Shenanigans! The bright colors and high energy the marketing for David Ayer's superhero film Suicide Squad promised fades in the first 20 minutes, and the movie remains mired in Zach Snyder's gray-on-gray DC Gloomiverse. Government agent Waller (Viola Davis, rising above her endlessly cliched dialogue) extorts a group of villains, including hitman Deadshot (Will Smith) and sexpot Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), to take on the Enchantress, a demon possessing spelunker June Moone (Cara Delevingne). Harley is clearly intended to be the breakout character, but the fact that Robbie is currently the main asset in the spank-bank of heterosexual American men does not make up for her lacking the comedic timing needed to pull off this character. It also doesn't help that like Black Widow and Gamora in the Marvel films, Harley and June lack the agency afforded the male heroes, and even the interesting but underused Katana (Karen Fukuhara) is defined by her relationship to her dead husband. After the joyless slog of Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad desperately wants to be a romp like Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, complete with a baby-boomer-pleasing soundtrack of on-the-nose classic-rock staples — seriously, “Sympathy for the Devil” plays over the title — but the muddled tone and obvious post-production tinkering makes it feel more like DC's version of Fantastic Four.
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