Monthly Archives: August 2016

You are browsing the site archives by month.

Suicide Squad: A Hot Mess

Although visually interesting and sprinkled with a few great performances and some humor, the mess of Suicide Squad’s story overshadows everything else. It still manages to entertain, though, making it better than Batman v. Superman, but BvS set the bar pretty low.

While it will likely make lots of money for DC, Suicide Squad also does nothing to prove that DC can produce a good comic-book movie outside of Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Secret government person Amanda Waller wants to build a team to combat a potential future meta-human threat (i.e. What if the next “superman” wasn’t on our side). Instead of looking for potential “good guys” (because that relates to a different upcoming DC movie), Waller decides to use villains, including other meta-humans. Ultimately, she argues, the villains are expendable – if something goes south, they’ll throw the team under the bus.

Harley Quinn and Deadshot get the longest introductions since they both involve scenes with the Batman (Batfleck) and the Joker. The other members of the squad get shorter intros: Killer Croc, Diablo, Captain Boomerang, and the Enchantress. Colonel Rick Flag, a bad-ass best-of-the-best soldier is recruited to lead them. Oh, and Katana and Slipknot show up about an hour into the movie with no explanation. 

So after about 30-40 minutes setting up the Squad, someone realizes there should be a villain in the film, and that’s where things go completely off the rails. 

The villain, via a series of badly edited scenes, quickly sets up in Midway City? (because it can’t be Gotham or Metropolis?) and establishes that it’s going to do something very bad to the city (and the world?) and that the military is powerless to stop them. 

So, the Squad is activated. Each member of the team has a small explosive implanted in their necks that can be remotely detonated by Flag/Waller to ensure that they follow orders. Instead of pursuing the villain, Waller sends the team in to retrieve a high-value target in the city and escort them to safety.

So, yeah, although the squad was formed to combat evil meta-humans, and there’s a clear meta-human threat, the squad is sent on an entirely different mission. 

Of course, the squad ultimately winds up confronting the villain, but by that happens, you’ve given up on watching a cohesive story and are just rolling with what happens on screen. There’s a subplot with Joker in order give Jared Leto’s Joker some additional screen time, but outside of the flashbacks to establish Harley Quinn’s story, the entire Joker arc feels unnecessary and tacked on. 

The weirdest thing about the squad? There’s virtually no conflict amongst the team. They all go along with the orders they’re given, and despite that none of these characters were meant to be team players and are thrown together into this situation, they all work together with almost no conflict between each other. 

And, there’s something odd about the music choices. It’s not that the songs are bad, but they never feel like they’re played at the right moments. It feels like the choice to use classic rock songs was a deliberate attempt to try give the movie a “Guardians of the Galaxy vibe” without understanding how or why the music worked in that film.

As far as the cast goes, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn steals every scene she’s in. Viola Davis is excellent as the cool and fierce Amanda Waller. 

Will Smith is fine as Deadshot, with one exception. He’s given the Deadshot mask as part of his costume, but it seems like he’s got a clause in his contract that the audience must see his face on film 95% of the time. He puts the mask on twice in the film, and neither case makes any sense. Arrow’s version of Deadshot didn’t have the mask at all, so Smith would have been fine without it.

Jared Leto’s Joker is… fine, I guess. Trying to do something different from Heath Ledger’s Joker in the Dark Knight, Leto’s version is more of a crazed, tattooed gangster. He does bring some nice touches to the character, though.

Katana matches her comic-book version. Boomerang is kind of the comic relief of the film. Croc doesn’t have much screen time, but the look doesn’t feel quite right. Croc should have been much bigger, either via a suit or digital effects. Diablo looks great when he transforms.

And the Enchantress – She’s probably the worst part of the film. The initial set up is interesting by setting up the dual personas, and the transformation from June Moone to the Enchantress is pretty good. I don’t think it’s just Cara Delevingne’s performance; the entire arc around this character was so badly written that every scene with her in it disrupts the flow of the movie.

There are already stories out that state the studio got involved late in the project after the dismal reviews from BvS and even paid for some reshoots to add some levity to this film. I read one article that went as far as to say there were actually two different versions of the movie being put together at one point – David Ayer’s version, and the studio’s. 

It feels like the release was a mishmash of both versions, and it shows. Still, it could have been a LOT worse (for that, see last year’s Fantastic Four). 

There are a few great performances (Smith, Davis, and Robbie) in the film and, despite grinding to a halt story-wise halfway through, the movie does succeed in limping to the end and is, if nothing else, at least entertaining to watch. 

