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.
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 ComicBook.com. 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.)