Recently, Suicide Squad’s creator, John Ostrander, reviewed the movie based on his comic series. Unsurprisingly, he enjoyed it.
“Of course he liked it! He’s a fanboy! You have to listen to critics. They are teh objective and use science to review movies!”
I disagree. For one, huge DC fans such as “Angry Joe” Vargas did not like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and had no qualm expressing his distaste for the film despite loving Superman. Even Kevin Smith, a DC fanboy if there ever were one, expressed some pretty blunt criticisms of the movie. Like Ostrender says in his Suicide Squd review, if he didn’t like the film, he more than likely wouldn’t say anything.
I also agree with him that critics went into the movie ready to hate it. Why do I think that? Because of all the negative news articles surrounding Suicide Squad beforehand. It’s the same reason why, despite loving Ghostbusters, I wouldn’t call the positive reviews left by critics who were hyping up the movie since the whole controversy regarding its female cast started any less biased than your typical fanboy’s review of a movie they were eager for. When somebody invests themselves into either loving or hating something, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the actual experience usually only serves to confirm their initial impressions. Something has to defy expectations to convert somebody already invested one way or the other. One movie that did that for me was Ratatouille, which I did not expect to like at all. Captain America: Winter Soldier also did for me, as it was unlike what I expected from Marvel movies, which I generally do not enjoy. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice defied expectations for some, but in the opposite way, in that they hated it. Suicide Squad is what you expect it to be, which means it was great for me, but not for media outlets that reported derisively on every bit of news to come out about the film. We were already invested.
James Rolfe, the Angry Video Game Nerd, understood this, which is why he refused to review Ghostbusters. People already invested in Ghostbusters, including many critics, criticized him for it, telling him that he was obligated to watch and review it, accusing him of sexism for realizing that if he has zero interest in a movie, he’s probably not going to enjoy it. The irony is that he did the movie a favor by not watching it, because how likely would it have been that he changed his mind? Considering how middling the reviews are, not very likely. That too is a movie that is what you expect it to be. Say he were a reviewer for a corporation that forced him to watch the movie and forced him to write about it. Do you think his review would be kind or even merciful? Very unlikely.
I agree with Ostrander that critics are sick of comic book movies. Marvel is the exception. “What about Deadpool?” People consider that a Marvel movie, even moreso than other Marvel movies made by FOX. Marvel set off this comic book movie craze, and people invested themselves long ago, but with DC coming so late in the game, it’s feeling overcrowded and overdone. It’s why Suicide Squad is criticized for its generic plot while Guardians of the Galaxy and its “generic and confusing” plot is fine, because you’re supposed to “shake off the bonds of narrative coherency” while watching it. It’s why so many articles analyzed the sexism of Suicide Squad while much wasn’t said on how every woman in Guardians of the Galaxy is a subjugated by a man, except for Star Lord’s mother, who gets to be fridged while screaming in what was the worst introduction to a movie I had ever seen. Two of the other three women are killed, and the remaining one may be one of the main characters, but is also a stereotype and an exotic love interest for the white savior who is the leader of the team not because of his competence—Gamora is more competent—but merely because why shouldn’t the white dude be the leader? He saves the day simply with his white male essence! I would like to say that because I went into that movie with zero expectations, I was unbiased and objective—a real scientist!—but the truth is, I don’t like much science fiction so I admit that history with Marvel and science fiction paints my bias. Regarding those who love it though, you won’t see those issues mentioned or taken very seiously, just like you probably won’t see reviews about Doctor Strange focus significant space on its whitewashing when it comes out. We’re already invested in our emotions.
Likewise, while articles are already coming out ready to declare Suicide Squad a failure for a high but still normal Friday-to-Saturday drop in the box office, those same websites have little to say about Ghostbusters‘ failure at the box office. Seems only conservative websites with a chip on their shoulder for feminists and were against the movie before it came out report on it, while the more progressive outlets that defended the movie from the misogynistic attacks have little to say. Nobody’s lying, but when it comes to bad news, people are being a bit quiet about it just like Ostrander said he would be if Suicide Squad had been bad.
Of course the creator of Suicide Squad would be biased toward a movie based on his creation, but so is anybody else who’s kept up. Who isn’t biased?
“What do you know? You’re not a critic! You’re a fanboy! You don’t know science! ”
Perhaps, but if I can’t be believed because I am teh bias, then take it from this woman, a critic! She writes, “If you had a different reaction than I did, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. And my dislike isn’t proof that you’re wrong either. Responses to art aren’t something we win. There isn’t an objective truth out there to be discerned… [Critique’s] not a skill that critics alone possess, nor do we intend to. It’s a tool set that’s available to everyone. Criticism is an invitation to an argument, not the end of the conversation.” Considering that a critic’s word is bond, this should shut down everybody who wants to uphold them as above the biases and subjectivity of mere mortals. To disagree with a critic would be like declaring the world flat! So, which is it? Is the world flat or are critics people as guilty of biases as the rest of us?