Early Suicide Squad Reviews Pin David Ayer’s Actioner As A Stylish Mess, Director Responds

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Suicide Squad may be on course for a commanding $140 million opening weekend, but David Ayer’s ensemble piece hasn’t fared terribly well with critics.

In fact, it’s beginning to evoke memories of – whisper it – Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, with our own Isaac Feldberg questioning the hooky narrative and predictable story that offers few, if any genuine surprises.

That’s disappointing, of course, but it’ll still be interesting to see how Suicide Squad plays with audiences. Will this critical drumming have much of a bearing on that box office forecast? Time will tell.

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For now, here’s a review round-up, followed by David Ayer’s own reaction to the initial response.

WGTC: Haphazardly paced and generically plotted, Suicide Squad benefits immensely from the winning presence of Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, two thrilling and tremendously well-crafted villains who are easier to root for than anyone in this year’s other DC entry.

The Playlist: And while “Suicide Squad” isn’t as poorly stitched together as its nearly unintelligible forebear “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice,” it’s still a patchy, makeshift effort of mismatched tones, tacked on jokes and messy narrative. While a flippant sense of humor assists its entertainment factor, the second DCU film ain’t no “Deadpool” either.

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? Writer-director David 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.

Indiewire: Just when you think the summer movie season can’t get any worse, along come the “Worst. Heroes. Ever.” And while the film’s official tagline is selling its stars a little bit short (surely last year’s incarnation of The Fantastic Four still holds that dubious distinction), the mundane, milquetoast, and often mind-bogglingly stupid “Suicide Squad” almost makes good on the threat of its marketing campaign.

EW: Writer-director David Ayer (End of Watch) skillfully sets up the film, introducing each of the crazies with caffeinated comic-book energy. But their mission — to take down Cara Delevingne’s undersketched witch, Enchantress, and her giant golem-like brother — is a bit of a bust. The stakes should feel higher. As someone who isn’t fluent in Suicide Squad lore, I can’t imagine there wasn’t a better villain in its back ­catalog. Still, it’s nothing compared with how wasted Leto’s scene-stealing Joker is. With his toxic-green hair, shiny metal teeth, and demented rictus grin, he’s the most dangerous live wire in the film. But he’s stranded in the periphery. For DC, which blew it with Batman v Superman last spring, Suicide Squad is a small step forward. But it could have been a giant leap.

It certainly wasn’t in the script, though David Ayer has issued a response nonetheless, revealing via Twitter that he stands by his divisive picture no matter what the outcome. The quotation reads: “I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”

The real question now is, will it witness a steep second week drop-off in the vein of Batman V Superman? All will be revealed once Suicide Squad finally bows in theaters on August 5.