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SUICIDE SQUAD (2016)

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joker-scolds-harley-uncropped-196377Dear Suicide Squad marketing team: What was with all the neon splattered, eye-popping publicity? The bells, the whistles and the jokey trailers and bubblegum sizzle reels?

Because once the ‘Worst. Heroes. Ever.’ were finally unleashed upon the planet, it was clear that Suicide Squad was no raucous super-villain caper. Instead, it shared the same murky tone as Warner Bros’ previous DC laughfest, Batman v Superman.

And it shared something else with BvS – the critics hated it.

It’s as if every hack raced out of a screening to try and outdo each other with their witty take on how soul-crushingly awful it was.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been so bored by summer sequels and reboots, but I enjoyed Suicide Squad’s messy two hours. The standout for me? Actress-of-the-moment Margot Robbie’s acrobatic, demented performance as Harley Quinn:

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Robbie’s Harley is one of a crew of criminals handpicked by brutal government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to fight future non-human threats.

Recruited from the same maximum security hellhole are Will Smith as lethal assassin/caring father Deadshot; El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), who has a fiery Aztec god inside him; Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje); and Aussie Tom Hardy lookalike Jai Courtney, whose thing is to throw boomerangs. If they step out of line – boom! A mini-explosive has been injected near their brain stems.

Trying to command the squad is soldier Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), who is in love with squad member and archaeologist Dr June Moone (Cara Delevingne). She is possessed by a powerful entity named Enchantress, who goes rogue and becomes the metahuman threat Waller feared. Along with her magical brother Incubus, Enchantress starts turning people into zombies that look like walking blobs of caviar.

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Out of the talented cast, only Delevingne has received near-unanimous criticism. But it’s not her fault she gets stuck in a bikini and made to gyrate around in front of a CGI light show, or that her naturally deep, smoky voice is manipulated to sound, as one reviewer put it: ‘like Vanessa Redgrave on rhinoceros tranquilizer.’

Will Smith brings high-wattage star power, while Davis gives a masterclass on what an actor can do with a really thinly drawn character. As for Robbie – she may be in the squad, but she’s in a league of her own. Robbie’s superpower is almost to be super-engaging, to the point that articles have again and again tried to analyze her appeal.

Meanwhile, Jared Leto’s Joker doesn’t want to watch the world burn so much as rule the world with his ‘queen’ Harley by his side.

While some people felt cheated that Leto only gets about 15 minutes of screentime, others – perhaps already repulsed by the fortysomething alleged method actor’s reported on-set antics – will argue that 15 minutes of Leto goes a long way.

But it certainly means the Joker’s relationship with Harley is under-served.


Fans may be familiar with reports of the profound difficulties the production faced, and the movie does have plenty of problems with plot, structure, etc.

But as Brandon wrote about BvS, audiences don’t turn to comic books movies for intricate stories or well-developed romantic sub-plots.

The dominant genre in our time, comic book movies are about seeing characters like Harley Quinn and the Joker come to life, seeing how they are portrayed and how they interact with each other.

The Verdict

Suicide Squad’s greatest strength is its charismatic and gifted actors. They are all deeply committed to genuinely intriguing characters – both iconic and more obscure. It’s a shame the rushed script doesn’t give them room to breathe.

3/5

Comic Book Movies

Joaquin Phoenix Stares Into Your Soul As The Joker Via “il venerdì di repubblica” Cover

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“Cinematic achievement on a high level.”

Director Todd Phillips has gone on the record stating, his film is going to piss off hardcore comic book fans. The upcoming ‘Joker’ movie will not follow any comic book plot lines or continuity for the villain, and will in fact be its very own stand alone film. With that being said, the movie is already garnering praise from select audiences. Cameron Bailey, co-head and artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, went on record with Toronto Sun, hailing the film as “Cinematic achievement on a high level.” Bailey continued on, saying:

“First of all it’s terrific. So it should play on our largest stage. But it’s a really original take on comic book movies and on the Joker character in particular. It’s not based on an existing story, it has one of the greatest actors in modern cinema, Joaquin Phoenix, in the lead, and Robert De Niro is in it as well, one of the best actors that has ever lived.”

Bailey, also went on to say, the film is “Very cinematic,” for a low budget feature.

“Has an interesting tone and approach to it. It’s set in the late ’70s, early ’80s and it feels like it was made then. It’s gritty in its look, it has references to Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking and it feels like a cinematic achievement on a high level. Although it’s working with very populist material, it has great ambition. That’s why it’s a Gala.”

Check out the newest ‘Joker’ magazine cover via il venerdì di repubblica.

‘Joker’ hits theaters October 4, 2019

 

 

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Comic Book Movies

Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ To Reveal The One True Mandarin

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‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ was announced at SDCC as part of Marvel’s upcoming phase 4 slate. It is set to be the third film in Phase 4 and will be released February 12, 2021. ‘Ten Rings’ will feature Shang-Chi ( Simu Liu ), a Kung-Fu Master, who will face off against, The Mandarin. You heard that right, THE MANDARIN. But not that Mandarin, The real Mandarin.

‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ will be the first Asian led Marvel film. It will follow the legendary martial artist on his quest to stop The Mandarin (Tony Leung) on his quest for world domination. The Mandarin is villain that many MCU fans know little about, especially after ‘Iron Man 3’ pulled the old bait and switch by having the Mandarin revealed to be an actor played by Ben Kingsley named Trevor Slattery, whose sole purpose was to divert Stark’s attention from the true villain of the film, Aldrich Killian.

Shang-Chi (Chinese: 尚氣; pinyin: shàng qì; literally: ‘rising of the spirit’) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin, first appearing in Special Marvel Edition #15 (cover-dated December 1973) in the Bronze Age of Comic Books. Often referred to as the “Master of Kung Fu”, Shang-Chi is proficient in numerous unarmed and weaponry-based wushu styles, including the use of the gùn, nunchaku, and jian. In later years, he gains the power to create countless duplicates of himself, and joins the Avengers. -Wikipedia 

Check out ‘All Hail The King: One Shot.’ A short from 2013, that teased “The Real” Mandarin. Starring Ben Kingsley 

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Comic Book Movies

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Deleted Scene Has Heroes Taking A Knee To Honor The Fallen Iron Man

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The latest news out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t what you’d think. Yes, a new ‘Blade’ movie was announced. Yes, No ‘Spider-Man 3’ was announced. And yes, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ has surpassed ‘Avatar’ as the highest grossing movie of all time (worldwide box-office.) Despite all of this, the single greatest update, comes in the form of a deleted scene via ‘Avengers: Endgame.’ A scene which many believe should have been left in the final cut of the film. The scene in question is the emotional death of MCU legend Tony Stark. The deleted scene shows the Avengers all going down on one knee in honor of the fallen hero. Check out the video below, tell us what you think in the comments. Should Marvel have left this scene in the final cut of Endgame?

‘Avengers: Endgame’ has earned 2.7 billion worldwide

 

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