squad,” Ayer wrote. “I made something amazing – My cut is [an] intricate and emotional journey with some ‘bad people’ who are shit on and discarded (a theme that resonates in my soul). The studio cut is not my film.”
Ayer even takes a shot at the theatrical cuts of the bizarrely chosen soundtrack.
And my cut is not the 10-week director’s cut – It’s a fully mature edit by Lee Smith standing on the incredible work by John Gilroy. It’s all Steven Price’s brilliant score, with not a single radio song in the whole thing.”
The Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad. The studio has long made the fact that the DCEU movies are directors’ showcases with more creative freedom a real point of difference between their efforts and the Marvel Studios’ house style. While something like The Snyder Cut may not have been this writer’s cup of tea, it’s a shame to see these directors have their work rendered almost unrecognizable. They deserve their day in the sun, even if it’s destined to remain a curiosity.