Tag Archives: DC

Suicide Squad (2016) Review

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Suicide Squad

Time: 123 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Will Smith as Floyd Lawton/Deadshot
Jared Leto as Joker
Margot Robbie as Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn
Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
Jai Courtney as Digger Harkness/Captain Boomerang
Jay Hernandez as Chato Santana/El Diablo
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Waylon Jones/Killer Croc
Cara Delevingne as Dr. June Moone/Enchantress
Karen Fukuhara as Tatsu Yamashiro/Katana
Adam Beach as Christopher Weiss/Slipknot
Director: David Ayer

Figuring they’re all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto) launches an evil agenda of his own

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My updated thoughts on Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad was one of my most anticipated movies of 2016. It has a unique premise and its part of the DCEU, which I’m loving so far. Having finally seen the movie, I have to say that I am quite satisfied with Suicide Squad. I will admit that it does have its noticeable flaws but I still do think it’s really good. It’s a lot of fun, the characters are handled well, it was a very enjoyable movie.

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The story is very straightforward and simple, aside from the bit about criminals working for the government, it’s a pretty standard save the world type story. There’s not a whole lot of surprises in the movie. For me though it was the characters and their interactions that drove the movie. The humour was incorporated well into the movie, it’s funny when it needs to be but doesn’t feel out of place, it still maintains a reasonably dark tone. And yes, before many people ask, this movie is ‘fun’. Some have criticised the first act, it’s basically all the backstories of the main characters. I personally really liked it, even though there are a couple of flashbacks during the rest of the film, by establishing most of the characters’ stories at the beginning of the film it got all of it done earlier, no need for constant flashbacks throughout the rest of the rest of the film. I liked the other 2 acts in general as well plotwise. There is a mid credit scene which ties into other movies in the DCEU so be sure to stick around to the end. I pretty much enjoyed this movie from start to finish, I was interested in what was going on but once again it was the characters that were the highlight of the film.

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Most of the main characters got at least one moment to shine, and there was something memorable about all of them. Margot Robbie IS Harley Quinn, she was absolutely fantastic in the role, she’s one of the most entertaining characters to watch in the film. Will Smith as Deadshot surprised me, I didn’t really know what to expect from him but he was one of the showstealers, he had charisma, he was nice to watch, he was believable in the role, he was great. Another surprising performance was Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag. That was a role that could’ve just been a generic soldier character but Kinnamon did a great job and elevated the role, he and Smith really played off each other and was one of the most entertaining dynamics of the film. Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang was great, he was really the comic relief of the movie and was absolutely hilarious. He finally found a role that worked out for him. Another stand out was Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, who was also a surprise for me, he is given quite a bit of depth and probably one of the most likable characters in the film. There is a scene involving his backstory which was done especially and incredibly well. The other squad members, Katana (Karen Fukuhara), and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Abaje) are also great in their roles. And the final member Slipknot…. well there’s not much to say about him, not spoiling anything.

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In regards to Jared Leto’s Joker, he’s not in the movie a lot, he’s on screen for like 7 minutes max. I liked what Jared Leto did with the character though, you can’t compare him to Ledger’s Joker because for one, it’s a completely different kind of Joker and two, there’s not enough screen time given to Leto to judge. I do think that we should’ve gotten more of him, and a lot of his footage shouldn’t have been cut (but I’ll address all that later). It was a decent taster of what’s to come for his character in future movies. His relationship with Harley does differ from the comics, here he actually somewhat cares for her, and that will divide some people, I’ll bring it up later on. But I’ll say that I have mixed feelings about how they decided to portray their relationship. The main villain, which I won’t reveal for those who don’t want to spoiled (not really a spoiler though) was kind of weak. The person who played the villain did put a lot of effort into it, and I think the effects for the character were great, and there’s something intriguing about the concepts of the character (especially at the beginning) but the writing wasn’t good for the character, especially the dialogue, which is pretty much clichéd taking over the world villain dialogue. It was a shame because if they gave more depth to the villain and have more development for the character in general, the villain would’ve worked better. However, I will say that despite this, Suicide Squad still has a great villain with Viola Davis’s Amanda Waller (yes she counts as a villain), she was absolutely fantastic. Intimidating and cold, she was also a showstealer (and perhaps gave the best performance in the whole movie). I can’t wait to see her interact with other characters in the DCEU. I think that’s the biggest takeaway I had with these characters, they played so well off each other and made huge impressions that I’m excited to see them in other films. While I’m at it I should mention that the cameos were handled quite well, it makes the DCEU feel even bigger.

