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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

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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Disney +

Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye | Official Trailer – Disney +

Series based on the Marvel Comics superhero Hawkeye, centering on the adventures of Young Avenger, Kate M. Bishop, who took on the role after the original Avenger, Clint Barton.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Crime

Release Date:

November 24, 2021

Director:

Disney +

Cast:

Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Florence Pugh,

Plot Summary:

Series based on the Marvel Comics superhero Hawkeye, centering on the adventures of Young Avenger, Kate M. Bishop, who took on the role after the original Avenger, Clint Barton.

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Disney +

Marvel One-Shot: “All Hail the King” Review

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Before you see Shang-Chi, you may want to watch or rewatch these Marvel projects. 

For the most part in this exciting chapter in the next phase of the MCU, Shang-Chi tells it’s own standalone origin story. However, throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s history there are pieces you could revisit which would make your viewing experience probably much better and catch you up too speed as Marvel and Disney + are giving you a refresher on all things Ten Rings. 



The terrorist organisation has been part of the MCU since the very beginning, when Tony Stark got kidnapped by them in Afghanistan in 2008’s Iron Man. The Ten Rings then resurfaced in 2013’s Iron Man 3 , when their mysterious and shadowy leader The Mandarin( Sir Ben Kingsley) was revealed to be a cover for Aldrich Killian played by Guy Pearce. The Mandarin was actually a washed up actor by the name of Trevor Slattery, who was bribed with drugs and money to play the part.

Newley added conveniently onto Disney + is  2014’s Marvel’s One Shot titled All Hail the King, which was originally released on the Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray. It follows Trevor who is now in prison for posing as The Mandarin and is dealing with prisoners who worship him and hate him, especially the Ten Rings who have hunted him down and want Slattery out of prison because the actual Mandrin wants to meet him and reclaim his name back, I certainly hope we get this meeting in Shang-Chi. 

This One-Shot is a hilarious obscene epilogue to Iron Man 3 where Trevor has been enjoying the notoriety and is now being interviewed by a documentary filmmaker named Jackson Norris. He’s discussing with Trevor the possibilities of The Ten Rings being angry with him for impersonating their leader. This is new to him and of course paranoia ensues.

Photo: Marvel Studios

Ben Kingsley has some quick witted dialogue from writer/director Drew Pearce. Slattery is both delusional and oblivious which definitely brought some entertaining results. It works so well with a dark comedic tone whilst having a 1970’s aesthetic feel attached to it. It serves to tie up lose ends from the Iron Man trilogy and seemingly sets up more things to come aka Shang-Chi. 



Scoot McNairy was also fun to watch as he grows in frustration to Trevor’s utter ignorance to all his surroundings. There’s also some twists and a really fun cameo in the mid-credits sequence, a character whom we haven’t seen in quite a while. 

Photo: Marvel Studios

Overall this 14 minute short film which was initially released as a bonus on the Blu-ray for Thor: The Dark World has now major ramifications and significance within the Marvel Cinematic Universe now that the Ten Rings organisation have taking centre stage. 

All Hail the King is now streaming on Disney+. And finally on September 1st Marvel Studios Legends will release a new recap episode focusing on The Ten Rings. 

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Action

Spider-Man: No Way Home | Official Teaser Trailer

Spider-Man: No Way Home is an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Spider-Man, co-produced by Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing.



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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Sci-fi

Release Date:

December 17, 2021

Director:

Jon Watts

Cast:

Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jamie Foxx, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alfred Molina, Jacob Batalon, J.K. Simmons

Plot Summary:

Spider-Man: No Way Home is an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Spider-Man, co-produced by Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing.

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