Review Roundup: "Suicide Squad" Falls Short Despite Enjoyable Ensemble Cast

The early reviews for Warner. Bros.' "Suicide Squad" are in, and it's not looking good for the next DC Films installment. At the time of publication, the film has scored 33% on RottenTomatoes, just above "Batman v Superman's" own 27% and a good mark below "Man of Steel's" 55%.

"What a waste of a perfectly twisted Suicide Squad," wrote Chicago Sun Times' Richard Roeper, who gave the film 2 stars out of 5. "'Suicide Squad' does have its moments of beautiful comic-book visuals. A glimpse of the Joker's OCD; a gorgeous and weird flashback to the moment Harley Quinn was 'baptized'; blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameos from DC Universe stalwarts; a few solid exchanges between [Will] Smith and [Joel] Kinnaman. Those are just tantalizing hints of a better movie that never materialized."

"All of 'Suicide Squad' is TMI, a bunch of character stuff and plot stuff chopped and diced and tossed up on the screen with no regard for plot or logic or mood, as if we're just not supposed to care about those things anymore," said Stephanie Zacharek in TIME Magazine. "The script is loaded with jokes and devoid of wit; the movie's overall tone is snickering and dour. The setting is your standard gloomy, grimy, grayed-out post-apocalyptic city, the same one we've seen hundreds of times before in hundreds of other movies."

"The real problem with the Suicide Squad is that its members are nowhere near nasty enough," Independent reviewer Geoffrey Macnab shared. "The plotting here is haphazard and convoluted... In what is a very choppy and episodic film, director David Ayer uses a very wide mix of music, including a lot of retro songs, to pump the action along."

"After seeing the trailer showing DC's most eclectic superbad team throwing out zingy one-liners and doing wild stunts to the tune of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' you'd expect 'Suicide Squad' to be a fun, subversive romp brought to life with neon-laced style. And it certainly is... for the first act of the movie," Joshua Yehl wrote at IGN, giving the film a 5.9 out of 10. "From there, it loses its zany charm and becomes something familiar, unexciting, and, worst of all, predictable. There are some enjoyable elements, namely certain standout performances from the star-studded cast, but that's not quite enough to prop up the uninspired plot."

"Whereas 'Batman v Superman' managed to raise certain pseudo-provocative questions about how real people might react to being protected by vigilante 'meta-humans,' 'Suicide Squad' deals with a 100% unreasonable solution to future threats. Like 'Deadpool' earlier this year, it's entertaining insofar as it allows the characters to crack wise and act out, though they can only go so far within the confines of MPAA guidelines and the rigid DC mythology. On paper, this could have been the antidote to an increasingly codified strain of comic-book movies, but in the end, it's just another high-attitude version of the same," Variety's Peter Debruge said.

"I'm not going to get into the film's myriad plot problems, its skips in pacing (most of the movie takes place in one night, a cool idea that is executed terribly), its many failings in logic," Richard Lawson wrote for Vanity Fair."'Suicide Squad' is so uninspired, so dim and unthoughtful, that its one true arresting act of destruction is to deliver what could be a fatal blow to non-Marvel superhero movies... 'Suicide Squad,' trying so lamely to be clever and edgy with all its mortifying music cues and clunky jokes, was only good as a compelling two-and-a-half-minute trailer."

While the reviews have been overwhelming negative, there have been a few that shine a positive light on the film. For instance, HitFix's Drew McWeeny said, "Whatever the case, when 'Suicide Squad' gets it right, I like it a lot, and it gets it right often enough that I like a lot of it. It won't deliver the decisive knockout blow that ends the DC/Marvel rivalry that the most impassioned fans seem to want, but nothing will. What it does is make a case for how much fun this universe can be when the characters are embraced fully and when a filmmaker seems excited by the opportunities afforded by those characters. Lots of superhero films struggle to make us like their heroes even half as much as we end up liking the villains here, and that alone is a pretty canny trick, one that I suspect audiences will enjoy quite a bit."

"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," Brian Truitt said at USA Today, giving the film a 3.5 stars out of 4.

CBR's own Kristy Puchko said of the film, "Though wonky in structure, it makes a certain sense that this antihero tale wouldn't play by the rules. Packed with attitude, 'Suicide Squad' is ferocious fun, boasting a bounty of action, mirthful mayhem, and a cavalcade of curious characters. It's just the kick in the pants Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment need to correct course ahead of next year's 'Justice League.'"

The next DC Cinematic Universe installment, "Suicide Squad," stars Jared Leto as the Joker, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Will Smith as Deadshot, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo and Adam Beach as Slipknot and hits theaters on Aug. 5, 2016.

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