Ever since [Suicide Squad](movie:2283363) was announced as being the movie to follow up 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Will Smith's name has been attached along with the confirmed Margot Robbie and Tom Hardy. A lot of speculation went into who Will Smith might have been playing such as Black Manta, the villainous treasure hunter that is known to be Aquaman's big baddie. He was also speculated as maybe playing the Black Spider, a New 52 member of the Suicide Squad who was also featured in the animated movie Batman: Assault on Arkham. But, last week's announcement put that to rest as neither Black Manta or Black Spider were confirmed for the movie but that Will Smith would instead be playing the role of Floyd Lawton A.K.A. Deadshot. I, for one, was stoked because I had been saying (and I mentioned this in another article, I know) that I've been dying for Will Smith to get a role in some big, high-profile comic book movie and to see that wish come true in a way that I felt was extremely appropriate.
But let's get into some of the complaints and my defense for Will Smith's role as Deadshot.
Seriously, that's a complaint that I have seen! I don't know where these specific people have been hiding, but Will Smith is no small-fish in the Hollywood ocean. He's still got a very prominent amount of star-power that is still the drive for audiences to see the movies he stars in. Think about it, how "relevant" was Robert Downey Jr. before he was cast in the role of Tony Stark in Iron Man in 2008? How relevant was Christian Bale when he was cast as Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins in 2005?
Yes, you can argue that Will Smith's last big movie to have starred in was After Earth... and yes, I would agree that it was a terrible movie. However, what actor hasn't had a bad film? Plus, After Earth was directed by M. Night Shyamalan who hasn't done a critically-praised movie since Unbreakable (I can argue that I like Signs, though). However, his most recent movies besides After Earth were The Last Airbender and The Happening, both movies were atrocious and one of them I couldn't even finish. So, if we are going to blame anyone on the atrocity that was After Earth, let's blame Shyamalan and not Smith himself.
Moving on from there, we aren't supposed to be talking about Shyamalan, we're focusing on Smith, just felt I needed to put that out there. But let's take a look at how ignorant the quote above about Will Smith not being relevant really is by listing off some of the best movies that Will Smith has done. I feel that these films solidify him as an ideal actor for the role:
Will Smith is definitely a great action hero, whether RottenTomatoes says his movies are good or not, the audience loves them. Look at movies like the ones above: Enemy of the State, I Am Legend, I, Robot, and the Bad Boys movies are all very popular and I've not met anyone who didn't like those, especially Enemy of the State. All of these movies are high-octane action. In these movies he's played a man on the run from the government, a lone survivor of a deadly virus, a bitter detective in the future who gets involved in robotic conspiracies, and a wise-cracking cop who doesn't take attitude. These are all elements of the Deadshot character.
Deadshot's a villain whose origin starts with the accidental shooting of his own brother as he tries to actually shoot a gun out of his hand to keep him from killing their father and ultimately getting sent to prison. I imagine that for sometime after this he's been "a man on the run." Deadshot's also a loner, or originally was one when he first started off in the comic universe. He had no respect for life, not even his own. He's broken and his ultimate goal was to just go out with bang. To have as glorious a death as he could get. I'm sure that as a contract killer he's been involved in more than one conspiracy in more than one several different infrastructures of several different governments. Plus, from what I've read of the character, he's kind of got that wise-cracking smart-mouth that Will Smith has the ability to pull off so well.
Probably one of the most ignorant statements I've heard since this has all began was how the race change would affect the character or how the creators behind camera would address the race change. I even saw one individual on YouTube make the comment:
"How are they going to address the race change? Are the going to use body paint?" - Anonymous schmuck
I don't know if these people have been living in a hole for the last few years but race changes are completely normal for movies nowadays. Let's take a look at black actors playing white characters:
Michael Clarke Duncan played Kingpin in Daredevil (2003)
Idris Elba played Heimdall in Thor (2011)
Lawrence Fishburne played Perry White in Man of Steel (2013)
Samuel L. Jackson played Nick Fury in The Avengers (2012)
It should be stated that Nick Fury had undergone a race change in the Ultimates comic books that took place in a separate universe from the original 616 Universe where all Marvel's characters abide. The race change of the film eventually led to the original 616 Nick Fury getting the overhaul as well. But I still felt it was worth mentioning.
Obviously there are characters that are so deeply-rooted into minds of audiences and have been for generations that changing their race would feel jarring, for instance, I wouldn't want to see a black Superman or Batman, nor would I want to see a white Blade or Spawn. But Deadshot is not a character that is really precious to pop culture in the way where the mind's of the general audience are going to be taken out of the movie because he's being played by Will Smith. Most people are not even familiar with who Deadshot is. I think it works for Deadshot, not because of the racial change, but because of the actor who is playing him despite his ethnicity.
Those were two of the dumbest arguments I've heard so far in regards to Will Smith's casting in the role of Deadshot. Considering the overly vocal fanboys who were complaining about this, I felt that I should get on here and defend the casting decision. I'm just as excited to see Will Smith as Deadshot as I am to see Jared Leto as the Joker or Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.