Aside from Wonder Woman, the DC Extended Universe has received a real critical mauling. The worst was David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, which currently stands as the lowest rated film in the franchise on Rotten Tomatoes with an ignominious 26% fresh (though Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is just 1% higher). This vicious reaction apparently came as something of a shock to the director, as he revealed in a recent interview with ET to promote his latest project, Bright.
“It was shit. Yeah, it was shit reviews. I got my throat cut. [Laughs]. It was a super polarizing movie. Incredibly polarizing.”
Personally, I’m a fan of David Ayer, and I particularly loved both End of Watch and Fury, so I still give him the benefit of the doubt on Suicide Squad. By all accounts, the film was the victim of studio mandated reshoots (sound familiar, Justice League fans?) to make the pic more in line with the wildly popular Queen-soundtracked trailer which Ayer had no involvement in. But for his part, he’s making no excuses:
“Yeah, for sure. It made me gun shy. It’s like going to the boxing ring and getting knocked out is how it felt. And I had to go into the ring again. And directing is a confidence game, because you’re selling everyone on something that only exists in your head. The actors have to feel that confidence to trust that you know what you’re doing, and so does your crew.
As a director, you set the tone. Really, it’s coming off that movie, I understood the pitfalls, I understood the dangers, I knew where the alligators hide, you know? And so I made damn sure I didn’t repeat any mistakes.”
Despite the film’s critical failure, it at least proved to be a wild financial success, raking in $745m at the box office and reportedly finding much of its repeat audience from demographics outside the typical comic book movie audience of 25-34 year old white males. For my part, I consider Suicide Squad as a noble failure. I’m willing to put its issues down to studio interference and to credit Ayer with what it did right. So, I’m pleased to hear that the critical reaction hasn’t dissuaded him from returning to comic books movies:
“You know, I’m not a film school guy. I didn’t go to college. I’m kind of vocational in my outlook, and it’s like, Now I know how to make that movie! Now I could fix Suicide Squad! So… And I love the comic IPs. I mean, I’m a comic geek. And I love Warner Bros. and I would definitely go back.”