‘Suicide Squad’, Criticism, and Optimism

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Suicide Squad is the third entry in the budding DC Extended Universe. The DC Extended Universe isn’t exactly in good critical standing. Its first entry, the divisive Man of Steel, had its ardent admirers and its very vocal, steaming non-fans. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a rushed attempt to address the criticism leveled at Man of Steel, but also their quick way of playing catch-up with Marvel, quickly introducing the shared universe right off the bat.

Now along comes Suicide Squad, which looked to be the turnaround for the series. A film that would get up to Marvel Cinematic Universe-level critical reception. Its trailers were all great, despite the reports of last-minute reshoots. Now reshoots are normal in big tentpole moviedom, but supposedly in Suicide Squad‘s case, the reshoots were done because of the reactions to the first full trailer. While the moody and grim Comic-Con trailer was met with mixed reactions, the first trailer – set to Queen’s iconic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – was what sold a lot of audiences on the picture. So much so that tracking says it may make more than $120 million for the weekend. Rumors say that the picture was dour and humorless (unsurprising if true), and that the reshoots were meant to lighten it up, even though writer-director David Ayer said in interviews that the reshoots were done just to beef up the action set-pieces.

Whatever happened, the picture has a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 4.8/10 average rating. Of course, the vocal minorities are out in full force, much like when Batman v Superman came out and garnered equally weak critical reception. Most of the criticism seems to concern the storytelling, the directing, and the thinly-written characters.

Now, this is where my problems begin.

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Rotten Tomatoes’ percentage ratings are simply numbers. These numbers that show how many critics gave the pictures in question positive reviews, and a lot of the time, RT is not very consistent when it comes to designating certain reviews. A 3/5 review for a movie from one critic is ranked as “Fresh”, while another critic’s 3/5 review is called “Rotten”. The slightly better aggregator Metacritic has Suicide Squad at 41, meaning “mixed”. 24 mixed reviews, 11 positive, and 15 negative. It seems like yet another divisive kind of movie that will have its fans, its haters, and its in-between folk that say “it’s meh”.

Quality is subversive, we all know that, right? Why do we live by what critics say? Why is it assumed that critics are the be-all, end-all voice on what’s a good movie and what is not? Doesn’t your view matter? If there’s something in a so-called “bad” film, show, album, book, what have you that appeals to you in a special way, why do you care what others think? Now that doesn’t make critics wrong, it doesn’t make you right either. You love what you love, they love what they love.

It should be as simple as that. No need for petitions to end a website collecting reviews. No need for the filmmakers and actors to trash critics in an attempt to stand by what they released to the world.

Is it the stigma of liking a “bad” movie? If so, tough stuff. This is high school-level behavior right here. As an adult, you needn’t worry if a good chunk of people don’t like the movie you like. You liking it says nothing about your personality, and the same applies to disliking a movie that’s universally acclaimed. If someone bothers you or berates you because of your movie taste, that’s their problem, not yours. I’ve dealt with several people getting on me for my tastes, but you know what? I stick to my tastes, because it’s just how I feel. I let them think what they want, so hopefully they let *me* think what I want.

Why are simple things seemingly so hard to do? Why does there have to be a petition to take down a website? Why do people send death threats to critics who dislike the movies they love? Or movies they’re really anticipating?

You’re ruining what should be fun, inclusive, and insightful.

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That all being said, if I don’t like Suicide Squad, I’ll just go “Oh well, better luck next time.” Not, “The DCEU is doomed! DOOMED!” I don’t like hyperbole, I like to wait and see before declaring the diagnosis. Wonder Woman‘s Comic-Con trailer was awesome, as was the Justice League trailer. The movies could be garbage, they could be decent, they could be great. The stories of DC Entertainment’s management being changed up and certain executives being kicked out of the process excite me, but at the same time I don’t know how the post-Wonder Woman films will turn out.

In the mean time, can we try harder? Or can we just ignore these people and move on with better movie discussion? Criticism should inspire thoughtful discussion, not immature dissing.

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5 thoughts on “‘Suicide Squad’, Criticism, and Optimism

  1. I think the criticism isnt the problem. Most critics are pretty fair and thorough but it’s the trolls who probably dont even read the reviews that are the problem. It does worry me about Wonder Woman because I just dont trust them

    Like

  2. Honestly, the movie is messy, but it’s not terrible. It’s quite fun, really. But still definitely pales in comparison to all that Marvel is doing. Nice review.

    Like

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