Believe the Critics on SUICIDE SQUAD

I do.


There’s this odd internet trend of blaming the critics when a movie you really want to like doesn’t get the love from professional taste-makers. It was especially true — exceedingly, disproportionately so — during the fallout from Batman v. Superman.

The criticism of the critics at times bordered on paranoiac madness with screechy diatribes: Critics just want to pile on! Critics are pro-Marvel! Critics are anti-DC! Critics don’t understand comics! Critics just want attention!

Nothing is absolute and certainly there are critics with axes to grind, but I’ll say this: Most critics would much rather spend their time watching good movies than bad ones. And as a group they’re not motivated by much more than that. Sure, there are outliers, but there’s no cabal that has it in for DC Films.

No, the problem with DC Films is DC Films.

Which is why I’m listening to the critics and taking a pass on Suicide Squad.

Rotten Tomatoes is an excellent, if imperfect, barometer of where the critics are leaning. And as I write this, Suicide Squad is sitting on 34 percent — meaning only 34 percent of critics judge the movie to be good.

Chin up, Harl

Chin up, Harl

That’s a, well, rotten number and not much better than the 27 percent that Batman v. Superman ended up with.

Someone on Twitter the other day said they wished they lived in a world without critics, where everyone could just see something and judge by themselves.

What people like that don’t understand is that critics are necessary — and I can’t believe I even have to point out why: They give us their opinions to help us decide whether to see something before we spend our well-earned cash — especially in an age where taking the family to a movie can cost $100. Otherwise, the only information comes from those hyping the films — those who want you to base your decisions on a handful of minutes from a 2 1/2-hour film that are re-edited for maximum impact.

Don’t like one critic? OK. Two? Sure? But when two-thirds of a large group of professionals comprising a broad range of geographical and presumably ideological lines tell you something stinks, it probably stinks.

Besides, the critics were vindicated where BVS was concerned: Warner Brothers has been running breathlessly ever since to correct the direction of the superhero studio. It was just too late with Suicide Squad.


Critics are superfluous only when a movie is review-proof to you. If there’s a Batman solo movie, I’m almost certainly going to see it. It may end up with 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but I’ll want to judge for myself based on my own tastes and experiences. I’ll probably agree with the critics but it doesn’t matter. I’ll still see it.

That’s what happened with Batman vs. Superman. I saw it. Didn’t care for it that much and haven’t seen it again, unlike many other movies that I’ve rewatched over months, years or even decades.

But I needed the critics on Suicide Squad — especially since I really feel burned by DC Films after Batman vs. Superman and Man of Steel. No longer are these movies review-proof for me — especially when it’s a character or group of characters I’m pretty agnostic toward.

Someday, I hope DC Films earns my trust like Marvel Studios has.

Until then, spending blindly for their movies would be suicide. For my wallet.

(UPDATED: Not long after I posted this, a friend sent over this link to Evidently some incredibly misguided and hilariously uninformed fans are freaking out over Rotten Tomatoes and are petitioning to shut it down. Assuming this isn’t some brilliant trolling, they don’t appear to understand that the site is not a critical entity. It aggregates reviews from other sources.)

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I never paid much attention to critics, but after so many of them hated BvS and loved Civil War (exactly the opposite of my family’s opinion), I definitely don’t care what most of the critics featured on Rotten Tomatoes think. I’m not sure why so many people refer to RT scores. Why do 100% have to like something for it to be good? What’s more, a film can get a 100 RT score even if the critics are lukewarm about it. Also, there’s almost always something interesting about a film. It should never be an all or nothing proposition, which unfortunately is the approach RT is promulgating.

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  2. Sorry man, its very hard to side with critics, hardly ever have they loved the same movies as i, or damn near the masses. You HAVE to see the movie for yourself and form your own opinion, like batman v superman, i loved it, if i listened to critics i would have stayed home, it wasnt the best movie ever, it had plenty of issues, but I was fine with it and believe WB will get it all figured out. But if u stay home no one wins, u cant know for sure if the movie sucked or not, you cant even offer an opinion up about it now. Its like when people bitch and moan about an election, but dont vote….u know what, dont even talk to me then! No one has it in for dceu, true, but there are plenty of critics out there that think comic book movies have no place in cinema, or they have to follow the marvel formula. Its a shame, plenty of critics that i trust liked the movie, some love…but ill be damned if i listen to the guy that just gave a woody allen movie 5 stars but wont give suicide squad the time of day, then we all lose brother.

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  3. I’ve never understood the appeal of Suicide Squad myself. Unlike the Dirty Dozen, these are actual bad guys who would shiv you in a moments notice. They aren’t looking for a clean slate to start over.

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    • actually some are. Diablo is one. Rick Flag is another. they’re not common on Task Force X, but they do pop up every now and again.

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  4. If the critics don’t want us to spend our hard earn money on bad movie’s, then why did BvS make almost $900 million world wide? Other hero movie’s like Ant-Man, Deadpool, Fantastic 4 (which was horrible by the way) and X-Men: Apocalypse didn’t even make what BvS made. So why were those movie’s (except Fantastic 4) #1 around the world & BvS was considered a failure??? It really make’s no sence. The critic’s really are getting on my nerves. Seriously! All they’re doing is ruining it for other’s before they even get a chance to see the movie. I do believe the critic’s are the one’s ruining DC movie’s for fan’s. Because the DC movie’s are GREAT! Sorry, but the critic’s don’t really know good movie’s…

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  5. I think you’re missing the point. Suicide Squad is one for disenfranchised, or the part of all us that feels disenfranchised. And just like you (or I) don’t shop at Hot Topic, but lots of cool folks do, this flick just might not be for us…but for perfect for others.

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  6. I just saw “Suicide Squad” and think it’s much better movie than “Batman vs. Superman.” It’s got big flaws, but they nailed the characters pretty well – something that BVS failed to do. Both Will Smith and Robbie Ammel give excellent performances. (Conversely, Jared Leto’s Joker did nothing for me.) I enjoyed it more than I than I thought I would.

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    • I actually thought the film was ok. Not as great as it should’ve been but not as bad as I was expecting (considering I hated MAN OF STEEL and BATMAN V SUPERMAN). I’ll see what critics say about the film but I’ll decide whether or not to see it in theaters or wait for the Blu Ray. MARVEL has more hits than misses but DC’s record is not looking good at all. There’s too many chefs in the kitchen and none of them know how to read a recipe properly. This film should’ve been DC’s DEADPOOL and it wasn’t at all. DEADPOOL’s Budget was $58 million and made a killing at the box office — $760 million globally. The success of that film was due to a great script, ideal actor for the role and the director’s vision all being executed beautifully. That’s not the case with SUICIDE SQUAD. SS’s budget is $175 million (not sure if this includes marketing though), with a so/so script, an ok director and hit (HARLEY QUINN) and miss (JOKER) casting. It’s making money ($266 million global total currently — although not playing in China will hurt it’s earnings quite a bit) but how many will be returning to theaters to see an “ok” movie? I certainly am not. How many times are people going to get burned by DC before they equate it to the poor quality of an M. Night movie? Frankly, heads need to roll on this and new management is needed to correct the course of this ship. They’re starting to do that so we’ll see what happens with WONDER WOMAN (probably the best trailer at SDCC this year).

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