Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice received a lacklustre reception back in March, yet hopes were high for the studio's next attempt to expand the DCEU, despite entrusting their fate to the worst heroes ever.
Ironic tag lines aside, initial reports suggest that while DC superheroes are usually adept at saving the world, Warner Bros. may however struggle to save themselves from yet another critical backlash following the release of Suicide Squad.
The mainly negative reviews have come as a shock to many, provoking heated reactions from a number of quarters. The director himself, David Ayer, responded quickly on Twitter, and even some of the fans are already petitioning to ban Rotten Tomatoes completely following the film's disappointing score on the site.
Let's face it though — this isn't the first time that the DCEU has failed to live up to expectations. However, there's still a chance that the public's opinion could be far kinder than the critics have been when Suicide Squad is released to cinemas this week. While we wait for the box office numbers to roll in, let's take a look at where Deadshot, Harley Quinn and the rest of those loveable psychopaths stand in comparison to the rest of the DCEU.
Man of Steel (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes - Critics/Audience Score: 55%/75%
Metacritic - Critics/Audience Score: 55/7.5
Critics Consensus: "Man of Steel's exhilarating action and spectacle can't fully overcome its detours into generic blockbuster territory."
There was a lot riding on Man of Steel when it first hit cinemas. After all, Bryan Singer's 2006 reboot Superman Returns didn't hit the highs of Christopher Reeve's original movies and Marvel had already begun to conquer the box office with the likes of Iron Man and The Avengers.
Fortunately, Man of Steel performed far better than DC's previous release, Green Lantern, providing definitive proof that there is a God, but a tepid reception from some quarters clearly left Warner Bros. uneasy still. Subsequently, the studio scrapped their plan to develop the franchise into a trilogy and instead decided to move forward with a cinematic universe of their own, beginning with the ultimate comic book brawl, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes - Critics/Audience Score: 27%/65%
Metacritic - Critics/Audience Score: 44/7
Critics Consensus: "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially powerful story -- and some of America's most iconic superheroes -- in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action."
A lot's already been said about Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and how it divided both fans and critics more than any other movie in recent memory, but it's hard to deny the impact that this response had on Warner Bros and their subsequent decisions moving forward.
To date, Batman's return to the big screen has earned a respectable $872,662,631 worldwide. Still, Warner Bros. still deemed it necessary to restructure staff internally, developing new strategies to salvage the studios' reputation following the highly publicised critique of Zack Snyder's second DCEU movie.
It's a shame that Warner Bros. didn't release the extended cut of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice first. Reports indicate that the deleted content actually improves the theatrical release by a wide margin, thanks to better pacing and fewer plot holes.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes - Critics Score: 35%
Metacritic - Critics Score: 46
Critics Consensus: "Suicide Squad boasts a talented cast and a little more humor than previous DCEU efforts, but they aren't enough to save the disappointing end result from a muddled plot, thinly written characters, and choppy directing."
Rumors that Ayer was forced to reshoot certain sequences in Suicide Squad to address the lack of humor may have been unsubstantiated, but it's hard to deny that there was a lot of pressure on Ayer to connect with audiences who took a dislike to Zack Snyder's previous two instalments in the DCEU.
The good news is that while the box office figures are yet to come, Suicide Squad is currently receiving stronger reviews than Dawn of Justice. In that sense, the world's worst heroes accomplished their mission. However, Ayer's first foray into the world of comic book movies currently possesses a score 20% lower than Man of Steel on Rotten Tomatoes, which means that Warner Bros. still haven't been able to better their first film, one that didn't exactly perform spectacularly in the first place.
What Does The Future Hold For The DCEU?
Anticipation remains high for both Wonder Woman and Justice League following impressive trailer premieres at SDCC last week. But following this week's lukewarm reviews, Warner Bros. may have a new direction in mind for Suicide Squad 2. This uncertainty leaves the future of Harley Quinn's solo movie up in the air too.
DC proved that there's still huge potential in Ayer's super villain franchise back in 2014 with the phenomenal animation Batman: Assault on Arkham, which is the Suicide Squad movie we really deserved in all but name.
The film received a PG-13 rating just like the new live action adaptation, but boundaries were pushed further while still retaining the sense of fun that many reviews feel Suicide Squad lacks. Fans responded positively too, giving the film an average of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, making Batman: Assault on Arkham far more popular than any of the far more costly DCEU productions released to date.
Ultimately, it seems as though Suicide Squad may not live up to the hype generated by the madcap trailers and bizarre set stories involving condoms and imaginary foetuses. However, Ayer's villainous ensemble still shouldn't be discounted in its entirety. The film contributes another vital building block in the construction of the DCEU, as made evident by the mid credits scene. Next time though, Warner Bros. may want to think about enlisting some of the DC Animation crew onto their next project as that's where the real talent currently lies.
What's your favorite DCEU movie released so far and which one are you most excited to see next?
Source via Rotten Tomatoes