Posted on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016 by Ethan Anderton
The first Suicide Squad reviews hit the web yesterday, and while there was praise for performances from Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis and even Jai Courtney, there was a lot of criticism in other areas. The consensus was while the characters were great and brought a lot of fun to the table, they’re unfortunately part of a movie that doesn’t use them to their full potential, mostly due to a lackluster narrative and a weak villain to motivate them.
Now director David Ayer has responded to the first wave of Suicide Squad reviews. And so have a group of fans who haven’t even seen the movie yet, but won’t miss this opportunity to be enraged and overreact.
First up, here’s David Ayer’s Suicide Squad reviews reaction that he posted to Twitter yesterday:
Prefiero morir de pie que vivir de rodillas – Emiliano Zapata
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) August 2, 2016
For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, the quote translates to, “It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.” And David Ayer explained exactly what he meant by that as well:
Zapata quote is my way of saying I love the movie and believe in it. Made it for the fans. Best experience of my life. ??
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) August 2, 2016
Much respect to David Ayer for standing by his movie, even in the wake of bad reviews. That’s exactly what any respectable artist should do. Ayer could have easily thrown someone under the bus or complained about the studio system (which may have had a hand in the problems critics say the movie has), but he stands by the movie without any excuses.
However, I still take issue with the fact that he uses the line “Made it for the fans,” which implies that critics aren’t fans who like movies, or maybe more specifically, comic book movies. Maybe he’s just saying that he made it specifically for Suicide Squad fans, but that would mean that general audiences wouldn’t enjoy it as much either.
Either way, there are already some fans who are quickly coming to the defense of Suicide Squad, even though 99% of them haven’t even seen the movie yet. In fact, one group of fans has decided to “take action” by creating a petition on Change.org to have the movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes shut down after Suicide Squad landed an unfavorable 33% at the time of this writing. However, the film also has a 5 out of 10 rating, which paints a more accurate picture of critical reception, much as with Batman v Superman.
Anyway, here’s their explanation as to why, straight from the petition page:
We need this site to be shut down because It’s Critics always give The DC Extended Universe movies unjust Bad Reviews, Like
1- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016
2- Suicide Squad 2016
and that Affects people’s opinion even if it’s a really great movies
It seems rather convenient the only two movies that inspired this call for Rotten Tomatoes to be shut down are the two recent DC Comics movies that were reviewed poorly by a variety of outlets. So this doesn’t appear to be about all the instances in which a mob of fans disagrees with what the presumed hive mind of movie critics thinks, but just these two examples. But that’s not even the worst part.
This petition seems to misunderstand how Rotten Tomatoes works on a fundamental level. It’s not Rotten Tomatoes as a single entity giving movies reviews. It’s an aggregation of movie reviews by individual critics that uses a percentage to provide a surface-level representation of how many good reviews there are out there. Shutting down this website won’t change how critics react to movies they don’t like.
At the same time, if you’re using Rotten Tomatoes percentage rating as the sole basis for whether or not a movie is good, then you’re using the website wrong. Just take it from director Scott Derrickson, who posted this to Twitter yesterday:
If you look at Rotten Tomatoes scores w/o reading selected reviewers that you respect, you're doing it wrong. You and cinema deserve better.
— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) August 2, 2016
This comes from a director who has received varying reviews from critics for his movies like Deliver Us From Evil, Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, each with a variety of different ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. Derrickson will soon find himself under the microscope of film critics and comic book fans alike since he directed this fall’s Marvel Studios release Doctor Strange.
These fans don’t really have a problem with Rotten Tomatoes, they have a problem with movie critics who dislike the movies they hope to love. But guess what? That’s perfectly fine. You can completely disagree with anything a film critic says because their opinion is not meant to be definitive or objective. But just keep in mind that you don’t have a leg to stand on if you’re attempting to defend a movie you haven’t seen or lashing out insultingly at critics because they dislike a movie that you enjoy. Different strokes for different folks and all that jazz.
Film critics do not have a hive mind, and each has their own different tastes and experiences that will change how they feel about movies of all kinds. It’s up to you as an individual to determine which critics have tastes that line up with yours so you know which ones you will trust more often than not. If this sounds familiar, it’s because we went through this same debacle with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I recommend going back and reading what we had to say about this exact same scenario from back in March.