This last weekend, a select group of journalists were invited to see Suicide Squad. The film from David Ayer was seen as the DCEU’s shining hope that shared universe isn’t as dismal or depressing as Man of Steel or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. A lot of the marketing emphasized how much fun the film would be by combining the team’s camaraderie and use of classic songs like “Ballroom Blitz.” In fact, some hailed it as the DCEU’s version of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Now the reviews are out, and they aren’t speaking highly of Suicide Squad. Ayer has also given out a swift response to these negative reviews. Check out excerpts from the critics who saw the film and Ayer’s response to those criticisms below.
We will start off with a few of those reviews, and how about a little good news first. Here’s what Frosty from Collider said.
Okay, so he believes that the film is good and that there are some flaws. But what do others think. Well, they aren’t good.
Angie Han from /Film says:
“Unfortunately, Suicide Squad suffers from a lot of the same issues that have kneecapped many of this year’s other similarly sized blockbusters. The pacing is wildly uneven, as the film moves from a relatively zippy first act to a virtually nonexistent second act to an endless third act. Action is often prioritized at the expense of emotional beats or character moments, and too much of the dialogue feels like explanatory or expository. At one point in the climax, one character turns to another to explain the plot point we’ve been watching play out for the past 20 minutes. My audience laughed at how ridiculously clunky it felt.”
Todd MacCarthy from THR opens his review with this:
“A puzzlingly confused undertaking that never becomes as cool as it thinks it is, Suicide Squad assembles an all-star team of supervillains and then doesn’t know what to do with them.”
Chris Nashawaty from EW:
“Writer-director David Ayer (End of Watch) skillfully sets up the film, introducing each of the crazies with caffeinated comic-book energy. But their mission — to take down Cara Delevingne’s undersketched witch, Enchantress, and her giant golem-like brother — is a bit of a bust. The stakes should feel higher. As someone who isn’t fluent in Suicide Squad lore, I can’t imagine there wasn’t a better villain in its back catalog. Still, it’s nothing compared with how wasted Leto’s scene-stealing Joker is. With his toxic-green hair, shiny metal teeth, and demented rictus grin, he’s the most dangerous live wire in the film. But he’s stranded in the periphery.”
Peter DeBruge from Variety:
“Rather than bringing levity and irreverence to the increasingly unpleasant comic-book sphere, as its psychedelic acid-twisted marketing campaign suggests, ‘Suicide Squad’ plunges audiences right back into the coal-black world of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,’ picking up after the Man of Steel’s demise to imagine a government so desperate that its only hope to fight the next ‘meta-human’ threat is by assembling a team of the gnarliest super-villains around.”
Matt Singer from ScreenCrush:
“Instead of just one scene of plot-stopping fan service, Suicide Squad delivers an entire first act of soul-deadening exposition.”
Germain Lussier from iO9 said:
“In a way, the film mirrors the actual Squad itself—a bunch of interesting parts that would often work better alone than together. For instance, the main character of the film is Will Smith’s Deadshot; he’s the first person we meet and the character who gets the most backstory. It’s a strong story too, but it’s also so prevalent compared to almost every other character, at times the film feels like it should be called ‘Deadshot plus Six’ instead of ‘Suicide Squad'”
Despite the wave of negative responses, Ayer had this to say:
What that translates to is “I’d prefer to die standing, than to live on my knees.” Basically, Ayer is proud of the movie he made, and stands by the product that he will give out to the world this weekend. The guy has been sticking behind this film to the very end. Now it’s one thing for a filmmaker to say this — after all, it wouldn’t do any good for the film if its own director was already speaking negatively of it before it is released — but the critics have spoken.
I was genuinely excited for this film and saw it as the film to save the DCEU from itself. Now that the reviews are out, I will have many reservations going into this. Hopefully, I’ll see things differently.
Suicide Squad opens in theaters August 5.