Bad guys and bullets add up to overkill in DC’S latest
Three “if”s, a “when” and a “but” regarding the new DC Comics movie “Suicide Squad,” starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto and Viola Davis:
IF you were to make a better film than the one writer-director David Ayer has made, you’d still hire Smith. He takes top billing as Deadshot, the world’s most lethal hit man who is going through some custody issues with his adorable daughter. Older now, his screen presence informed by a relaxed authority, the star’s underplaying is a relief. In this headache of a movie, he provides the aspirin.
IF you could start this headache over from scratch, you’d still want Margot Robbie in the showcase role of Harley Quinn, former staff psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, tortured into criminal compliance and twisted devotion by the inmate known as the Joker. Robbie is radioactively watchable, swinging her baseball bat this way and that, selling this skeezy male-fantasy nutjob with wideeyed enthusiasm. In Ayer’s film, Jared Leto plays the Joker with the voice Heath Ledger cooked up back in “The Dark Knight,” and a grill borrowed from Gangstas Anonymous. He doesn’t get the screen time some of the presold fanboys expected, which is neither here nor there; “Suicide Squad” is saddled with a bigger cast of characters than “Around the World in 80 Days.”
Finally: IF, in that alternateuniverse “Suicide Squad,” you needed a steely authority figure who transforms a cadre of hardened psychos and killers into a black-ops unit designed to take on bad guys from various dimensions, then Viola Davis would be your steely authority figure.
So. WHEN that better movie comes along, be it the already announced sequel or the promised Harley Quinn spinoff vehicle, maybe we’ll get somewhere near a good time.