Review Round-up: Suicide Squad

So the much anticipated and hyped-up anti-superhero movie from the DC universe Suicie Squad has finally hit theaters and this early on, reviews have not been so kind despite the predicted financial success it will bring to Warner Bros Studios. After the not-so good run of Batman vs Superman, Suicide Squad seems to have failed to turn things around. Does this bode ill of upcoming DC films like Justice League and Wonder Woman?


Before I continue, a couple of things: I haven’t seen Suicide Squad, maybe I will this weekend maybe not. It’s not that I don’t like it, I’m just not enthusiastic about it. The only reason I am interested in watching it is to see with my own eyes how Jared Leto’s Joker turned out. But that’s for another post for another time.

First up, is a snap-shot or screengrab of the summary of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes which gives Suicide Squad an overall rating of 31%. That’s right. Fans wished it was a joke, but it’s not.

RottenTomatoes-Suicide Squad
Critics shoot down Suicide Squad in their reviews of the highly anticipated DC Comics movie

Fans have responded in defense of the movie with a petition to shut down the popular movie review site.

Next is Geoffrey Macnab’s Suicide Squad review for The Independent:

In essence, this is a retread of The Dirty Dozen. Instead of Lee Marvin, we have Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, the upstanding field leader of the Suicide Squad. Waller has a hold on him because she knows he is in love with June Moore. Flag, in his turn, thinks he can control the members of his squad. They’re essentially being blackmailed to fight for the Government.

The plotting here is haphazard and convoluted. The Suicide Squad is up against an ancient enemy who has the power to harness electricity and to create his own army from anyone he encounters on the streets of Midway City.

In what is a very choppy and episodic film, director David Ayer uses a very wide mix of music, including a lot of retro songs, to pump the action along. (The soundtrack includes everything from “House Of The Rising Sun” to “Sympathy For The Devil” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.)

He wraps up his review with how Suicide Squad is that the bad guys, weren’t bad enough:

By the final reel, the Suicide Squad members are behaving little differently than any other super-heroes. This surely defeats the entire point of the movie, which is that they are supposed to be bad guys who are doing good only under the most extreme sufferance.

David Ehrlich shares the same observation in his review for IndieWire:

Intended as an antidote to the rest of the DC Cinematic Universe (in that it’s aggressively flippant instead of gravely serious, and merely bad instead of soul-crushingly awful), “Suicide Squad” promises to flip the script on superhero movies by forcing the audience to root for the bad guys. Alas, that wild and crazy idea is the only thing that separates this dank sewer of messy actions beats and misplaced machismo from any of the other films that have come to define its genre. And writer-director David Ayer — justifiably concerned that his characters hedge much closer to good than they do evil, and that viewers might therefore mistake his generic slop for the same movies that its meant to subvert — takes pains to remind you of the conceit every few minutes.

We’re bad guys!” smirks Harley Quinn when a stodgy soldier questions her behavior. And then, after a dull sequence in which our anti-heroes fight off a phalanx of anonymous CG baddies (like the Avengers) while exchanging witty banter (like the Avengers) and using their various abilities to emerge victorious without breaking a sweat (like the… you get it), Deadshot goes out of his way to reorient us : “Don’t forget, we’re the bad guys.” The most damning thing about this painfully PG-13 movie is that the reminder actually feels necessary.

He then zeroes in what he thinks was the movie’s biggest problem:

How ironic that a superhero story determined to celebrate the genre’s villains should feature the worst villain that the genre has ever seen. If “Suicide Squad” falls off a cliff the moment the uniting stops and the fighting begins, that’s partially because Enchantress — the enemy that draws our task force into Midway City — is an unmitigated disaster. Blessed with absolutely zero emotional stakes and forced to spend most of the movie gyrating against a green screen, the character is a perfect shitstorm of bad decisions. Delevingne is a talented young actress, but she’s helpless to save this part, a victim of putrid ideas poorly executed.

And then there’s her horde of googly-eyed henchmen, who ensure that every fight sequence is a wasted opportunity. Also, they look stupid. So stupid. You will be stupider for having seen them. An action sequence is only as good as who the heroes are fighting, and Enchantress’ flimsy, faceless cannon fodder help explain why “Suicide Squad” — which is already missing any of the moral shading that made Ayer’s “End of Watch” an urgent, throat-grabbing police drama — is also denied the full-bodied bombast that elevated his “Fury” into such an immersive portrait of hell on wheels.

Peter Travers sums it up well in his review for Rolling Stone:

Who stole the soul of Suicide Squad? I’d say it’s Ayer’s willingness to go all limp-dick and compromise his hardcore action bona fides for a PG-13 crowdpleaser that would rather ingratiate than cut deep, or even cut at all. My heart sank during the film’s big battle between the Squad and zombie soldiers. You heard me: zombies! The walking dead aren’t the only clichés that eat away at the potential in this material. Superfreaks become supersweeties and Suicide Squad: Dawn of Dullness (my subtitle) does the impossible. Forget Batman v Superman — at least it tried. This botch job makes Fantastic Four look good.

Is Suicide Squad really that bad? Fans will definitely have the opposing answer, casual movie goers would most likely enjoy the action and eye-candy, in the end though, one must have to see it for himself before giving a verdict.

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