'Suicide Squad': Characters are promisingly introduced, fizzle fast

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Squad' stars actors including Margot Robbie and Will Smith as villains from the world of Batman who are recruited by the government to take on an even bigger baddie.

Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Pictures/AP
'Suicide Squad' stars (from l.) Jay Hernandez, Jai Courtney, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Joel Kinnaman, and Karen Fukuhara.

“Suicide Squad,” which comes on the heels of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” is the latest failed attempt to lift up DC Comics-based characters into the mega-franchise stratosphere. Writer-director David Ayer doesn’t have the right graphic technique for a comic-book-style jamboree – he’s strictly a noirish-pulp guy – and the characters, all of whom are promisingly introduced, fizzle fast. 

Best is Jared Leto as the green-haired, metal-mouthed Joker, although he’s not quite on par with Heath Ledger’s definitive portrayal. As Joker’s girlfriend, Harley Quinn, Margot Robbie tries hard – too hard – to act flagrantly bonkers. 

Will Smith, as ace sniper Deadshot, is manfully effective but underused; the same, and then some, could be said for Jay Hernandez’s pyromaniac Diablo. It’s nice to see Viola Davis as a government bigwig who assembles a dream team of baddies to vanquish an even bigger baddie, but it would be even nicer to see her in a role that does more than boost her asking price.

In the Marvel v. DC matchup, there’s still no contest. Grade: C- (Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language.)

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