By now almost everyone is aware that the third installment of DC’s Extended Universe, Suicide Squad, is in theaters and doing quite well – at the box office at least. After Batman V Superman was released in March to negative reviews from the critics, Warner Bros. was definitely hoping for a better showing from its team of villains. And while the critics were not too kind to Task Force X, Suicide Squad has been raking in cash, both domestically and overseas. As of this writing, Suicide Squad has grossed just over $270 million domestically, and it was recently reported that the global total stands at over $600 million. Not too shabby at all.
It is clear that there is a bit of disconnect between the way fans have been responding to the David Ayer helmed film, and what the critics are saying. While the film has a pretty terrible 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the site’s user score shows that 68% approve of the squad’s performance. The film also received a respectable B+ Cinemascore, which explains its legs at the box office. And this dichotomy between the critics and fans have led to many weighing in, including the comic book creator of Task Force X, John Ostrander.
In a recent interview with THR to discuss returning to the Suicide Squad comics, Ostrander also weighed in on the film’s reviews, stating:
First of all, I want to say I am not disparaging any of the critics. I do have problems — whether it’s the Squad or not — when a critic comes in with an agenda already. They are not looking at the movie for what it is. I have read several of the reviews that were just fine, even not that keen on it. As long as they were looking at it honestly, that’s fine. When somebody comes in with an attitude, “I’m sick of superhero movies,” “I am not going to give them a break,” “it has to be a masterpiece to get a good word out of me,” I don’t think that’s right or fair. There were plenty of fans who did not like it, and well that’s fine and they are right to their opinion even if they are wrong. I know the box office isn’t an arbiter of what’s good or bad, but you have to take a look at how much money Squad has made so far. I think it has done really well.
And Ostrander makes a valid point. It is one thing for critics or fans to go into a film and not enjoy it – that’s your right as a consumer or a professional. But for a critic to go into a theater having already decided that, as a comic book adaptation, a film cannot be enjoyed – well, that’s wrong, and can be misleading to a general audience.
While clearly not a perfect movie, Suicide Squad certainly did enough right to keep a solid cohort of fans recommending the film. In fact, Suicide Squad has led the domestic box office for three straight weekends, though that streak might end this weekend. Of course, Ostrander is correct that the box office does not always reflect what is good or bad, but something is driving fans to the theater to see Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and the rest of the gang stay out of (or maybe get in) trouble. And, if anyone deserves their opinion of the film to be heard, it’s the creator of the team himself.
Suicide Squad is now playing in theaters. Wonder Woman opens in theaters on June 2, 2017, followed by 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, The Batman solo movie, Dark Universe and Man of Steel 2 are currently without a release dates.