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Direction wise I think the film is very good, David Ayer is a very talented director. The film definitely feels more real in its locations, costumes, etc, which makes it quite fresh and new for a comic book movie. The film does have quite a lot of Easter eggs that I won’t spoil in case they haven’t been spoiled for you yet. The action scenes are good and very enjoyable to watch, though the action isn’t really very memorable. Also while I liked the third act and the action during it, the fight with the main villain at the end was honestly underwhelming, wasted potential, like the treatment of the villain in the film. The only effects that were iffy for me was for one of the villains (not the main villain), it looked really out of place and fake, borderline Gods of Egypt CGI (I’ll review that movie soon by the way). The rest of the CGI was fine. While I was questioning the modern day soundtrack before seeing the movie, I thought it worked well. Composer Steven Price’s score also was good.

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Now onto the editing. The editing has been getting a lot of criticism. Personally like with Batman v Superman I was generally fine with it, I was able to watch and follow the movie. But for me the one problem I had with the editing was the fact that they cut a lot of footage, there’s a lot of footage that’s in the trailers but not in the movie. This happened quite a lot with The Joker. I felt like Warner Bros cut some things out because they were too scared to show them, for example they cut out a scene which showcased Joker and Harley’s abusive relationship, but I have a strong feeling that this worked against them. Even though Batman v Superman’s original cut had editing issues, I felt like Suicide Squad suffered from this problem more, at least in terms of the scenes they decided to cut. I don’t know who’s to blame for the cut footage but I do think it was a mistake for them to make this decision. Despite this being a problem for me, the film still works quite well with the scenes that are still included.

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With this film branching off into different DC characters never seen before on the big screen, I can say I’m loving the direction the DCEU is going in. Suicide Squad had a lot of great characters, it’s very fun and entertaining and its something we’ve never seen before. Even though I have listed a lot of problems with the movie (mostly due to the villain and editing and especially the cut scenes), it’s pros really do outweigh the cons. Amongst audiences this film is quite divisive, about as divisive as Batman v Superman. Don’t use that film as an indicator of whether you’ll like Suicide Squad or not, they are very different types of films. I’m not sure if you’ll actually like this movie. But I do think it’s worth seeing for yourself.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition (2016) Review

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Time: 182 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Jesse Eisenberg as Alexander “Lex” Luthor
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
Holly Hunter as Senator June Finch
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Director: Zack Snyder

It’s been nearly two years since Superman’s (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis. The loss of life and collateral damage left many feeling angry and helpless, including crime-fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Convinced that Superman is now a threat to humanity, Batman embarks on a personal vendetta to end his reign on Earth, while the conniving Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) launches his own crusade against the Man of Steel.

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Link to review of theatrical cut: https://thecinemacritic.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-2016-review/

Batman v Superman was an extremely divisive movie upon its release, particularly with the direction that they took the movie and its iconic characters. However from what I can tell, the 3-hour cut is generally more well received. Whether this version will make you like it more depends on your problems with the original version, if your issues were the pacing and editing you might like this more. If your issues were with Jesse Eisenberg’s performance or the fact that Batman kills, then no, chances are you’ll still have problems with this version. I loved the theatrical cut and that was already my favourite movie of the year. My only problem I had with the movie was that it felt like there was a lot of footage missing. With that issue fixed, there’s not many problems I have with the movie, maybe there might be the occasional plot decision that could’ve been done better but that’s really it.

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In this version we get more expansion of the stories for Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor. One of the criticisms of Batman v Superman was that for many, Clark’s motives weren’t clear. I personally understood what Snyder was going for but the extended version does make it a lot clearer, especially as it shows more scenes of him like when he goes to Gotham. In fact it shows more of his emotions, there is a certain scene during the senate scene with Superman during the halfway point that’s in the extended version, and I have no idea why it was cut. Lois gets to do some investigation of her own. Lex didn’t get a whole lot of new scenes but it does show how much of a part he played in making Batman and Superman battle each other. Also other characters like the African woman at the Senate at the beginning of the film and Wallace Keefe are more defined, with their motivations made even clearer. This film also flat out explains things that were left ambiguous in the original cut, for example in the middle of the movie, an ‘incident’ occurs involving Superman and there is an explanation of why things went how they did. If you watched the theatrical cut before seeing this version, you’ll notice that there are random things that weren’t included, for example there’s a bit of 2 seconds of Batman punching Superman, which was cut from the previous version. It was like Warner Bros was trying to cut down this film as much as possible.

