If you're like me, you've spent the last 24 hours sitting at your desk and constantly hitting refresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Sure, ultimately, the opinions don't matter and shouldn't affect your own of the film, but between all the reviews that tout a muddled narrative and lack of character development, one has to wonder if it's indicative of bigger problems that occurred during the film's production. I've yet to see the film, so I can't comment intelligently on whether or not I agree with these thoughts, but there does seem to be a general agreement that the film doesn't quite match up to the premise.
Now what is the reason for this opinion from critics? Why do they consider this film to be a muddled mess? It's almost impossible to pinpoint one specific problem, but in a new report from THR, the outlet implied three big ones: Time, money, and BATMAN v SUPERMAN.
Let's talk about the first one. Time is ever the problem when it comes to Hollywood films. There never seems to be enough time to get the project done. Director Robert Rodriguez always talks about how the lack of time can help to drive creativity in the filmmaking process, but when you're working on a huge studio film with tens of hands in the project, this can be a death sentence.
Before Warner Bros. even fully committed to the idea of the DC Extended Universe, time was not on their side. In order to catch up with Marvel, they needed to make these movies fast. Even more importantly, they needed to convince fans that they had a plan, even if they didn't. The way they did that was announce the whole slate of films that included BATMAN v SUPERMAN, SUICIDE SQUAD, WONDER WOMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE, THE FLASH, CYBORG, and more. But as soon as these films were announced, they couldn't just stand idly by. They needed to sprint, because they couldn't move those dates once they were set.
"It's not just that you've told the public the movie is coming," one source told THR. "You've made huge deals around the world with huge branding partners, with merchandise partners. It's a really big deal to move a tentpole date."
So move ahead with the project they did.
"[SUICIDE SQUAD director Ayer] wrote the script in like, six weeks, and they just went," another source told the outlet. He went on to state that if the writer/director had more time, it may have resulted in a stronger picture.
Perhaps the bigger problem came in the form of one disappointment entitled BATMAN v SUPERMAN. There's no doubt about it: that film had some serious repercussions on the DCEU. Warner Bros. made that point all too clear when they invited the press to visit the set of the JUSTICE LEAGUE. They wanted to drive the point home that the film wouldn't be the same doom and gloom piece that BvS was. And despite how far along the process SUICIDE SQUAD, they let it affect that film too, THR claims.
Warner Chief Kevin Tsujihara grew concerned about damaging the DC brand, and one of the studio's main concern became whether or not SUICIDE SQUAD would actually deliver on the tone they advertised in the trailer, and here's the kicker:
"So while Ayer pursued his original vision, Warners set about working on a different cut, with an assist from Trailer Park, the company that had made the teaser."
To WB's credit, it sounds like Ayer was aware of this process and was completely on board to try and make this film to their vision, all the while trying to keep as close to his as possible. Resources were pulled, and multiple editors were brought in to expedite the process. In May, they had two cuts: Ayer's more serious cut, and the studio's lighter cut. They tested them with audiences. After getting feedback, Ayer and the studio found a middle ground they could agree on, and moved forward.
There were only two [of the three aforementioned big] problems that resulted in this middle ground: time and money.
The changes needed to make make it to that middle ground required extensive reshoots (remember those?), and they needed to get them done fast. And, of course, whenever you're doing fast reshoots, the funds required to speed up the process are immense. The added time pressure is hard enough, but now the stakes are raised since you're no longer making a $175 million project -- you're making a $250 million project. Now the pressure is even greater to recoup and justify that investment.
So how did it pan out? We have to wait and see. As mentioned above, critics aren't too thrilled with the product, but there have been disconnects between fans and critics before. Let's just hope it does well enough to keep the DCEU alive.
"The movie's got to do $750 million, $800 million to break even," one insider told THR. "If they get anywhere close to that, they'll consider it a win."
What do you make of these rumors from THR? Do you buy the comments their sources made, or is it suspicious that such comments came only after the film did badly with critics? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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