Eppler: 'Suicide Squad' pops until it fizzles

Eppler: 'Suicide Squad' pops until it fizzles

"Suicide Squad" isn't as bad as you may have heard, but it's also not as good as it should be. There's just enough here to recommend, though. 

Because movies with one bankable character property aren't enough anymore, this is another team-up movie - think a nastier "Avengers" or a less clever "Guardians of the Galaxy." When some shady government figures get the idea to form of a team of the most dangerous super-powered bad guys to take on dangerous missions, they pull together about six people but the movie is really only interested in two of them.

Will Smith is Deadshot - a hitman who never misses, except when it comes to his estranged wife and daughter. It's good to see Smith having fun again and skating on his charisma. 

I've been on the Margot Robbie train since her tremendous turn in "The Wolf of Wall Street," and Harley Quinn feels like the sassy, sexy role she was born to play. While I like her performance, the way the character is written is bothersome: a fiery feminist hero undercut by her devotion to an abusive boyfriend, The Joker.

I'm rather lukewarm on Jared Leto's Joker, who looks like he's a shift manager at Hot Topic when he's not carrying out mayhem on the streets. But in fairness to Leto, he's not given much screen to develop a character, and Heath Ledger is a monster of an act to follow.

The first hour of "Suicide Squad" pops off the screen with some great energy and a slamming soundtrack introducing these characters. But then it settles in to become very typical, even though it keeps insisting it's different because these bad guys. 

If you fall asleep toward the end, rest assured that you saw almost the exact same climax last month in "Ghostbusters" with an evil spirit wreaking havoc downtown. It was boring in "Ghostbusters," too.

"Suicide Squad" is also one of the most violent comic book movies I've seen, and the fact that it skates with a PG-13 with such a high body count proves how rigged the system is between the ratings board and the big studios. Talk about bad guys working together.
 

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