Critics don’t really matter that much to a movie like Suicide Squad, which is going to make a lot of money this weekend despite mostly negative reviews because people love jerking off to schizophrenic clowns, apparently. After all, if critical opinion were that influential over a movie’s box-office returns, Michael Bay and Adam Sandler wouldn’t be hiring orphans to cry for them every time one of their films gets savaged by critics. They’d shed those tears themselves, like us common folk do.
Regardless, hardcore fans who base a significant portion of their identities around characters owned and shamelessly peddled by mega-media companies tend to get touchy when their favorite franchises come under attack. (See also: that whole overblown “Ghostbro” thing a few weeks ago.) We even saw a bit of that yesterday here at The A.V. Club, which published one of the kinder write-ups to fall on the “rotten” side on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.
One DC Extended Universe fan, horrified to see his favorite B-list DC villains laid low by all those little green splotches, has even started one of those ever-effective Change.org petitions calling for Rotten Tomatoes to be shut down. Currently at 13,000 signatures and change at the time of this writing, the petition re-iterates a conspiracy theory that’s been floating around since Batman V. Superman was similarly drubbed in the media: That DC has been the victim of corporate espionage, as Marvel pays off movie critics to give MCU movies good reviews, and DCEU movies bad ones. The petition states (typos original):
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
First of all, if that’s true, The A.V. Club’s checks are getting lost in the mail, and that’s really uncool. We could use that money to buy a staff espresso machine, or prank each other by ordering giant drums of lube off of Amazon and having them delivered to the office.
Secondly, Rotten Tomatoes does not offer any opinions of its own. It simply collects the opinions of outside critics. Shutting down the site wouldn’t erase those opinions, just make it less convenient to find them. Even the petition organizer, Abdullah Coldwater, admits it’s a purely symbolic gesture, saying in an update, “A petition definitely won’t shut down the site … A lot of people the supporters and the opponents of the petition act like we are already going right now to shut down the site. not it’s just a way to express our anger.”
Anyway, even though reviewers are mean sometimes, the creators of these films will be fine as long as they don’t bite the impeccably manicured hand that feeds like Fantastic Four’s Josh Trank did. Suicide Squad director David Ayer, who has probably said the phrase “bros before hoes” in earnest before, is unsurprisingly staying loyal to his studio, responding to critics with an Emiliano Zapata quote on Twitter and saying he made the movie “for the fans,” not pussies who get all caught up in nitpicky bullshit like consistent characters and a coherent script.
Speaking of the latter—a point nearly every review of the film has mentioned—a source cited in today’s Hollywood Reporter article about the production claims that Ayer “wrote the script in like, six weeks, and they just went” due to studio pressure to make the film’s ambitious release date, which lets him off the hook a little bit. Those musical cues, though? That’s on him.