Studio: Warner Bros. (1hr. 40 min.)
Plot: A secret government agency recruits imprisoned super villains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.
Cast: Will Smith, Jarde Leto, Viola Davis, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Cara Delevinge
Bottom Line: **
By Jon Rutledge
This is easily one of the best DC films in recent years. Not hard with the disappointing movies. I finally see potential for something different from the Warner Brothers Studio. This movie suffers from some poor storytelling, but on the whole it was entertaining and some outstanding performances make the film enjoyable. Will it be the catalyst to launch a cinematic universe to rival Marvel? I don’t know, we have to see what they do next.
The hands down best performance comes from Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. She leads this dark project with cold precision and an unwavering dedication to keeping it secret. Davis fully embodies this character and every scene she steps into is dominated by her strength. Margot Robbie had the most fan focus as the embodiment of the beloved Harley Quinn. She captured everything about the character: the voice, attitude and the crazy. However, Will Smith, playing Deadshot, can’t pull off a bad guy. Deadshot is a heartless assassin, but Will Smith has nothing but heart. It’s hard for a performer to play against type.
The simple story and inadequate attempt at raising stakes fail to deliver. The writers bring up Slipknot, a throwaway bad guy, and not surprisingly, they throw him away. Trashing a no name doesn’t make the audience feel like they have lost anything when he dies. It would have been better to spend a little more time in getting know him and then kill him or choose an established character. Like the obvious death of Slipknot nothing else is a surprise in this film. Every step is telegraphed and every beat is hit you know what is going to happen. We know about the characters but we are not engaged by them. The premise of bad guy used as fodder doesn’t work if we don’t care about them.
Humanity is the differences between DC and Marvel films. The flashy action of a hero, or villain is only secondary. What needs to take center stage is the human aspect of the characters. Maybe it’s because they have room to be flexible with the character development, but this is the first DC film that attempts it. Come for the action leave with the hope they can build this franchise off the backs of some really nasty bad guys.
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This column was printed in the August 21, 2016 - September 3, 2016 edition