DC Comics' superhero flick Suicide Squad proved to be perhaps the most divisive blockbuster of 2016, with a very healthy box office take contrasting with absolutely dire reviews.
Now, the film's director David Ayer has taken the unprecedented step of releasing a statement to outline what he would've done different in making the film, admitting that he wished he "had a time machine" to make changes.
Much was made ahead of the film's release of Jared Leto's role as the Joker - but the final cut saw many of the actor's scenes on the cutting room floor. Leto himself slammed the film, saying he felt he'd been "tricked" into taking the role.
Replying to a fan on Twitter overnight who thanked him for the "masterpiece" film, encouraging him not to "let anyone tell you otherwise," Ayer responded with a lengthy statement in which he acknowledged the film had been "controversial."
"I took inspiration from the insanity of the original comics. Making a movie is a journey, not a straight line. I learned so much. People want what they want, and everyone has a personal vision of how each character should look and walk and talk. If you set out to make a mass appeal movie, it's easy to end up with vanilla. But I went for it. And I know Squad has its flaws, Hell, the World knows it. Nothing hurts more than to pick up a newspaper and see a couple years of your blood, sweat and tears ripped to shreds. The hate game is strong out there," he wrote.
"The movie was wildly successful commercially. And the World got introduced into some very cool characters in the DC Universe. And that success is due exactly to the wonder and power of DC, of its characters. Would I do a lot of things different? Yep, for sure," Ayer continued, before zeroing in on Leto's Joker as one aspect of the film he wished he'd done differently.
"Wish I had a time machine. I'd make Joker the main villain and engineer a more grounded story. I have to take the good and bad and learn from it. I love making movies and I love DC. I'm a High School dropout and used to paint houses for a living. I'm lucky to have the job I have. I have to give the characters the stories and plots they deserve next time. Real talk. (And no, there isn't a secret edit of the film with a bunch of Joker scenes hidden in a salt mine somewhere.)"
Following the global commercial success of Suicide Squad - it grossed almost three-quarters of a billion dollars worldwide - Ayer will next direct the science fiction fantasy Bright, starring Joel Edgerton and Will Smith and set for release later in the year.
After that, he'll turn his hand to Gotham City Sirens, a Suicide Squad spin-off focused on Harley Quinn, played by Australia's own Margot Robbie.