Film Review: Suicide Squad – Why Did It Flop Critically?

suicide-squadThere is no doubt the latest superhero offering from Warner Brothers was a success on the commercial front. Suicide Squad has made many hundreds of millions at the domestic and global box office. But the critical reception, along with the opinions of a majority of the film-going audience, are largely negative towards the movie. So what happened? Why did Suicide Squad flop with critics to such an extent? And why is there a huge disparity between the amount of money the movie made and what film goers think about its quality?

smithWhen we attempt to assess a movie like Suicide Squad, it is important to look at the hype that surrounded the movie. For many months, comic books fans and general movie audiences were in anticipation of the movie, because they were intrigued by the trailers and the A-list cast. When you have actors such as Will Smith and Margot Robbie starring in your movie, along with the introduction of beloved comic book characters such as The Joker, you are always going to get audiences excited. Most people had made up their minds about seeing the movie, regardless of how critics reviewed Suicide Squad in the days leading up to its release.

Moviegoers chose to see Suicide Squad because they loved the marketing and were enticed by the characters in the movie. But critics saw through most of the hype after the first screenings. Why did they hate it so much? To understand the negative reviews for Suicide Squad, we must point to the disjointed way in which the movie was set up. The first act, which meanders on for more than an hour, consisted almost entirely of short clips flashing back to the lives of the different characters in the movie. Instead of trying to tell a cohesive story, the movie’s first half felt like a collection of fan-made trailers for each character.

jokerCritics may have forgiven the disjointed first half of the movie if the second half was an appropriate pay-off. But critics felt as though they sat through the first half of the movie for nothing, because the second half was even more disappointing. The “final battle,” if we can call it that, was a complete dud. The movie’s major villains failed to deliver half-decent performances, while the intriguing chemistry between the main cast was reduced to cheesy one-liners and clichéd shooting of faceless bad guys.

If movies such as Suicide Squad hope to succeed on both a critical and commercial level, the writers, producers and directors must pay more attention to the story they are trying to tell. Having enticing characters, decent visuals and pop anthems makes for a watchable movie, but a great plot and cohesive storytelling is what separates the mediocre blockbusters from the great ones. Unfortunately for Suicide Squad, it is very much the former. Warner Brothers now has two comic book duds in a row, with Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, and it remains to be seen whether their upcoming movies will fare any better with critics.