Suicide Squad (2016) – Film Review.

Title: Suicide Squad

Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jay Hernandez, Jai Courtney, Cara Delevingne, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Karen Fukuhara

Director: David Ayer

Genres: Superhero, Action, Comic Book, DC Extended Universe, Comic Book Adaptation

Rating: 3.5/5


It came on the coat tails of Batman Vs Superman, and gave audiences the taste of a film that was going to be manic, bright, ridiculous and villainous.

With excellent trailers, a cast that is not to sniggered at, and the first reincarnation of the Joker since Heath Ledger’s chilling performance, Suicide Squad was supposed to b1e DC’s resurrection from heavily panned movies and critical reviews.

However, despite it giving some kick-ass moments, it failed to live up to expectations.

Originally a storyline that few outside of the comic book readership would have heard of, Suicide Squad tells the story of a motely group of imprisoned super villains who have been forced to be part of a fighting task force and work to reduce their prison sentences. Starring Deadshot (Smith) as the world’s best gunslinger and assassin; Harley Quinn (Robbie) deranged ex-psychiatrist and girlfriend of The Joker; Diablo (Hernandez) pyrokinetic gangster; Killer Croc (Akinnuoye-Agbaje cannibalistic crocodile, and bank thief Captain Boomerang (Courtney), the team have to fight against otherworldly creatures for the government, whilst always actively trying to rebel against the authority that imprisons them.

Excitement rose throughout the release of the trailers and teasers, and there was thousands of questions that comic book fans had to ask. What was Leto’s Joker going to be like? How was Robbie going to portray Harley Quinn in her first full-length live action cinematic debut? Was it going to be light-hearted, dark, somber, violent? How many backstories would feature? Is this going to be a continuation of the Batman Vs Superman line, or be entirely different? So on and so on.

So what did I like about the movie/what was done well? The cast and the acting were very strong throughout. There was chemistry between the cast that was obvious to the audience, and I thought they gelled well together. Despite some of the Squad’s characters not being explored (Killer Croc, Boomarang etc), they still made a good addition and impact within the narrative. Will Smith’s Deadshot was strong, as he was shown to have arrogance and loathing towards the authority that imprisoned him, whilst showing his strong paternal love towards his daughter. Diablo was also a favourite, as he is shown initially to be remorseful over his actions, yet when he warms up to the Squad, he considers them to be the family that he lost. A very sympathetic character in my mind. But for me, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was a favourite.SUICIDE SQUAD

With her backstory glazed over, the audience wanted more, and when we saw the transformation from the straight-laced Dr Harleen Quinzel to the manic Harley Quinn, I was very impressed with Robbie’s acting ability. Harley Quinn was un-hinged yet still self-aware of who she was, and her love for the Joker and contempt for the mission in hand. This made her character feel multi-dimensional, as she is not just the film’s sex appeal and Joker’s sidekick, but significantly more. She is shown to be completely bad-ass with baseball bat, yet possesses an angel face and dressed as a crazy cheerlander mixing with a circus performer. Harley Quinn certainly made an impact. ,

I’m also very interested in Jared Leto’s Joker. With plenty of boastful interviews about never breaking character throughout filming, and employing method acting constantly, Leto dedicated a lot of time and energy to portraying his Joker, yet we didn’t really see that. The Joker was a minor character in this story, and with around 15 minutes of screen time during the entire film, he isn’t given enough time to
make a real impact. However, I found his gangster apparel and mafia vibe to be tiresome. To me, The Joker is a solitary and lone figure that largely works above the regular villains. Leto makes him far more ‘Mob Boss’ rather than ‘Crazed Clown’. However, I am excited to see if he is explored more in further films.

However, to me the film fell down the pit that Batman Vs Superman did. There was a lot happening, but not a lot of plot, and what plot was there felt very disjointed and full of holes. The way it has been edited together felt choppy and disjointed, and there were some odd flashbacks and films over the film that didn’t really make sense. There was an initial plot line that seemed completely pointless, and the main drama was largely brushed over, and only resolved in the last third.

However, DC has learned from the heavily-panned Batman Vs. Superman by incorporating some lighthearted and comedic moments, which did relieve the drama slightly.

Despite this being a film full of villains, the main antagonist was The Enchantress. However, I didn’t think Cara Delevingne could cope with the character. The Enchantress was supposed to be an all power ancient spirit of a witch and completely evil, yet the actress just couldn’t grasp the severity of the character. If you want chilling villainy, look at Ledger’s The Joker, or Anthony Hopkins Hannibal. She just didn’t make an impact as The Enchantress, or the witch’s vessel, June Moon. She just felt weak to me, which made the final fight scene a bit lacklustre.

