Suicide Squad:Film Review

It’s okay. Definitely not a bad film.


Writer & Director: David AyerFull cast, Run time:2h3m

Let’s first shout out the cinematographer, Roman Vasyanov, involved with making Toronto look nothing like Toronto. As I watched I tried to look for where the CN Tower was much less any other well known spot was and outside from the obvious, it was rather hard to tell.  Mixed in with some post shots of Chicago, it was very well shot. It was hard to tell, at times between studio and city locations. thats always a good thing artistically.

If I’m applauding the cinematic look first that may be a sign.

But it’s not a bad one.

Now for my analysis. Now, when Bruce Timm and crew made the character “Harleen Quinzel”  I don’t believe they had ever intended to be the characterization of what all holloween costumes are for girls these days. Some skimpy clad caricature of something. And the wardrobe head on the film dropped the ball here. Now with things like Hot Topic, she’s all you seemingly see ladies in geekdom dress as. It’s as common as you see black spots on a pavement on a busy city street. The more she has revealed skin, the higher her popularity rose. In a way, she is like many females on social media who show skin to get a lil fame. Now this aside, there are great moments from Margot Robbie that brings the famed and loved take of Harlequin from the animated series. They just come much later in the film than one hopes for. What is most interesting is how well she plays off everyone graciously. The physical contrast to standing next to Killer Croc, Deadshot and the villian witch, while inna some bhatty ridas, and heels, allowed for her character to feel as authentic as she could possibly be at being a bad ass. By the end of the film I was so pleased with how well she acted. But still only for the second half.

The elephant in the room should be seen and spoken about. When he was casted as…….. Deadshot. Nah, The Joker. Jared Leto. Everyone thought he was a great choice, as he’s a sound actor. He has a quality method acting ability. If you doubted the casting, you were always reminded about Heath’s casting for TDK. THEN Mr. Leto’s look as the Joker was released and all geekdom hell broke loose. Needless to say, you either accepted it, or hated it and moved on. I’m definitely the latter. However, is mannerisms as Mr. J were all right. If Mark Hamil is the definitive Joker, then Leto may be the best on screen, (but I still think Heath is best Joker as his take is much deeper and darker a character). But his performance(Leto) in the role he was given was excellent. I don’t like the story’s portrayal, but it is similar to stories of past takes on the Joker being more of a gangster versus just a mad clown. But there is a mad clown for sure. I don’t think he matches up with how we saw Batman, in BVS, but the Batman we see in S.Squad, seems more plausible. But more on that later. The one thing I think people will dislike is his look, and feeling of being too much of a gangster. Mr.Ayer said he

writes with his own life’s diversity in mind.

And that he

“was the only white kid in his neighbourhood.”(-comingsoon.net, S.Squad presser)

so maybe how Joker was written had something to do with that.

Viola Davis. She can act man. SHE CAN REALLY ACT. She was probably the most bad ass of them all. Her screen time is logistically limited but with every frame, she gracefully commands and shares the screen well(Also shout to to the editor(s) who worked on her stuff).
At the younger age of 50(Her birthday is tomorrow) and probably her first ever huge blockbuster, she did an amazing job. I was very proud of her performance. She could quite possibly have the best take of Amanda Waller. She held her own in many ways and seemed is the most authentic to the source material. Apparently she drew from her 8 year old bad-assself.

Smith. He was the one I didn’t think would ever do “another” superhero movie, but alas, here we are. He is just an acting beast. Aside from the Joker, he just almost captivates the screen. Where the Joker shows up and everyone is intrigued, the face and name of Smith does the same, but he has such a character arc, that just makes you appreciate the fact he’s in the film. He has a particular moment when the mission starts and he is essentially a one man army. They all kind of get a moment, but really as the odd man out, he rather owns his the most. All the elements of his character arc are well crafted. Nothing ground breaking, but his arc is definitely a stand out.

Jai Courtney is someone I have a love/hate relationship with. I loved his role in Spartacus, but since, he’s done nothing that has won me over as he did in his Spartacus role. This however, is as close as he’s come since. He comes in as Captain Boomerang. Which was first portrayed by another one of his Spartacus Co-stars on the CW Network’s Arrow/Flash shows. The two are strikingly different. Which isn’t a bad thing but I just couldn’t help but feel his portrayal was just there for comic relief.  Seriously, what was up with that pink unicorn? Mr. Boomerang seemed to have a story that we will see in later movies. Which was cool, but they need to stake a page from Marvel and make their movies a bit more self contained. I wish i could say more about this character but he was one of the under used ones.

