So in the latest DCEU news, Suicide Squad aint doing so hot with the critics. And that’s an understatement:
“[A] dank sewer of messy actions beats and misplaced machismo.” – IndieWire
“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. Suicide Squad is just bad. It’s ugly and boring, a toxic combination.” – Vanity Fair
“Enchantress is, let’s face it, the lamest DC villain since Sharon Stone stalked Catwoman.” – Variety
“There’s no big, meaty, iconic Joker scene for us to marvel at. [Jared Leto’s] occasional appearances detract from the smaller characters the movie is actually about, to the point you almost wish he wasn’t in the movie at all.” – Gizmondo
“A sports dream team whose combined efforts don’t nearly measure up to the talents of its individual players.” – The Hollywood Reporter
One bit of good news: This movie, if all else sucks, seems to have Deadshot and Harley Quinn nailed down:
1. DC needs Suicide Squad to do well.
At least at the box office. Marvel Studios/Disney has dominated the big screen for the past few years with multiple blockbusters a year, big profits and a consistently highly positive critical consensus. All the recent live-action DCEU films (Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have been the only two for the last three years) have been critical flops, while the MCU kept upping its standard with each new release.
With the upcoming Justice League franchise and solo spin-offs, the DCEU could use a huge shot of adrenaline via Suicide Squad. It seemed like the perfect film to deliver the masses such a drug. Colorful, quirky characters who are also complete lethal sociopaths. Bad guys banded together to fight even badder guys. The perfect summer ensemble blockbuster. Well, until the reviews poured in, anyways.
Colorful, quirky characters who are also complete lethal sociopaths.
2. Bad reviews don’t mean low box office.
The reviews may not actually affect the numbers, with its trailers pushing the charms of stars Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn HARD. Jared Leto as the Joker also feels like a must-see if only to gauge whether he’s a worthy successor to Heath Ledger’s legendary take on the iconic villain.
3. Justice League is too tonally different from Suicide Squad for audiences to connect the two.
Also, regardless of box office performance, the Suicide Squad franchise is tonally opposite from the Justice League films. These are a group of villains killing other villains, whereas every member of the Justice League is a Boy or Girl Scout when it comes to morals and ethics. If there is negative residue from Suicide Squad, it won’t drip onto the Justice League.
These are a group of villains killing other villains.
4. The trailers for Justice League and Wonder Woman looked cohesive and substantive. The ones for Suicide Squad did not.
Just last week, I was telling a friend how I feared that Suicide Squad‘s trailer was so flashy that it seemed like the movie itself might lack all actual substance. And here we are.
Whereas Wonder Woman and Justice League trailers allowed glimpses into stories of self-discovery, organic formation of friendships and bonds of love (in addition to the occasional Flash whooshing into a room and Wonder Woman waving that Lasso of Truth around), Suicide Squad promos seemed to be all about zingers and highlighting myriad ways their main characters do what they do best–killing people with the utmost pizzazz.
Clear indications that a trailer for a movie is probably better than the movie itself is when it’s 100% action-packed CGI set pieces mixed in with “witty” one-liners. Throw in an exceedingly hip soundtrack and it’s hard to imagine that the editors aren’t overcompensating for a product much lesser than the sum of its promotional efforts.
5. Batfleck might be the best thing to happen to the DCEU in a while.
Although the theatrical version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (hey, could we get a longer title, please?) was generally trashed, Ben Affleck seemed to receive universal praise for portraying a better Bruce Wayne than perhaps even Christian Bale or Michael Keaton.
As a matter of fact, critics lauded Ben Affleck’s cameo in Suicide Squad, singling him out as a much-welcome “treat” who brings a few surprises with him into the film.
Hey, maybe Batfleck may not be the Batman we deserve but he is the one we need…to save the DCEU, after all.