There may be no bigger surprise/disappointment in 2016 than the early critical reception of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, a DC Comics-based supervillain team up that has enjoyed some of the best trailers and marketing we’ve seen in years. Hoped to be the first bona fide hit movie in the DC Extended Universe, after the mixed reception of both Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad instead left fans stunned when it opened to mostly negative reviews, with its Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores currently sitting at 29% and 42, respectively.
Of course, the first batch of general audiences won’t see Suicide Squad until tonight’s midnight screenings, and there’s always a possibility that fans will like the film a lot more than most critics (as was the case with Batman V Superman), but in the meantime the movie’s cast have been pressed with questions about the poor reception.
Speaking to Reuters, Will Smith (who plays the highly skilled assassin Deadshot) gave perhaps the most diplomatic response, saying, “I think people had expectations that may have been different, but I’m excited for the fans to get to vote.” Meanwhile, Ayer responded with a smiliar sentiment, but threw in a sly dig at movie critics: “I made the movie for real people who live in the real world. I made the movie for people who actually love movies and go and see movies.” Cara Delevingne (who plays Dr. June Moone and her alter ego, the ancient witch known as Enchantress) was the most candid, saying, “The critics have been absolutely horrific, they’re really, really horrible. You know, I just don’t think they like superhero movies.”
Of course, it’s understandable that Suicide Squad‘s actors and director might be a little bitter about the poor reviews, given how much blood, sweat and tears they poured into the making of the film. There’s arguably no right way to answer the question, “How do you feel about the fact that people are trashing your movie?” But it’s unfortunate that Ayer would throw further fuel on the “fans vs. critics” fire that had just about died down after Batman V Superman.
Still, it’s not all doom and gloom for the cast of Suicide Squad. At the premiere’s pre-party they each had little dancing skeletons holding their place cards, which Karen Fukuhara used to make this heart-stopping short film about a showdown between her character, Katana, and Delevingne’s Enchantress.
Now that’s Certified Fresh.
Suicide Squad is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash and Batman solo movie are currently without release dates.