With the embargo being lifted on reviews for Suicide Squad earlier this week, it’s the second DC Comics film of the year to be met with less than favorable reviews, following the unexpectedly divisive response to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Since the debut of the Comic-Con trailer one year ago, Suicide Squad has enjoyed about twelve months of warm feelings, coming from both fans and the media. However, things are much different now.
The release of Suicide Squad is still a day away, however the past optimism of record-breaking box-office openings has been tempered by negative reviews. The movie currently sits at 31 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and what was looked at as Warner Bros’ saving grace has morphed into another polarizing film. With the movie losing critical favor, it’s even more crucial for the studio to win over actual moviegoers this weekend, to ensure repeat business. Fortunately, the movie has built up a high level of momentum due to a brilliant marketing campaign, but once Suicide Squad is in the theaters, there is no hiding from the audience.
It has been a busy week for director David Ayer, who has experienced an increased amount of scrutiny and already felt compelled to defend his film on social media days before its release. Tonight, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins joined the debate after leaving a screening of Suicide Squad adding her opinion as well:
Uh… You guys. Super confused. Just went to the premiere of #SuicideSquad. Hadn’t seen it. It’s great! Not sort of great. GREAT! I mean...— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) August 3, 2016
...I loved it. So surprised by some reviews. I don't get it. I thought it was awesome. And NOT just because I'm in the DC world. Truly.— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) August 3, 2016
At this year’s SDCC, Warner Bros debuted their new super team of directors including David Ayer (Suicide Squad), Zack Snyder (Justice League), Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman), Rick Famuyiwa (The Flash), James Wan (Aquaman), and Ben Affleck (untitled Batman). These directors have been individually and collectively entrusted with the future of the DC universe on film, all under the leadership of Geoff Johns. Those directors represent the new faces of the DC Extended Universe and the creative pressure to create masterpieces for each one is sky high. So it could be easy to dismiss Jenkins’ claims as little more than a friendly act of teamwork.
Jenkins’ comments touch on a much larger discussion about a perceived disconnect between the audience and critics. It becomes even more pronounced when the filmmaker pronounces the movie as “great,” when over 68 percent of critics disagree, at this early point. This will certainly be another talking point for an increasingly dramatic debate that has already gotten out of hand in some people’s’ eyes.
In what seemed like a slam dunk for the studio, Suicide Squad’s opening has turned into another nail-biting scenario for Warner Bros. They are already tasked with the uphill challenge of competing with an established universe under Marvel Studios’ oversight. The next movie on the DCEU slate is Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, which is due for release next summer. Up until this point, the movie (which was once thought to be unfilmable) has had close to universal praise, especially after the Comic-Con trailer release. It’s yet to be seen if Jenkins’ vision of Wonder Woman ultimately aligns with fan’s expectations, but all signs seem to signal it will.
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.
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