RT Podcast

"Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong" About... Suicide Squad (2016)

It failed to enchant critics at the time of its release, but Suicide Squad's defenders still go to bat for it to this day. On the eve of its sequel, we're looking back at David Ayer's infamous take on DC's ultimate villain team-up.

by | August 5, 2021 | Comments

Suicide Squad

(Photo by © Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection)

This week, everyone is talking about The Suicide Squad, director James Gunn’s gory, hilarious, and so-far very critically beloved take on DC’s bad-guys-turned-good(ish) group of world-savers. The movie hits theaters and HBO Max this Friday with a Certified Fresh Tomatometer score in the high 90s – which is very “nom, nom” indeed.

Listen Now: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher TuneIn | Google Podcasts | Radio Public | Deezer | iHeart | Art19

With the “squad” back in theaters, we thought we’d revisit the film that first introduced Amanda Waller and some of DC’s most beloved kinda-villains to moviegoers: 2016’s Suicide Squad. (What a difference a “the” makes.) Where Gunn’s film rides towards audiences buoyed by almost universal acclaim, director David Ayer’s original… well, it was something of a different story.

Expectations were high among fans for the 2016 movie off the back of a killer marketing campaign that included what might be one of the most effective trailers ever made, as well as swirling excitement about a new Joker and that killer cast (Will Smith! Viola Davis! Jared Leto! Margot Robbie!). But when the movie crash-landed into theaters – to the sound of so many rock hits – it failed to… erm, enchant.

Critics lauded some of the chemistry between cast members as well as the arrival of a “fantabulous” new DCEU character in Robbie’s Harley Quinn, but they also largely roasted the film for its muddy story and music-video feel. It stands with a current Rotten Tomatometer score of 26%. Fans were slightly more forgiving, but hardly blown away – the movie’s Audience Score is 59%, one point shy of Freshness. Even its most die-hard defenders took issue with a clunky final act and weak villain.

Recently, even the movie’s own director has come out against the version Warner Brothers’ released in theaters, recently going so far as saying studio interference resulted in something that was ”not my movie.” And for those who took issue with all those rock hits, he noted his movie had “not a single radio song in the whole thing.”

But is the original Suicide Squad deserving of its villainous reputation? Or, much like its surprisingly big-hearted lead characters, was this a film too harshly judged – by critics, fans, and now its creator? That’s what we’re asking in the latest episode of our podcast, Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast from Rotten Tomatoes). And to take on such a mission, we had to recruit the deadliest group of bad guys (OK, insightful film buffs) we could find – and so it is that our regular hosts Mark Ellis and Jacqueline Coley have been fitted with their explosive devices and are joined by movie and TV junkie, actress, host, and one third of YouTube’s Whirl Girls, Roxy Striar. Does she, like a certain pale-faced and pigtailed jail bird, have a soft spot for something others find so problematic? Tune in to find out.

Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”

Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:

If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.

Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

USA spanish TBS Sony Pictures Heroines new zealand period drama 007 YouTube Red miniseries Premiere Dates Disney streaming service Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Universal Tubi Peacock dc composers rt archives BET Awards universal monsters Shudder vs. criterion spinoff Extras Teen Mudbound The CW boxoffice Stephen King foreign know your critic biopic Lucasfilm nbcuniversal Comic-Con@Home 2021 cancelled TV shows streaming movies ghosts Reality Competition serial killer Baby Yoda 20th Century Fox directors movies Exclusive Video CBS TIFF reviews live event independent Musicals VH1 cancelled television Showtime Calendar PlayStation Emmys cancelled debate all-time anime 2015 disaster Dark Horse Comics Fall TV Interview 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards free movies justice league Holidays boxing fresh japanese screen actors guild franchise sopranos renewed TV shows VOD documentaries true crime Spike remakes GLAAD Academy Awards Sundance TV Fox Searchlight scorecard witnail Fox News book adaptation zombie A24 docudrama Marvel Television sitcom sequel godzilla dragons feel good television 1990s BAFTA deadpool medical drama christmas movies CW Seed Christmas El Rey Mary Poppins Returns mcc war comic Tomatazos finale theme song GoT ratings MSNBC DC Universe critic resources Star Wars BBC psycho royal family spider-man Song of Ice and Fire rt labs critics edition Trivia Pride Month films video on demand cars Infographic asian-american 24 frames unscripted casting name the review American Society of Cinematographers The Walking Dead Black History Month suspense Tarantino women Cannes telelvision psychological thriller what to watch Nickelodeon Marvel HBO Max hispanic heritage month YA superhero king arthur Countdown Mindy Kaling Character Guide comic book movies leaderboard singing competition strong female leads reboot romantic comedy cooking documentary child's play 79th Golden Globes Awards Elton John Oscars A&E 2017 Trailer Writers Guild of America italian stoner Creative Arts Emmys Sundance breaking bad parents Ellie Kemper venice E! Hallmark scary movies french police drama classics satire Best and Worst social media jurassic park Mary poppins joker award winner 90s Winter TV mockumentary Captain marvel The Academy ITV NBC 99% hidden camera Pop TV Summer biography aapi comedies Music twilight Emmy Nominations 21st Century Fox Freeform Rocky Family Television Academy international docuseries Pet Sematary TruTV New York Comic Con Biopics heist movie Apple TV+ new star wars movies dogs japan Paramount Plus Arrowverse Fargo 2018 streaming anthology TCA 2017 LGBT Super Bowl BBC America Film Paramount Network FXX Brie Larson live action Anna Paquin Television Critics Association critics animated Lifetime Christmas movies best new york Schedule adaptation Neflix TLC PaleyFest emmy awards genre batman spy thriller Hulu target Pop fast and furious Comedy Central Disney+ Disney Plus Disney Channel prank hollywood Sneak Peek AMC canceled Kids & Family FOX Quiz Apple TV Plus diversity The Arrangement comic book movie olympics kaiju space Paramount 2020 ID IFC Films GIFs HBO Go CNN Tags: Comedy Horror dramedy Tokyo Olympics Netflix Christmas movies halloween indiana jones black doctor who adventure Nat Geo kids Superheroe Holiday posters Ovation wonder woman Black Mirror legend indie Columbia Pictures Britbox Acorn TV Drama First Reviews nfl TV renewals Animation Binge Guide blockbusters mutant book USA Network quibi Musical President Thanksgiving rotten movies we love Comedy Instagram Live zero dark thirty History slasher 71st Emmy Awards black comedy Set visit TV Land natural history basketball worst movies video green book MCU SXSW kong Star Trek Pacific Islander Women's History Month pirates of the caribbean Epix golden globes IMDb TV Lionsgate HFPA HBO action-comedy Classic Film historical drama Fantasy Superheroes archives canceled TV shows Alien Podcast YouTube Netflix crime drama toronto National Geographic Western politics elevated horror First Look comiccon Crackle dexter die hard stop motion richard e. Grant 93rd Oscars Disney Plus romance Logo TV movies werewolf technology Prime Video supernatural based on movie scene in color WarnerMedia TV One game of thrones CMT toy story Toys The Walt Disney Company halloween tv gangster art house Rocketman mission: impossible Walt Disney Pictures transformers blockbuster laika Awards TCM crime thriller Comics on TV rt labs Wes Anderson dreamworks a nightmare on elm street cancelled TV series Nominations Spring TV nature Mystery CBS All Access versus travel popular The Witch Winners Image Comics Watching Series Bravo worst trailers Pirates revenge sports NBA DC streaming service ABC Signature binge dceu slashers sequels RT21 Crunchyroll Rock VICE Funimation Hallmark Christmas movies rotten 73rd Emmy Awards festival science fiction tv talk zombies Marathons TCA Winter 2020 Vudu Disney Syfy concert hispanic LGBTQ SDCC PBS trophy south america Amazon Prime Video TV Mary Tyler Moore Hollywood Foreign Press Association ViacomCBS RT History Lifetime FX news political drama Election TNT Broadway Polls and Games vampires spider-verse 2016 Certified Fresh children's TV Trophy Talk ESPN teaser The Purge SundanceTV Amazon Red Carpet Cosplay Starz X-Men APB OneApp sag awards harry potter Amazon Studios See It Skip It Apple cults Opinion superman latino robots Year in Review Cartoon Network high school Shondaland Food Network monster movies mob thriller Valentine's Day San Diego Comic-Con Turner Classic Movies obituary Spectrum Originals crime Tumblr james bond game show cartoon cinemax facebook Esquire talk show Universal Pictures Box Office cats DGA ABC Family young adult Avengers lord of the rings Travel Channel chucky dark TCA Amazon Prime Chernobyl Hear Us Out Discovery Channel 4/20 Masterpiece Sundance Now Video Games australia Ghostbusters football aliens movie OWN Photos spanish language NYCC marvel comics discovery festivals Pixar jamie lee curtis golden globe awards 2021 king kong BBC One hist comics Warner Bros. rom-coms Country Grammys Comic Book 45 DC Comics crossover razzies Marvel Studios IFC FX on Hulu cops screenings Sci-Fi 72 Emmy Awards comic books 2019 Adult Swim ABC blaxploitation marvel cinematic universe Martial Arts scary YouTube Premium series spain Legendary Action E3 Reality Awards Tour AMC Plus saw adenture TCA Awards Film Festival Endgame stand-up comedy BET MTV Rom-Com Turner DirecTV WGN Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt