‘Suicide Squad’ Reviews: Better Than ‘Batman v Superman,’ But Still Disappointing

Early reviews praise Margot Robbie and Viola Davis, but opinions on the rest of David Ayer’s supervillain fest are not as good

If early reviews are any indication, then “Suicide Squad” is not going to be the course correction for the DC Cinematic Universe that comic book fans and Warner Bros. executives had hoped.

After the review embargo dropped Tuesday morning, initial reviews were largely negative, with the Rotten Tomatoes score currently hovering around 36 percent.

Scores could improve as more reviews come in, but the early consensus seems to be that while David Ayer‘s supervillain showcase is better than the morose “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” it still fails to reach the levels of fun that were promised by its explosive, “Bohemian Rhapsody”-filled trailer.

TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde said in his review that the film fails to give all the members of the titular band of bad guys a chance to shine, saying that the film has “10 pounds of supervillain backstory being crammed into a five-pound bag.”

Duralde did single out certain members of the cast for praise, namely Viola Davis as government suit Amanda Waller and Margot Robbie as the Joker’s beau, Harley Quinn.

“In the comics, Waller is presented as an imposing block of a woman, the female equivalent to Marvel’s Kingpin character,” he wrote. “Davis doesn’t need size to be intimidating. Her force and her capacity to do damage is all there in the actress’ eyes, and she makes the character an indelible one.”

TheWrap’s superhero expert Umberto Gonzalez had more positive things to say about the film, praising the action scenes and the performances of Robbie’s cast mates, particularly Will Smith‘s take on Deadshot. On the other hand, he noted that the Joker (Jared Leto) gets very little screen time and that the Suicide Squad’s nemesis, The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), was too cheesy.

Read more of the early reviews of “Suicide Squad” below:

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“It’s a clotted and delirious film, with flashes of preposterous, operatic silliness. But it doesn’t have much room to breathe; there are some dull bits, and Leto’s Joker suffers in comparison with the late Heath Ledger…’Suicide Squad’ promises madness, and a dense downpour of madness is what it delivers. I could have done with more fun and more lightness of touch.”

Jen Yamato, The Daily Beast

“Needless to say stylistic flourishes, like unstable villains, are bountiful in ‘Suicide Squad.’ The fun is in letting yourself go along with every silly bit. Do you like montages and flashbacks? Ayer loves them. He cannot get enough of them. He leans on both far too heavily for far too long in a movie so stuffed to the rafters with colorful characters, there’s barely any room for a serviceable plot.”

Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

“In our modern era of overstuffed superhero movies, it’s not a surprise that Suicide Squad has too many characters. But unlike films such as The Avengers, which have distinctive protagonists with resonant backstories, Suicide Squad often loses all momentum when it tries to dramatise how its myriad villains ended up that way. As a result, fine actors such as Jay Hernandez (who plays Diablo) and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Killer Croc) toil in the background, with the script’s faint stabs at emotional shading adding up to very little.”

Brian Truitt, USA Today

“Deadshot is the movie’s emotional heart, and it’s Smith’s best role in years — he gets to showcase some of Concussion‘s deep emotion but with that old Independence Day swagger… Like ‘The Dirty Dozen’ for the Hot Topic generation, the team gets in-your-face introductions and things just grow more mental from there. But compared to its ilk, ‘Suicide Squad’ is an excellently quirky, proudly raised middle finger to the staid superhero-movie establishment.”

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

“Each has a unique skill set for mayhem, but it’s Robbie who displays the most thrilling superpower of all: turning into a movie star while having a gonzo blast swinging a baseball bat and tossing off naughty, gum-snapping one-­liners. Aside from Smith’s Deadshot, she’s also the only character with a remotely interesting backstory as the onetime shrink to Jared Leto‘s mad wild card Joker who was seduced to the dark side. Don’t cry for her, she seems to love it.”

Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice

“There are so many gaps and dodgy edits in these parts of Suicide Squad that the movie sometimes plays like a trailer for itself. But the film recovers, in part because Ayer, a director whose previous work has mostly been cop dramas and war movies  makes this comic-book stuff play to his strengths. He has a feel for the ways that people handle desperation — for high-pressure situations in which flawed men and women are forced to live up to their responsibilities. So he builds up the team’s differences and the fact that each member has private reasons for seeing the mission through. His dialogue is sharp and tight: Even as these antiheroes banter and jaw and distrust one another, they reveal who they are.

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