If you watched the trailers and read all the hype about Suicide Squad, you may be slightly disappointed. Harley Quinn was a real highlight, but the film itself was confusing, convoluted and not as crazy as we wanted it to be. Unfortunately, DC promised something big, but it still fell beneath expectations. However, if you want a film about crazed psychopaths trying to work together, with weird situations and hilarity ensuing, go and see the film. I found it be enjoyable, but don’t look too much into it.

Suicide Squad is in cinemas now.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – Film Review

Title: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter and Gal Gadot.

Director: Zack Snyder

Genre: Superhero, Action, DC Extended Universe, Comic Book Adaptation

Rating: 3/5


In my opinion, superhero and comic book movies has become one of those genres that can attract a very diverse audience. From diehard fans who enjoying seeing their favourite hero/antihero play it up on the big screen, to people wanting to experience a form of escapism into a world where good guys beat bad guys, and marvellous powers and technologies are the norm, superheroes represent the protection, power, and that being different isn’t a bad thing.

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So when it was announced in 2013 that two of the biggest and most celebrated superheroes would be put in a film together, the anticipation was rife across the globe. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, two of DC’s greatest and most read-about heroes faced off in an action-packed, CGI riddled movie that would not only launched the start of a new superhero franchise, but would be the first live-action movie starring these two fan favourites.

Set eighteen months after Man of Steel, Superman has become a figure of controversy. Thanks to destructive battle with General Zod, Superman has changed from a hero of protection and peace, and into something that people have started to fear. And there is no person who hates Superman more than billionaire tycoon Bruce Wayne. After the ruin of Wayne Tower, Wayne holds a grudge against Superman, and sees Superman as being a threat to humanity due to his overwhelming powers. And vice versa here, as Superman views the Batman as being a threat, and acting above the law. So, with the two most powerful men in Gotham and Metropolis actively loathing each other, it is then up to power mogul and other-all bad seed, Lex Luthor to interject and orchestrate a colossal battle. However, all is not as it seems, and it soon becomes apparent that instead of fighting each other, there is a bigger foe that threatens world peace.

So, what did I enjoy about this film? Well, first of all I was pleasantly surprised by Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne. I have watched Affleck through various different films, from Daredevil to Gone Girl, and when he was announced that he was going to play Batman in this movie, I was eager to see how he would play him. And all in all, I was surprised about how serious he was. In the beginning of the film, we are given a refresher course about Wayne’s tragic past and his parents death, and with a very chilling shot of the mugger’s gun wrapped around his mother’s string of pearls, the shooting scene was done with enough drama to really hit a nerve. This flashback to Wayne’s childhood also helped cement what kind of Batman Affleck would portray, as he is shown to be very troubled. He portrayed a Bruce Wayne that was very different from Christopher Nolan’s, as he wasn’t as jokey or wise-cracking as The Dark Knight hero. He seemed a lot more troubled by his past, which in turned affected his Batman. As his alter ego, he seemed a lot more vicious and macabre, and definitely as more of a vigilante.

The Batmobile and his suit has been rejigged and redone as well, and like with the Superman, this Batman wasn’t supposed to be a continuation of The Dark Knight Trilogy, but an entirely new version. Henry Cavill’s batman-v-superman-trailer-fight-heat-visionSuperman has also been given more of an insight into the trials of being Superman. The fact that he is an alien, and his powers are feared rather than revered is talked about throughout the film, however there are moments of religious symbolism which did show that Superman is still worshipped as a higher power. Cavil is chiselled, cool and plays both Clarke Kent and Superman well.

But what did irk me was the high levels of damsels in distress in this movie. Amy Adam’s Lois Lane didn’t necessarily have any life in her character. She waits to be rescued, and when she does, she promptly goes off and gets herself in more danger. In this film, all she seems to do is wait for Superman. Which is highly disappointing, especially as it is put next to the highly advertised appearance of Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot doesn’t get the screen time she should have got. She only reveals her super alter-ego in this last big battle, and appears before in various dresses at glamourous events.

What I also found disappointing was the jumbled and jolted way this film didn’t follow one plot. It messily jumped from subplot to subplot, before climaxing in two very epic and dramatic battles at the end, where everything is resolved very quickly. The end battles were good, don’t get me wrong. Watching as Superman and Batman mercilessly attack each other in haze of heat vision, kryptonian smoke guns and fancy Bat-gadgets was entertaining. But I don’t think that Marvel and its well- defined movie franchise has anything to worry about when it comes to this particular film.

On the surface, the movie was an action-filled explosion extravaganza. I thoroughly enjoyed the tension between Clarke Kent and Bruce Wayne, and how these two superheroes faced the Fall from Grace into being feared and not understood. Jeremy Irons’ Alfred was also another moment of dry humour in the darkness of Bruce Wayne’s world. But underneath, the dialogue was long and drawn out – especially when it came to Lex Luthor and his crazy monologues – the film was oddly paced, with the end coming too soon and the rest bumbling along, and the soundtrack wasn’t up to scratch. I am eager to see what the DC Extended Universe comes up with next. But let’s just try more with sticking with one plot, and less with the damsels.

