Suicide Squad Director Still Wants His Snyder Cut But Is It Necessary

Suicide Squad Director Still Wants His ‘Snyder Cut’ – But Is It Necessary?

The success of Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League has prompted David Ayer to call for a director cut of Suicide Squad, but is it needed?

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Suicide Squad Director Still Wants His Snyder Cut  But Is It Necessary

Director’s cuts can be double-edged swords. In some cases, they represent a celebrated director’s vision finally coming to the screen after studio efforts to alter it, most notably in movies like Blade Runner and Brazil. But just as often, they can become exercises in excess, with new scenes that frankly belonged on the cutting room floor and a vision that doesn’t significantly differ from the old. Director’s cuts once made an easy double-dip for studios, which could vastly increase profits, particularly on physical media. But overuse has dulled the impact, and with different cuts far easier to produce in the digital era, the novelty of doing so has long since worn off.

Zack Snyder’s recent cut of Justice League is something of an outlier, in which the director lost control of the film as it was being made rather than a studio cynically milking the tolerance of their fans. Love it or hate; there was sufficient audience demand for Snyder’s version of the film. Now, David Ayer is demanding the same privilege for his 2016 film Suicide Squad, but is it warranted?

Suicide Squad Director Still Wants His Snyder Cut  But Is It Necessary

The strongest argument against an Ayer cut arrives in the differences between Justice League’s production and Suicide Squad’s. The former film suffered from widely documented trouble almost as soon as shooting began. Snyder’s previous movie, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad itself — both released in 2016 while Justice League was shooting — received scathing reviews and alienated a portion of the fan base with their dark tone. Warners was scrambling to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which had redefined superhero movies with 2012’s Avengers, and while they posted strong box office numbers, it wasn’t enough to meet studio expectations.

Snyder began shooting Justice League amid rumors of sudden rewrites to change the tone. The DC Extended Universe, which Warners originally mandated as a more grim comic-book universe in contrast to the upbeat MCU, had stalled, and the studio scrambled to right the ship. When Snyder’s daughter tragically took her life midway through the film’s postproduction, he stepped away from the project. Joss Whedon was brought in to finish the version of the movie that eventually reached theaters.

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Suicide Squad Director Still Wants His Snyder Cut  But Is It Necessary

The upshot was that the filmmaker simply didn’t have the opportunity to complete the film. Justice League fared little better than previous DCEU movies, and subsequent revelations about Whedon prompted further distancing from it. It left the strong feeling of a project interrupted, which fed the demand for the Snyder Cut and eventually resulted in its release. It continues to divide fans, but regardless of the stance, it differs significantly enough from the theatrical release of Justice League to make the exercise worthwhile.

Ayer, on the other hand, wasn’t under such pressures and didn’t need to leave the film. His dissatisfaction with it came later after the film had struggled and indeed contributed to the change in course that bedeviled Snyder’s efforts on Justice League. James Gunn’s subsequent Suicide Squad movie — which Ayer has praised — provided additional takes on the same notion to a much more positive response. Whether Ayer feels he can deliver a better film with another chance is worth considering, but that doesn’t change the reality that he delivered a completed film, while circumstances forced Snyder to withdraw.

That doesn’t preclude an Ayer Cut, and so long as sufficient interest exists to justify the cost, it doesn’t harm any previous version to have an alternate take. It will still stand or fail on its own merits, which Ayer presumably understands. But he’s making his argument under different circumstances, and the sense of a lost opportunity that pervaded Snyder’s film simply doesn’t exist for him. An Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad, if it comes, would certainly prove interesting. Whether or not it’s necessary, however, is an entirely different story.

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