Early ‘Suicide Squad’ Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

Does “Suicide Squad” live up to the hype? For months, fans have anxiously awaited the arrival of the DC Comics’ movie that could finally trump the Marvel Universe. Although the movie is projected to be summer hit, will David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad” dethrone the Marvel Universe critically?

Early reviews aren’t looking too favorable in that battle. So far, on Rotten Tomatoes, “Suicide Squad” is hitting below 40%. Compared to Marvel Universe’s last film, “Captain America: Civil War” which landed at 90% and the latest Avengers installment which landed at 75%, DC Comics has a lot of catching up to do. DC and Warner Bros.’ latest, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” didn’t wow critically, coming in at 27%.

Variety’s Chief Film Critic Peter Debruge emphasizes in his review that although The Joker and Harley Quinn are scene-stealers, the story makes little sense and is pretty messy.

“Yes, [Ayer] and Leto manage to invent a version of the Joker every bit as unsettling as the late Heath Ledger’s immortal incarnation, turning the iconic Batman rival into a ruthless seducer (hunt down ‘Mr. Nobody’ to see the origins of Leto’s wicked deep-throated cackle), but the character barely has anything to do,” writes Debruge.

Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair says the movie is “bad. Not fun bad. Not redeemable bad. Not the kind of bad that is the unfortunate result of artists honorably striving for something ambitious and falling short.”

Even a sparkling cast of Margot Robbie, Will Smith and Viola Davis can’t save the film for Lawson.

“Even those stars eventually succumb to ‘Suicide Squad’s’ grim undertow, Ayer’s script forcing such erratic shifts in character and tone that it would be impossible for even the most nimble and resourceful of actors to keep their footing,” he wrote.

Stephanie Zackarek of Time Magazine calls the movie “dead on arrival” and “chopped and diced and tossed up on the screen” also adding that “so much happens in David Ayer’s DC Comics adaptation ‘Suicide Squad’ that by the end, it’s as if you’ve seen nothing.” One saving grace for Zackarek is Robbie’s Harley Quinn, which is echoed by most of the critics, saying that after her entrance you can leave the movie and won’t have missed anything.

Chris Nashaway of Entertainment Weekly thinks “Suicide Squad” is definitely a step up from “Batman v. Superman” but not a big enough step. He adds that although the characters are colorfully crafted with comic-book wit, the plot falls flat and “the stakes should feel higher”

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter sums it all up in his first sentence.

“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.”

But also makes a good point, alluding to the possible success of the film: “What dedicated comics fan wouldn’t show up for his [The Joker’s] big-screen return?”

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone was incredibly let down by the film, arguing that appealing to a wider audience was a huge downfall for the film.

“Who stole the soul of ‘Suicide Squad’? I’d say it’s Ayer’s willingness to go all limp-d–k and compromise his hardcore action bona fides for a PG-13 crowdpleaser that would rather ingratiate than cut deep, or even cut at all,” he writes.

Alonso Duralde of The Wrap calls the film “overstuffed spectacle” that attracts people with a certain style that fails to deliver in the film.

“The film’s ubiquitous posters are psychedelic and outrageously designed, but none of that aesthetic makes it into the final product,” writes Duralde. “And if those posters led you to believe you’d be getting a lot of Leto’s Joker, think again: he’s a tertiary presence here, designed to attract ticket buyers and, presumably, to act as a placeholder for future DC movies.”

David Ehlrich of IndieWire plays on the film’s tagline, “Worst.Heroes.Ever,” saying that “’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.”

But just like with “Batman v. Superman,” which made over $330 million in the domestic box office, unfavorable reviews do not mean that Ayer’s “Suicide Squad” will tank.

“Suicide Squad” opens in theaters on August 5.

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