Karl Puschmann is an entertainment writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Star-studded 'Suicide Squad' gets killed by critics in first reviews

Film critics are murdering the super villains of the Suicide Squad in the first wave of reviews.

The star-studded anti-hero movie was expected to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the year, but now it looks like it could be DOA.

The film, which is based on the popular comic book series of the same name, is notable for flipping the superhero script by turning the biggest villains of the DC comic universe into the heroes of its story.

The pre-release buzz was almost overwhelmingly positive, with praise going to its uniquely psychedelic day-glo art style, a great action-packed trailer set to Queen's rocking Bohemian Rhapsody, and Jared Leto's full-on, freakishly unhinged transformation into Batman's iconic villain the Joker.

However critics have shown the film no mercy. The movie review aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes has it floating lifeless, with a 34% rating based on 56 professional reviews.

So what went wrong? Over to the critics:

Rolling Stone attacked first with a miserly one star review. Their big complaint being that the film is "limp-dick". They also weren't happy that the movie compromises on the hardcore action "for a PG-13 crowdpleaser."

But they really let rip in their final summation.

"This botch job makes Fantastic Four look good."

Ouch!

The critic from the Associated Press also opened fire.

"The nastiness of Suicide Squad is superficial, merely fetishized gestures of ultra-violence that will impress few beyond 13-year-old boys. (Sorry, that's unkind to 13-year-old boys.)"

"The film, as a whole, is missing the humour and spryness that was promised.".

Meanwhile the Chicago SunTimes dispatched the movie with a bored, "Ho. Hum".

Over at geeky safe haven The AV Club the squad got hit with a lowly C+ rating.

"It's clumsy, disrupted by at least eight different plodding flashbacks, filled with lines of dialogue that cut well into trailers but make zero sense in context, and patched up with an embarrassment of rock-along musical cues."

Industry bible Variety were also less than impressed citing, "its nonsensical story and not-nearly-impudent-enough tone."

They also took issue with the film's big bad, Enchantress, brutally dispatching Cara Delevingne's character by calling her, "the lamest DC villain since Sharon Stone stalked Catwoman."

The New York Daily News wasn't prepared to offer a lifeline.

"By the time the Squad faces off against this baddie, the movie turns into another one of those laughable FX-laden messes that has plagued so many other comic book movies."

Whereas US Weekly spent most of the movie in a state of befuddled confusion.

"Too often, you'll feel like you're watching a music video marathon instead of a cohesive feature film."

They also felt short changed by the Joker, or, rather, the lack of the Joker...

"The most tantalising character of all, slips in and out of the movie with barely more than a menacing smile," they wrote. "Given all the press Leto has done for this movie his extended cameo may come as a disappointment."


Suicide Squad opens in cinemas nationwide tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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