We hope you’re sitting down for this one: it turns out more than a few people who’ve seen Suicide Squad actually – we’re not kidding – loved it. In all seriousness, the early reviews concerning David Ayer’s addition to the DCEU have proven to be as contentious as the film itself, with some of the criticisms revealing, or at least implying that the critical voices and those of the fans most passionately awaiting the film are farther apart than may have been assumed. And with Ayer and the cast reiterating that Squad was made with the fans, not critics in mind, it seems the elephant in the room has been pushed into the spotlight. Can a movie made for fans be a hit with critics, too? Should it?
Thankfully, one respected voice among the comic book fan community has offered up his own impressions of the movie and – no surprises here – his love of the characters, DC Comics history and director’s unique style made Suicide Squad a fantastic experience.
The fan in question is Kevin Smith, comic book writer/filmmaker/podcast host/superfan whose love for the characters debuting in Suicide Squad may be unrivaled (how many other reviewers can say they named their own daughter after the Joker’s girlfriend?). In light of all the negativity surrounding the film and its reception, Smith offered up his own early reactions to the film (seeming in line with Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins’ own).
Smith was present at the premiere and, as a fellow filmmaker, made his own respect for David Ayer’s changing style and body of work known on his official Facebook page. That respect also extends to his latest release: a film that kept a grin on Smith’s face from start to finish:
I look up to @suicidesquadmovie maker #DavidAyer. His #endofwatch, shot with a mixture of media including dashboard & body cams, was the work of a true filmmaker. And I don’t know how he got me to love a tank movie, but #fury is another amazing Ayer effort. When I heard he was shepherding a cinematic #suicidesquad, my already-high interests in a @dccomics movie shot over the top: what would a gritty guy like Dave do with the likes of #Deadshot & #HarleyQuinn? Well I think he made magic and did #dccomics proud.
The #Squad movie doesn’t look like any other comic book flick I’ve ever seen. The periodic use of both #Batman and the #joker as background characters instead of the usual leads was thrilling and felt like our first real glimpse at an interconnected #dceu. The cast is top notch but Harley, as expected, steals the show. The #jokerandharley beats are simply wonderful for a longtime fan to watch and make you immediately wanna see the all-Harley movie they already announced. Throwaway moments made me so happy (like Katana and her Soultaker sword) but this flick as a whole had me smiling the whole time. Thanks to her name, my kid @harleyquinnsmith_ was already on board for this movie – and she loved it (like LOVED it). I’ll be heading back to see it again tonight so expect a brand new #FatManOnBatman review soon. #KevinSmith
For starters, Smith’s comments highlight what may prove to be one of the most divisive decisions where fans and critics are concerned: cameos, teases, and unclear connections. It was an issue that first reared its head in Batman V Superman, when the movie’s core plot took a moment away to tease an arrival of The Flash from the future (with no explanation), hints of Darkseid and Apokolips (that confounded the uninitiated), and full-on Justice League origin story glimpses. For many critics, the moments hindered the film… while many comic book fans who knew just what Zack Snyder was hinting at cheered in their seats.
It’s possible, if not likely, that the same will be true here. And while early reviews criticized the relatively small role played by Jared Leto, at least in terms of what’s expected from Batman’s iconic villain, it sounds like fans – Smith included – may appreciate the impression that Joker, Batman, and many other DC characters are existing alongside the Squad, only overlapping as a tease of things to come. Or, in the words of Smith, what an “interconnected DCEU” can look like – and much, much closer to the comic books, when a cameo from Batman or Joker is treated as an added bonus, not a pointless diversion.
There will undoubtedly be critics of Smith’s ‘subjectivity,’ since he respects those behind the film, and loves the characters presented – which makes him the exact kind of fan and audience member for whom Ayer and the cast have claimed to have made the film. But he’s not claiming to be a disinterested observer, so we won’t hold him to those requirements (and we doubt DC fans will, either).
What do you think of Smith’s comments? Does it sound like his affection and excitement for seeing characters faithfully adapted is closer to your own hopes for the Suicide Squad? Let us know in the comments.
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.
Source: Kevin Smith