Unfortunately, DC still hasn’t managed to find the right combination of elements to produce a comic-book movie that matches the success or coherence of any of the Marvel films. It’s unfortunate, too, because I could have easily seen Suicide Squad capturing a lot of the elements from both Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool and create a distinct movie franchise. 

The Long Con (with tiny hands)

I’m going to call it now – Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States.

What? You ask. What about Trump? 

Trump may still be on the ballot come November, but he will have dropped out of the race before then. 

WHAT? TRUMP WOULD NEVER QUIT!!!

Oh yes. Yes he would.

I’m saying he’d rather quit than lose. if Trump can bow out and spin it in a way where he can declare that he’d “easily” win the election if the system wasn’t “rigged” so Hillary would win, he’d do it. He wouldn’t have to deal with the debates, he wouldn’t have to face losing the election. He could declare himself the “winner” – that he would have won by “YUGE” margins if the system wasn’t so rigged against him.

Don’t believe me?

Instead of trying to be more Presidential, Trump has instead amped up the crazy. The democrats have said Trump can easily be baited, and he proved them right over and over again. He continues to attack anyone that challenges him. The situation with attacking the Khans has the GOP leadership dancing in full spin mode yet again.

Look at his speeches over the last couple of days. He’s already laying the groundwork to bow out. Sunday, he was complaining that the dates of the debates were being “rigged” in Hillary’s favor. He complains that the government is “rigged” because they failed to press charges against Clinton over the personal email server fiasco. 

Now, he’s telling supporters that he’s “hearing” that the election in November will be “rigged” to allow Hillary to win. He won’t have any proof of any of this, just “hears things” from “people he knows”.

He already has subordinates declaring that, for example, a Trump loss in Florida would literally be because of voter fraud. A Trump loss in Florida would be considered fraud by the Trump campaign, who would then declare the entire election illegitimate (assuming Trump loses the election), which they say would create a constitutional crisis, shut down the government and create massive civil disobedience across the country. 

Basically, if you don’t buy into the fear, chaos and disaster that the Trump campaign has been spinning until now, they’re going to make sure the fear, chaos and disaster happens if Trump doesn’t win.

Trump is also now going after GOP leaders who haven’t fully supported him. Today he’s announced he is withholding support for Paul Ryan and John McCain, both of whom are facing GOP challengers for their Senate seats. Both Ryan and McCain condemned Trump’s attacks on the Khan family, but still support Trump as the nominee.

A couple of weeks ago, Mark Cuban declared that Trump was only in the race as a means to boost his name/brand value. The ideal situation for Trump, Cuban said, would be for him to win the popular vote in the election but lose the electoral. That way he could still spin things as he “won” the election – the people wanted him, but again, the system (i.e.. the electoral college) was “rigged” so he’d lose.

After the last few days of hearing about more and more Trump snafus, I don’t think he’ll wait that long.

Why? It’s the same idea. Trump will bow out by declaring that as much as the people want him in office, the system is “rigged” against them. He could have easily won the election if Obama and Hillary didn’t “rig” the system in their favor. He can boost his own brand, and pass the blame on to everyone else.

As a bonus, he’ll also be able to completely screw over the GOP who will have no way to name a new candidate and get a fresh campaign up and running before the election. Those “losers” haven’t really supported him anyway. The GOP could try to run with Pence, but I suspect it wouldn’t matter who they brought in – it’d be too little, too late.

The damage will have been done. Sure, the faithful will still vote for Trump, even if they have to write him in on the ballots. But, I also think a lot of GOP voters will consider voting Democrat if only to send a message. Instead of being angry at Trump, I suspect many will go after the existing GOP leadership for letting Trump game the system and effectively drive the GOP into the ground.

So, yeah, my money is on Trump walking away. He’ll say he coulda won, but he’ll blame it on the system, the GOP leadership, the liberal media, the Mexicans, the Muslims, Hillary Clinton, and of course, Obama.

When will he quit? I’d say October first. But, I think he may go as early as September, before he has to face Hillary in any debate. And, I think, he wants to maximize the negative impact on the GOP leadership. If he can bow out and directly or indirectly cause Paul Ryan and/or John McCain lose re-election, that would be icing in the cake.

He told everyone at the GOP convention that he’s the guy that knows the system better than anyone, and he alone can fix it.

He’s fixing it alright – He’s fixing the system in order to make Trump, not America, great again.