Warner Brothers is reeling from the Suicide Squad fiasco, despite the movie making serious bank in its first week of release. Once again movie critics savaged the DC film, meaning it now lands on a long list of DC properties with a less than stellar critical response, along with Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice.
The David Ayer helmed film was supposed to be a dramatic reversal of fortunes. A Will Smith-backed summer spectacular has a tradition of doing well. Add to that an amazing trailer that came out around the time of 2015’s San Diego Comic Con and everyone was hyped to watch DC’s infamous villains, like Harley Quinn and the Joker, become heroes.
The buzz proved to be unsustainable now that the movie has a 26% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics really, really hated it. However, there is another side to this story. The people who actually buy tickets to the movie absolutely loved it – at least if you check the box office. The movie raked in $133 million just in its first weekend. The movie beat the better-reviewed Deadpool and then became the single biggest August opening, triumphing over Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
But did the folks who went to the movie actually like it? Actually, yes they did. The Atlantic reported a whopping 45 percentage points gap between those who liked it and those who reported on it. Atlantic was citing a survey of critics’ ratings versus fan ratings for a series of Marvel and DC movies. Suicide Squad had by far the biggest deviation.
The other largest critics/fans deviation was for 2004’s Hulk, which critics loved and audiences hated. Over 60 percent of critics enjoyed that one, but only 29 percent of fans thought it was worth watching.
Meanwhile, everyone is speculating what exactly went wrong. One blogger noted that the DC movies struggle to explain the origin stories of anyone who is not Batman or Superman. Suicide Squad lets a prison guard do the honors of explaining why each villain has their specific cells: Killer Croc needs a sewer cell, “the guy who turns into father needs an iron lung,” Harley Quinn is in an electrified cell in the middle of the room, etc. The movie is almost an hour old before anyone does anything, because Ayers takes up so much time on these introductions.
Criticism of the movie has become its own industry, an easy form of clickbait across the internet. Even Forbes got into the act, writing a story about The 5 Biggest Problems With Suicide Squad! Forbes cited storylines being abruptly dropped, strange editing decisions, a bad Big Bad, and way too much exposition as the movie’s main problems. Forbes also felt, as did many moviegoers, that the movie would’ve been better as an R-rated flick, rather than a lukewarm PG13 one. Whatever you feel, it’s pretty much assumed that the movie is a smash with moviegoers, and they’re the ones who buy the tickets. They’re the ones that the production companies are looking at to see if they want to invest in a sequel. We make sequels for everything these days, so don’t be surprised to see Suicide Squad 2 pop up.