If you follow movie news or movie reviews at all – if you’re reading this, chances are that you do – you’ve almost certainly heard by now that the first wave of reviews for Suicide Squad are not exactly glowing. Todd McCarthy, Variety’s erstwhile top critic and noted film-book author, dismissed the movie on several levels, while New York Magazine’s David Edelstein criticized the film’s “muddled storytelling.” The mostly negative appraisals mixed with a not-ignorable amount of positive reactions to come up with a 34% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it certified rotten. And that’s when the tizzies began.
Not only has my Twitter and Facebook feed become littered with the sort of hyperbolic, vitriolic reactions to negative reviews and think-pieces usually reserved for Justin Bieber defenders, but a petition has been posted to Change.org demanding that Rotten Tomatoes be shut down over all of this. It’s really hard for me to concisely explain just how intensely idiotic all of this is, and it’s not just because I’m not the biggest fan of Batman v Superman either. Rotten Tomatoes’ algorithm isn’t perfect but even if it was, it’s worth remembering that these are personal opinions expressed by individuals, not some widespread sanctioned condemnation spearheaded by Rotten Tomatoes and Marvel Studios on the low. This really should be self-explanatory, but just because you are not in agreeance with the critical consensus does not mean you’re wrong or right.
What’s worse, many of those who are kicking up a fuss haven’t even seen Suicide Squad yet but feel like they must stand up and defend their beloved DC brand against an entirely imagined anti-DC narrative they’ve concocted. And I might only point out that The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Richard Donner‘s Superman, and the Tim Burton Batman films are some of the most critically praised comic-book movies on the books. I, for one, would say that, as far as Marvel properties go, only the first and third Iron Man movies and Sam Raimi‘s first two Spider-Man films are in the same class as those DC titles, and even that’s a bit of a stretch.
One could rightly argue that these fans have the right to express their absurd outrage regardless, but I fail to see how shutting down Rotten Tomatoes would help their cause. The same people would still be criticizing Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad; there just wouldn’t be a popular site giving a cumulative grade to the movies. Mind you, there are plenty other sites that do this kind of work – Metacritic and Critics Round-Up to name just two – and I haven’t heard anything about them in this conversation or, rather, nonsensical all-caps harangue. As for me, I have no opinion on Suicide Squad because I haven’t seen it yet, but when I do, I’ll have an opinion of it and that will be that. My hope is that anyone who is interested in the film follows suit, but that’s just one person’s opinion.