DC has a lot riding on Suicide Squad.
For years, the comic giants have struggled to compete with Marvel's money-spinning Avengers series and its various character-specific spin-offs.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was universally panned earlier this year, and the standalone Superman films have received lukewarm receptions. 2011's Green Marvel was a cinematic guff of rancid proportions, and the now-defunct Dark Knight series can no longer hold up DC's reputation as a hero flick powerhouse.
So how did the press react when they jollied along to the Suicide Squad preview screenings yesterday? Well…
"Eardrum-puncturingly bad dialogue, scowling self-pity, covert pornography and scrappy CGI […] the film makes you cringe so hard your teeth come loose. Crushingly puerile."
"Suicide Squad is bad. Not fun bad. Not redeemable bad. Not the kind of bad that is the unfortunate result of artists honorably striving for something ambitious and falling short. Suicide Squad is just bad. It's ugly and boring"
"The opening sequence has all the excitement of a mildly contentious HR meeting and the movie gets no better from there.
"Just when you think the summer movie season can't get any worse, along come the "Worst. Heroes. Ever." And while the film's official tagline is selling its stars a little bit short (surely last year's incarnation of The Fantastic Four still holds that dubious distinction), the mundane, milquetoast, and often mind-bogglingly stupid Suicide Squad almost makes good on the threat of its marketing campaign."
"For DC, which blew it with Batman v Superman last spring, Suicide Squad is a small step forward. But it could have been a giant leap."
"At this point in 2016 America, if there's one thing I could vote out of all movies, permanently, it's the drooling slow-motion close-up of hundreds of assault weapon bullets bouncing off gorgeously lit pavement."