We’ve known that Will Smith was cast as Floyd “Deadshot” Lawton in Suicide Squad, the villain team-up flick from Warner Bros. and DC Comics. Having seen the trailer from Comic-Con International 2015 in San Diego, we’re no longer wondering whether or not this was good casting: Smith looks as unhappy to be in Suicide Squad as we are to see him. Here are five reasons why Will Smith made the wrong move by taking on the role of Deadshot.
Smith Has A Bad Track Record In Superhero Stuff
The last time Will Smith showed up in a movie where superpowers were the rule of the day, it was 2008’s Hancock. The first half of that flick is pretty good, all about a superhero who’s out to rehabilitate his tarnished image. The second half is straight-up bonkers nonsense, where we find out that instead of just a superhero, Hancock is actually a god who is destined to be in love with Charlize Theron—also a god—and the plot disappears up its own butt.
While Deadshot won’t have the same abilities as Hancock himself, Smith still seems like a questionable choice based on the shoddy reviews from his previous powered role. Smith excels at playing normal guys in crazy worlds. In Suicide Squad, he’s just another nutty cog in the insanity machine.
He Plays The Same Role In Every Movie: “Will Smith”
While we’re on the subject of Smith’s acting, he doesn’t seem to really stretch his abilities too often. He played roughly the same character in the Bad Boys and Men in Black movies, not to mention Independence Day, Wild Wild West, I, Robot, I Am Legend, and even Hitch. At no point in any of those movies do you think to yourself, “I am not watching the character ‘Will Smith.'”
Once in a while he takes a chance with new types of roles. Movies like The Pursuit of Happyness, After Earth, and Seven Pounds, stand out, as does his Oscar-nominated performance in Ali. But it seems pretty unlikely that his turn as Deadshot will be anything much more than “Will Smith in a super suit with a gun.”
He Sticks Out Like A Sore Thumb
The Suicide Squad trailer features a lot of interesting-looking characters, from Captain Boomerang, to Killer Croc, to Harley Quinn. For all the trailer’s faults, at the very least we’re seeing folks we’ve mostly never seen before. Even the ridiculous new Joker played by Jared Leto is a fresh twist on an old role.
And then, hey! It’s Will Smith. It’s impossible to ignore the incongruity of how weird everyone else looks, and how absolutely Will Smith-y Will Smith appears to be. Anytime Deadshot shows up on-screen, audiences won’t be able to think anything other than “what is Agent J doing here?”
He Hasn’t Been In An Ensemble Cast Since ‘Independence Day’
The last time Smith showed up in a movie as one part of a larger cast was 1996’s Independence Day. There, he shared the screen with tons of other stars of the day: Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, Randy Quaid, Bill Pullman, and plenty more. At the time, Smith wasn’t quite the movie star he’s become—and the fact that he won’t be appearing in Independence Day: Resurgence is telling. He’s finished sharing the spotlight with more than one or two stars.
So how is it going to go in Suicide Squad? Either Smith has figured out how to be a small part of a larger cast again, or it’s going to be “Will Smith And The Suicide Squad,” which, really, is the best name for a ska band that we’ve ever heard. Sadly, this isn’t a ska band. It’s a half-baked attempt at quickly building DC’s cinematic universe so it can rival Marvel’s. It’d be one thing if this was a Deadshot movie that happened to feature other DC villains. But Smith is too big a star for this movie to really work the way it should while giving him what he so clearly wants: top billing.
‘Suicide Squad’ Still Looks Too Awful To Be Saved
Even after all these reasons, there’s one sad truth: Will Smith is still probably going to be the best part of Suicide Squad. Even though he says lines like, “we’re some kind of Suicide Squad,” and “let’s go save the world,” he’ll still be better than the rest of this mess. Will Smith is a huge box office draw because he’s charismatic and fun to watch.
Every other character looks like a Comic-Con cosplay reject. Suicide Squad looks like a humorless slog. Will Smith is the only bright spot in what’s likely to be a cinematic disaster.
Still, it looks a whole lot better than After Earth. Hoo boy, did that suck.