The rest f the cast seems to just be skimmed over. Which is logical as it is unfortunate. With all the flashbacks already in the film anymore and it may as well have been Arrow the movie. But I imagine with all the characters who do have a flash back, you’re more than likely going to see them pip uo again in future films.

What I found to be a great addition to the movie was Ben Affleck’s Batman being a hero again. I’m all for Batman being a seasoned hero with a chip on his shoulder, but I want to see why that happens. I want to see some real ground work as to what would make that guy as pissed off as ever. But with the events of BvS now part of the DCEU canon, the only way to go from here is up.  He is just a background character. People will whine about not seeing more of him but I think he was used perfectly. It’s not about him. It’s about (his) villains.

My issues with this movie are these. Whenever they have text on the screen be it for a brief description or a means of letting you know where the story is taking place, it comes across the screen so fast that I heard more than one person say what did that one say? Two people I sat beside even asked me what the very first one said as it was black text over a shadowy area of a screen. That’s just poor editing work.

The seeming disappointing use of characters. Example: Slipknot is in the movie but there really wasn’t a need for it. He was literally there just to prove an unnecessary point so early on. i also feel that the handling of Kitana was a cheap gimmick to wrap up the story. I do like that they tried to give El Diablo some back story but again, came off cheap. His origin is unique to the film, but he is really just Ghost Rider.

The disconnect is there but it’s there to add a layer of perspective. It’s cool and adds to the character of Enchantress, but it was again not necessary.

My biggest issue was it felt too much like X-men: Age of Apocalypse. Centuries old being hates the planet, has to create some stupid metal thing that’s pretty obvious how to take down even tho its the first time anyone has ever seen them.

Lastly, I hated the way the made Killer Croc look. his scales looked more like mini eyeballs than it did scales. but I do applaud them for going practical versus cgi. but maybe if there is a sequel, that will happen. I hope it does. That said, he did as fine a job as one could hope. I will give credit to the application of his costume, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje didn’t look anything like himself on screen.

Bottom Line: It’s a summer popcorn flick that was made to entertain and it does that. there are clear problems; but it’s nothing as bad as the theatrical release of Batman v Superman. There is loads of action sometimes its unnecessary, other times you wish it went on a bit longer. you leave the theatre wishing they included just a wee bit more of the Joker.

I’m proud this was Filmed mostly if not entirely in Toronto.

Suicide-Squad-Movie-Set-Visit

  • Overall rating of the movie: 5.5 out of 10,
  • Cinematography: 8 out of 10,
  • Editing: 6 out of 10,
  • Audio: 5 out of 10,
  • Acting: 8 out of 10,

Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? See it on a cheap day, but you really could just wait for the blu ray.

 

 

 

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2

The second chapter to the “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” saga concludes with this story and it’s all kinds of amazing (see what I did there?) Loaded with great themes and even a poster to Christopher Reeves Superman.

Dark Knight Returns

Batman sure can take a beating at the old age of 55. Starting out right where the last left off with the Joker now becoming aware of his surroundings, he gets the Batman to lose control in the eyes of the public… To which point Superman is brought in to stop him.

The themes from the last one are reintroduced, and then put into practice. One being the story of Pearl Harbour as told by Jim Gordon to Ellen Yindel of how that event sparked a nation to get behind sending troops to World War 2. That’s probably the most paramount theme in this half story. It has the most weight to it aside from the propaganda that may be in the book/movie.

This one, I remembered more, and loved that I either registered more scenes from the comic or the animators used more. The joker scenes were the best, (see above) whereas the ones that seemed to be flat were the Superman scenes right after the nuke explosion. I think that scene was better in the comic whereas you get to read it versus seeing it without the narration.

One thing I didn’t mention in my part 1 review was the actors. Peter Weller as Batman for 99% of this movie is incredible. The breakthrough performance however was the Joker. Just for the way that he was drawn in the book and how he is known to act was superbly presented through the work of Michael Emerson. Andrea Romano, the voice director, is way past “infinity and beyond” in terms of greatness (if I’m ever so lucky to work with her, I will have to first not act like a crazed fan) the only one I felt could have used more, was Oliver Queen’s actor: Robin Atkin Downes.