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But what do you think? Did you enjoy this new movie? Do you think marvel has to worry about this new franchise? And what superhero movie would you like to see? Leave me comments!

 

Deadpool (2016) – Film Review

Title: Deadpool

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, Leslie Uggams

Director: Tim Miller

Genre: Superhero, Action, Marvel Film, Comic Book Adaptation

Rating: 4.5/5


 

When it comes to the release of a new Marvel film, there are always going to huge levels of anticipation, paired with tons of excitement, which turns into queues of fans waiting eadeadpool-poster-dec1stgerly at the doors of the cinema to get their fix of the newest installment. And when test footage was leaked online in July 2014 of hearthrob Ryan Reynolds playing the fan-favourite antihero Deadpool, the wait for the release of this origin movie was almost painful. But, as of February 12th 2016, this wait was over. But was it worth it? The answer is, of course.

In this film, Ryan Reynolds plays the smart-mouthed, quip-a-plenty and slightly insane antihero who, as shown through the origin side, is on a mission of revenge after a last-minute cancer cure leaves him with not only mutant abilities, but a horrible disfiguration. Now, before becoming Deadpool, the audience meets Wade Wilson, a handsome, hilarious mercenary who not only has the face of a god, but the girl of his dreams, Vanessa. But, like all fairytales (and theirs is certainly one of love mixed with depravity), something has to break it apart. Wilson is diagnosed with late-stage cancer of his liver, brain, prostate and and lungs, and the question is tossed up of his survival. But then Wade gets offered a get-out-of-jail-free card. Initially called a government-funded workshop, he is promised that this experiment would not only cure his cancer, but give him abilities that would surpass a normal human being, and make him into a version of a ‘superhero’. However, Wade is tricked by the conniving ‘doctor’, a figure of power called Ajax, and subjected to hideous torture and excruciating pain, which results in horrific scarring and a deep-seated desire for revenge.

So what makes Deadpool such a good movie? Well, there hasn’t really been a Marvel film that properly disappoints fans yet, as they all feature their favourite comic heroes, massive budgets and excellent cameos from Stan Lee. And Deadpool does follow that tradition. But unlike other Marvel films, this is a lot darker, bloodier, sexier and adult than what people usually associate with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It focuses on a crazy character, who actively rebels against the X-Men and deadpoolthe idea of a ‘hero’, and just wants to make this right with his girl and his life. Despite being called an extension of the X-Men films, there are so many jokes at their expense, and at the whole superhero genre that it makes it feel completely different and unique. Deadpool waltzs into fights without any concern, (knowing full well he will always heal) and always has the perfect one-liner for any situation. He is psychotic, babbling, hilarious, depraved and just plain vicious when it comes to the fight scenes, and Reynolds really comes into his own whilst playing him. This is Reynolds third attempt at a superhero movie (previously playing The Green Lantern in the heavily-panned film, and a ridiculous version of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) but this really is three-times the charm as his timing, charisma and chemistry with the rest of the cast really makes up for his past failings.

As shown in other Marvel films (Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man) humour really does account for a lot in superhero films, as it breaks through all fighting and the special effects and other-worldness of heroes and makes them a bit more human-like. And Deadpool is laugh-a-minute. Despite Deadpool having a constantly running commentary, none of his jokes falls flat, and each character does have their own comedy sketch to shine in. The scenes of torture that are shown are also kept a lot lighter than they could be, with Reynolds delivering excellent gallows-humour to keep spirits up. There are also a lot of visual gags and even dick jokes that still add to the overall madness of the film.deadpool1-gallery-image

The film also never slows down the pace, and constantly breaks the fourth wall (with an excellent line delivered by Reynolds of ‘A fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break? That’s like… 16 walls’), so you really get to interact with the character and how he perceives superheros and the whole world around them. Also, with a kick-ass soundtrack by Tom ‘Junkie XL’ Holkenborg, this films has all the elements of a great superhero film, but with a psychotic antihero as the protagonist. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and think it is the perfect addition to the Marvel Universe, and would love to see more of these ‘adult’ superhero films in the future.

Now, disclaimer. With quite graphic scenes of murder, violence, sex and language, this is a comic-book movie like none of the other Marvel films. This film is rated 15 in the UK, and R in other countries, so it may not be suitable for younger viewers who are expecting the lighter movies that Marvel have produced in the past.

But I can’t wait to see the next addition of the franchise, and I know I’ll be rewatching this
movie over and over again.

So, if you’ve seen Deadpool, let me know!