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Comic Book Movies

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

FILM RATING

I live by the sea near my original hometown Portsmouth – the UK’s only island city! (That makes it sound way better than it really is.) When I say I’m ‘near Portsmouth’, I’m actually over the water on the Isle of Wight. My parents moved here when I was three. They took me with them. I loved books and wanted to be a writer or an actress. When I was ten my dad told my mother to stop buying me books because he didn’t want me to get “big-headed”. I left school at 13 (I have something in common with Jennifer Lawrence!) and then shortly after I went back to The Mainland. Amazingly, I went to university, where I acted in plays. I wanted to be an actress but stage fright nixed that. I’m currently stranded back on the Isle of Wight. After university, I went to live with my dad again. I was his caretaker through his depression, cancer and pulmonary fibrosis. He died October 2018. Slow to the Party was born the following year. I’d blogged on and off for a bit, but it helped me after his death to dedicate myself to it, while I rebuild (hopefully) my new life. I’m always a little slow to the party. Stuff just gets in the way.

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Visitor Rating: 5 Stars

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Visitor Rating: 4 Stars

[…] Check out my full review out on BCactionMR! […]

Disney +

Nailing It — First Official Clip From Marvel Studios’ She Hulk | Disney +

Jennifer Walters navigates the complicated life of a single, 30-something attorney who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered Hulk.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Comedy

Release Date:

August 17, 2022

Director:

Jessica Gao

Cast:

Tatiana Maslany, Mark Ruffalo, Charlie Cox

Plot Summary:

Jennifer Walters navigates the complicated life of a single, 30-something attorney who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered Hulk.

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Marvel

Thor Love and Thunder | Official Trailer

Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Release Date:

July 8, 2022

Director:

Taika Waititi

Cast:

Christian Bale, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Natalie Portman

Plot Summary:

Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct.

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Marvel

Not Alone | Marvel Studios’ Ms. Marvel | Disney+

Kamala is a superhero fan with an imagination, particularly when it comes to Captain Marvel; Kamala feels like she doesn’t fit in at school and sometimes even at home, that is until she gets superpowers like the heroes she’s looked up to.

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Genre:

Action, Adventrue, Comedy

Release Date:

June 8, 2022

Director:

Bisha K. Ali

Cast:

Iman Vellani, Matt Lintz, Anjali Bhimani

Plot Summary:

Kamala is a superhero fan with an imagination, particularly when it comes to Captain Marvel; Kamala feels like she doesn’t fit in at school and sometimes even at home, that is until she gets superpowers like the heroes she’s looked up to.

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