Another thing I didn’t mention in part was the use of music. In the Nolan directed Batman saga, Hans Zimmer was the man who made everything seem even more epic in those films, notably the best batman movie, T.D.K. Here, the work of Christopher Drake captures a great essence to carry you through the hour 15min motion picture. It’s very close to T.D.K. in terms of how to explain it, especially with the Joker scenes. A lot of the reasons why I like this one, is because of the music.

The rating system is as follows. The 1st rating is what you really want, the rest is just what I thought of each other category as it’s listed (art/animation is how the movie translates the art from the book in animation).

  • Overall: 4.5
  • Art/Animation: 4.8
  • Voiceover Work: 5
  • True to the Source Material: 4.8

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW

Batman: The Dark knight Returns Part 1 Review

Dark_knight_returnsSo a little while ago, I had tweeted that I was going to review all the animated movies from both Marvel and DC. Since this is the latest one I figured I’d start here.

Now, I will say that I roughly remember the events of the famed (and I mean really famed) graphic novel, but from what I do remember, this animated feature is pretty dead on in terms of how it is depicted. I do believe that the opening race car scene was added however, but I could be wrong. The first 15 minutes is really a catch up to the moment where Bruce realizes that he cant take the city destroying itself anymore. The iconic cover of the series (Above) happens at 17m43s in, and it’s beautifully done. It’s also another one of those moments where I don’t remember if it was done in the comics or not. From there on to the climatic, cliffhanging ending, it does feel a little rushed which is sometimes a fault to these stories I feel.

There are a lot of interesting concepts and themes introduced to the character, which gives the movie depth in terms of relatability. One being: Does the Batman create his adversaries? In a way yes, he does. BATMAN IS JUST AS CRAZY as his villains, just with a better moral compass. He wears a bat costume and fights crime against impossible odds. As cool as that is, it’s crazy. If Bruce had gotten the psychiatric therapy he needed after his parents murder, we wouldn’t have Batman (as a comic nerd/geek, lets just all be happy he didn’t). I did enjoy the fact that Miller used the death of Jason Todd as part of the reason he stopped being Batman. I never understood how you become the legal guardian of this child, he gets killed, and seemingly, you do nothing. Didn’t try to avenge him, nothing. Just replaced him with Tim Drake and then Damian, his son. Those and many other elements are present in the book, and translate well here to make the cartoon accessible to adults and children alike.

Two of the BEST things about DC’s direct to dvd animated features, is how they try to recreate the artists work from the source material to screen, and how faithful to the book the movie is. Outside of cutting things down to fit time constraints or expanding the story to really give you the scope of the story, if memory serves right, it is about 98% accurate to the book (I’ve said above where I think it deviates). The original limited series was “coloured” by/with water colours by Lynn Varley  (Inked by Klaus Janson, Penciled by Writer: Frank Miller). Why that style was chosen, I don’t know, but for whatever reason, it works and it works in this movie. Though I’m sure it wasn’t water colour they used, vs just using “lighter colours, hues, and contrasts”. The overall animation is great, since Superman: Doomsday, the animation has just been getting progressively better.

The rating system is as follows. The 1st rating is what you really want, the rest is just what I thought of each other category as it’s listed (art/animation is how the movie translates the art from the book in animation).

  • Overall: 4.8
  • Art/Animation: 4.8
  • Voiceover Work: 5
  • True to the Source Material: 5

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW

City Of Scars

As I said, this is the first video to “Batman Seeds of Arkham in what I’m guessing may become a trilogy or even webisode styled. DC/(the)WB really needs to contact this guy and get him to do some work for them.

This story takes place out of continuity as I said with the other video.

“When the Joker escapes from Arkham and murders the parents of a young boy, Batman recalls the pain of losing his own parents as a child. He is pushed past his limits to the point where his focus becomes revenge on all who stand in his way, including many of Gotham’s underworld. Finally, Batman is forced to look at the psychological profile of his own mind and accept the consequences of his life to find resolve.”

If that isn’t a good Batman story for the live-action medium, I don’t know what is. So watch it, enjoy it rate and comment on it.

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!

– Xavier , @CoolyoNgeLEW