There is a lot more riding on David Ayer’s anti-hero team-up, Suicide Squad, than anyone expected there would be – which, as it turns out, may not be a good thing. As the first DC movie to follow this year’s critically panned Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film, the film is DC’s first chance at righting the ship and getting its expanded cinematic universe back on track.

The first reviews, however, suggest that the film — which features a cast of heavy hitters, led by Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis — will not be quite the rebirth that DC is looking for.

To the pull quotes!

Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair, is savage:

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, a toxic combination that means the film’s highly fetishized violence doesn’t even have the exciting tingle of the wicked or the taboo. (Oh, how the movie wants to be both of those things.) It’s simply a dull chore steeped in flaccid machismo, a shapeless, poorly edited trudge that adds some mildly appalling sexism and even a soupçon of racism to its abundant, hideously timed gun worship. But, perhaps worst of all, Suicide Squad is ultimately too shoddy and forgettable to even register as revolting. At least revolting would have been something.

On the other hand The Village Voice’s Bilge Ebiri, was more measured and seemed to like the movie more than most:

The actors help. We know the film would never dare to make Will Smith a true villain, but he adeptly handles the hard edge of his ultimately valiant character, convincing us of his ruthlessness. (“You’re just a serial killer who takes credit cards,” Flag tells Deadshot, and the line stings.) Robbie is clearly having the time of her life as the gyrating, acrobatic, utterly nutzoid Harley Quinn, who balances batshit cruelty with a kind of mundane bubbliness… Still, it’s Davis who gets most of the best lines, as the ball-busting, no-nonsense Waller. A wise choice: Viola Davis dropping one-liners left and right buys a lot of audience goodwill.

Jen Yamato from The Daily Beast, didn’t like the movie, but didn’t hate it as much as its predecessors:

That’s a relatively warm and fuzzy takeaway from DC and Warner Bros.’ first sidestep from the brawny chest-puffing bravado of Man of Steel and (Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, two self-serious superhero blockbusters that managed to turn the historic meeting of DC’s most iconic characters into a heroic pissing contest. And while it’s a bright, grimy, candy-colored mess, at least Suicide Squad* is here to lighten up the place, break a few vases, take a few shots, and have some fun.

Angie Han from /Film agreed:

Screen Crush’s Matt Singer,, however, did not think that was much to brag about:

If you’re tired of the supreme self-seriousness of the two DC superhero films so far, the good news is that Suicide Squad is definitely having more fun. David Ayer is armed with an obvious but irresistible soundtrack that must have cost Warner Bros. a fortune to put together (yes, “Sympathy for the Devil” is in here, and so is “Bohemian Rhapsody”). The characters come prepared with cheeky, off-color jokes — the kind you’d never catch grim Batman or earnest Superman making.

Director David Ayer tries to liven things up with a couple of flashy DC cameos and lots of iconic rock songs on the soundtrack. But that’s just the proverbial lipstick on the dead pig that Jared Leto sent to his co-stars to prove his Method bona fides as the Joker. This opening sequence has all the excitement of a mildly contentious HR meeting, and the movie gets no better from there. Bland, boring, and sometimes borderline incoherent, Suicide Squad is a disappointing disaster.

But longtime Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, was very unimpressed:

The action of the film’s middle and latter stages is largely set in a gloomy murk that recalls far too many previous dour sci-fi/fantasy films, and by that point, vestiges of the opening stretch’s humor and snap long have fallen by the wayside. Suicide Squad may not quite commit harakiri, but it certainly feels like it’s taken far too many sleeping pills.

And most savage of all with his words was Indie Wire’s David Erlich:

Just when you think the summer movie season cant 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.

Though long-time critic Joe Neumaier may have been meanest with just a simple tweet:

Photos via DC Films, Warner Bros. Pictures

Matthew Kim is a Los Angeles-based writer who dreams of a colder climate. You might have seen his written work on video games and film appear in publications like VICE, Kill Screen, Unwinnable, and more. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.