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One legitimate criticism of the theatrical cut was the editing. While it didn’t bother me, I definitely noticed that the scenes jumped locations quickly, and with not a great transition, especially in the first act. The Ultimate Edition gives time for the scenes to breathe, the Lois desert scene was an example, it gave a lot more time for us to get into the scene. Not only that, this version rearranges scenes and connects many of them. For example, this connects Lex’s two introductory scenes, the first when he’s speaking to the senators and the second when he gains access to the Kryptonian Ship and Zod’s body. In the theatrical cut for no reason at all, they put a scene in between. The movie overall seemed to flow a lot smoother, for me at least.

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This film was always going to be divisive, no matter what version was released. I have no idea how differently you’ll see this movie to the first version, some people like this version more, others think the theatrical version is better. But either case I do think it’s at least worth checking out, whether you love or hate this movie. I will openly say that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition might actually be my favourite comic book movie of all time. And I don’t say these kinds of statements easily.

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) Review

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The Killing Joke

Time: 76 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence and Sexual References
Cast:
Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Mark Hamill as Joker
Tara Strong as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl
Ray Wise as Commissioner James Gordon
Director: Sam Liu

Batman (Kevin Conroy) must save Commissioner Gordon (Ray Wise) from the Joker’s (Mark Hamill) twisted quest to drive him insane.

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I like The Killing Joke graphic novel. I’m not crazy over the story like so many people are, but I do understand why it was so famous. I was actually quite interested to see the adaptation of this story, especially as they got Batman and Joker voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to do voicework for the film. Having seen the movie, I have to say that I actually liked the film quite a bit. Aside from the first 30 minutes which do have some problems (and really the majority of the problems of the film), I think that this film adapted The Killing Joke quite well. Looking at the reception though, this film seemed to have divided people, shame really, as I think this is a very solid movie. I do think that it is worth checking out though.

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By far the biggest flaw of this movie is the first 30 minutes, and I think that’s something that most people will agree on. It’s a prologue largely focussing on Barbara Gordon and her as Batgirl. It dragged quite a bit, felt quite weak, didn’t connect in any way to the Killing Joke segment and felt quite out of place, especially when you’re going into an adaptation of the Killing Joke. I can understand why she would have this focused on her, considering that a criticism of the graphic novel was that Barbara wasn’t given great treatment, and they wanted to give her more development and characterisation. The thing is if you cut that out of the movie, you’d just get the Killing Joke story and you wouldn’t notice that anything had been taken out. And yes, for some who know, there’s a controversial scene between Batgirl and Batman during these 30 minutes. All I’ll say is, it felt really out of place and didn’t work at all, and felt forced in and awkward. I think the 30 minutes was also added in just to make the movie longer, without it the movie is about 46 minutes long but I think that’s preferable to having a forced in prologue. I really liked the rest of the film. It’s very similar to the graphic novel, the story and dialogue are all there and if you liked the graphic novel, you will most likely love this section. And in that it’s worth noting that if you don’t like certain things in the graphic novel (like Joker having a tragic backstory, what happened to Barbara during it) you will feel the same way about that in the movie. There is an end credit scene, while not bad, it felt unnecessary.

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The voicework by Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong and others are great, and do suit the characters (unsurprisingly since they have been voicing the Batman characters for a long time). I personally like the animation of the movie, a lot of people have complained that it looked quite cartoonish, but I think it’s trying to imitate the comic books. Then again this is the first animated Comic Book Movie/Cartoon/TV show I’ve seen, so I can’t measure the Killing Joke up against any other animations.

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This film seemed to have divided some people. If you didn’t like the Killing Joke story, it’s highly likely that you won’t like this movie. It doesn’t go any more or less extreme than what was done in the graphic Novel. However I think it’s at least worth a look for those interested. It’s not perfect, once again the first 30 minutes really doesn’t work the best in the story (and had the majority of the flaws of the movie), but I still think it’s a solid DC animated movie with the voice talent and the telling of the Killing Joke.