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

'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.

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'Suicide Squad' stars (from l.) Jay Hernandez, Jai Courtney, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Joel Kinnaman, and Karen Fukuhara.

Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Pictures/AP

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“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. 

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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.)