The Reviews Are In: Critics Hate ‘Suicide Squad’

It seems like everyone was looking forward to the release of Suicide Squad this summer. It even won the Most Anticipated Movie surfboard at the Teen Choice Awards last week. Suicide Squad tells the story of a team of super-villains brought together by a US Intelligence officer who sees them as expendable but potentially useful. They are then given large weapons for a top-secret mission with high stakes for all. The DC comic was wildly popular at its release, with a dark edginess that forces a new angle on how to define a superhero and a crew of fascinating characters to capture people’s attention.

However, the comic’s translation to film isn’t doing too well; in fact, many critics have ripped the film to shreds in the last few days. Rotten Tomatoes currently rates Suicide Squad at a falling 29%, which has pissed off fans so much that there’s a petition to take down the website with almost 19,000 signatures on it. Despite the fanbase’s loyalty to the DC comic, the movie continues to pull terrible reviews from film critics. While Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Viola Davis appear to be the highlights of the movie, the critics have little to no good things to say. Here are some of the most brutal reviews:

Jacob Brogan, Slate

“As if concerned we won’t know who these people are—or why we’re rooting for them—the film delivers everyone’s biographies over and over throughout its interminable two hours. Sometimes that background comes in the form of expository monologues, sometimes by way of overwrought flashbacks. Regardless, it always feels cumbersome; no sooner have we been ever so slightly charmed by the reluctant team bonding in an abandoned bar than we’re pulled away for yet another ponderous story about someone’s dead family.”

Suicide Squad’s only triumph may be that it manages to make Batman v Superman look better by comparison. Bloated and baffling as that film was, it at least had a coherent aesthetic—a morose aesthetic, to be sure, but an aesthetic all the same. Suicide Squad, by contrast, is little more than a drab patchwork, its stitching the only thing uglier than the cloth.”

Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

“…[The] noble three [Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis] do slog their way through the gunk of this material and occasionally find something worth playing, reflecting a tiny bit of light that dimly bathes those of us in the audience. But 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.”

Viola Davis Suicide Squad

Warner Bros/Clay Enos

“All that talk about Jared Leto going super-method to play the Joker, tormenting his castmates and whatnot, has led only to a lukewarm display of villainy that, it turns out, teeters on the line between small supporting role and outright cameo. After all that, Leto’s Joker is barely in the damn movie, and when he is, he’s entirely underwhelming.”

Mara Reinstein, US

“Writer-director David Ayer (End of Watch, Fury), seemingly unsatisfied with his own play-by-play, feels the need to splice his film into a whirl of flash-and-dash montages. Too often, you’ll feel like you’re watching a music video marathon instead of a cohesive feature film… That hyperkinetic directing style suits these renegades to an extent — nobody expects this bunch to frolic in the sunshine for two hours and fret over headlines in the Daily Planet. But the heroes-on-acid narrative makes it a challenge to follow the story, not to mention a chore to process the onslaught of violence.”

“Once the powder-faced villain [Jared Leto’s Joker] disappears, [Cara] Delevingne’s witch takes over as the villain No. 1. This is a mistake. The former model fails to convince as a woman with ancient origins who can finagle people’s brains and longs to be worshiped. Looking the part of a psychotic spirit animal is not enough. Intensity is required, and she doesn’t have the gravitas to pull it off.”

Warner Bros/Clay Enos

Warner Bros/Clay Enos

A.O. Scott, New York Times

“It chases after the nihilistic swagger of Deadpool and the anarchic whimsy of Guardians of the Galaxy but trips over its own feet. The colors are lurid and smeary (when it’s not too dark to see what’s going on). The language pushes the far boundary of its PG-13 rating. The death toll is high, and the weapons are nasty. In spite of all the mayhem and attitude, the overall mood is cautious. For a film about a gang of outlaw brawlers, Suicide Squad is awfully careful to stay inside the lines.”

“Harley Quinn, meanwhile, in a tiny T-shirt and tinier shorts, her multicolored hair in ponytails, is a frat boy’s idea of what a feminist action heroine might look like. Her relationship with the Joker — she calls him her Puddin’, and is basically his brainwashed plaything — is a sour sexual nightmare played as a smirky, naughty joke. Harley is the object of a tired, lowest-common-denominator male fantasy.”

Warner Bros/Clay Enos

Warner Bros/Clay Enos

David Edelstein, Vulture

“Speaking of indistinguishable, the other members of the squad are barely one-dimensional. One of them — an Aussie — is known for his boomerang. Another is a lovable lug under pounds of rubber. Another is a guilt-ridden flamethrower who’s like an X-Men reject. I’d forgotten all about Joel Kinnaman’s lovelorn G.I. Joe type until I checked the cast list again.”

“But for all the gestures towards realism…the lack of real consequences in these movies (no hero does anything really bad, none of the good guys ever die) makes for explosively boring climaxes. As storytelling, Suicide Squad is the worst of the worst, but it’s no different in kind from the best of the best. This is all just high-priced junk.”

Cary Darling,

“[The film] is a cacophony of explosions, crashes and seemingly every popular song — from Black Sabbath to White Stripes — ever recorded. But volume is not vision, and Suicide Squad, while containing some intriguing touches and entertaining performances, turns out to be just another generic superhero action movie with a dull villain and a numbing, anticlimactic climax.”

“But if future DC-based movies — like the heavily anticipated Wonder Woman and Justice League coming next year — are as uninteresting as Suicide Squad, even the diehards might decide to stick with the comic books instead. At least they’re not as noisy.”

Suicide Squad opens in theaters on Friday, August 5th. Will you be there?

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