Suicide Squad

Finally! After months of anticipation, Suicide Squad hits theaters this weekend. I am about to say something I never thought I’d say about a DC Entertainment movie, after the debacle that was Batman Vs Superman; I really liked it! All that things they got wrong in B vs S, they got right in this one. They didn’t shy away from the inherent ‘comic book’ nature of the material but they allowed it to find its own voice as well. It had a very ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ vibe and that’s a good thing. It had a quick pace, a great script that showcased all the characters which, considering the size of this ensemble, was not an easy thing to do. The story was a bit scattered, but I can forgive that because of all the backstory and character info they had to pack into the first act. A lot is going on and it’s hard to see how things line up, but they eventually do before the ‘run into danger, kill things’ formula begins to grow old. A particular shout out to Margot Robbie who stole the show as Harley Quinn. I have always wondered how this demented damsel would look in a movie and how she would be portrayed and I’m glad to say that she nailed it. She balances the sexy nature of the character with the strength she possesses. The costume is something you’d see in a strip club, but that’s kind of the thing with Harley. She makes you think she’s a ditz, but there’s a brain behind those sparkly eyes. The rest of the cast does a great job of bringing these heroes(?) to life. Will Smith brings a human side to Deadshot and you see he’s more than just a hitman in a costume.

A few low points, I’m afraid. Killer Croc was one of my least favorite characters. Physically he looked odd. His head was too large for his surprisingly small body. He didn’t look right. You know what I mean, but the one thing I did not like about this movie, and I am loathe to say it, was the Joker. I am a big fan of Mr. J, but Jared Leto’s incarnation of him left me baffled. There was so much wrong. He looked like just some guy who painted his face, dyed his hair and wore too much red lipstick. He was portrayed as some kind of mob boss, and while that has been an angle used for the character, the Joker I love does not play that. He’s a psychotic creature of chaos who doesn’t know what he’s going to do next anymore than his victims. He doesn’t have tattoos and he doesn’t dress like a ’70’s pimp. It felt like they just tossed Joker into the mix because they needed something to fortify Harley’s story, but it came off like such an after thought, it barely had any effect on the movie. If Jared Leto is going to return as the Joker in future films, let’s hope he takes a cue from the comic books. The Joker there carries a lethal tension and madness that this one was missing. If you don’t believe me, check out ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’. He may not be cool and hip with tattoos and all, but he’s a stone cold killer nonetheless.

In the final analysis, this movie was worth a night out to see. It found the energy that all the previous DC movies had lost and I hope they keep it up with upcoming films. It was good to see that the DC Movie Universe still had a few sparks of life left in it. Here’s hoping for Doom Patrol in 2018!

The audience: It was opening night and I had low expectations. The auditorium was packed and I was ready for the worst. Pleasantly , the audience was quiet for the most part. Only sparking noise when something moved them to laugh, which was okay. They just laughed and didn’t bother to analyze why it was they laughed. The man in front of me however tried my patience. He kept leaning forward in his seat and getting his head in my line of sight for the whole movie.  The funny thing was that there had been some drama over his seat and  he was a  big, black man. The guy to retake his seat was an even bigger man, but that wasn’t as annoying as the girl next to me. She spent the whole time curled up in her man’s arms and I could tell she didn’t really want to see the movie because  she was constantly checking her phone! Dude! Take her to a chick flick if that’s why you came to the movies! She clearly didn’t want to be there, so when she got bored she would check her phone. So rude.

New 52 Still Sucks And I Know Why

As many who have been reading my blogs, it is popularly known that I hate the New 52 over at DC Comics. Basically, they took 60 years of continuity and flushed it down the toilet in order to offer up a flashy redo in order to reach a younger demographic. Abandoning quality for flash. I’ve read some of the books since this launch and I’ve tried to get into it, but I just haven’t been able and I think I just realized today exactly why. It’s the lack of respect for the artists that came before.

In the comic book industry, there’s always been a sort of reverence for the past. Characters and other elements would carry the name of a beloved writer or artist as an homage. These would always be little nods that many fans would pick up on. It was usually done because the artists of the time owed their careers and inspiration to the artists of the past who blazed this path in the first place. Today I read a comment on Facebook about a current issue of one of the Batman titles and the story had to do with Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent’s past and in true New 52 fashion, they changed it from the original narrative. I haven’t read this book so I don’t know how it has been changed, and that’s not really the point. Someone left a comment that was critical of ‘The Long Halloween’. For those who don’t know, The Long Halloween was a special 12 part story written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Tim Sale. It set a new bench mark due to the scope and quality of the story. It is a classic, but because of the New 52, that story never happened. The new turks at DC took the helm and in their way said ‘thanks for the hard work people, but we’re dumping your story and doing things OUR way from now on’. It’s an insult to the great work that has come before to disregard those efforts so callously. I’m sure in their heads they still respect these artists and their contributions, but by erasing the continuity from the canvas like this, it’s a real back hand. I realize the New 52 doesn’t remove the story in real life. The story exists and is in print, but something feels wrong about the information it revealed being removed from the history of Batman and his characters. This is the kind of lack of respect that plagues the New 52 and that’s why I can’t get into it. Every page, while well drawn, drips with a subliminal disdain. Especially when you consider how many titles have been cancelled and how many characters have been dropped since the launch. It tells me this new universe wasn’t quite as well planned and thought out as they would have you believe, and isn’t  that their job? They need to figure out every detail. They need to know which characters are in the universe and which aren’t. They need to know the relationships that exist between these characters as well, and so far, I don’t see that they do. It’s like a bunch of kids came up with a cool idea and without really thinking it out, went ahead and did it and now we’re stuck with a mess of colossal proportions.

BTW, the latest horror is that the new Joker’s Daughter is getting her own monthly title. Really? I haven’t read any good press about this character and they’re putting her in a monthly? I hate this new incarnation of Joker’s Daughter. The last one had a little sex appeal at least. This one is horrible. She’s dressed like a lesbian and instead of her face being made up, she has the Joker’s rotting face strapped to her head like a mask. I’d say they’re getting their ideas by pulling suggestions out of a hat, but I think that’s giving them way too much credit. They really should have just used the New 52 as a branch universe like Marvel did with their Ultimate line. Do all the crazy crap you want and twist the DC universe however you like, but leave the main universe alone and let it flourish on its own. Let the readers decide which stories they will follow rather than cram this crap down our throats. God I hate the New 52. This is one case where DC could have taken a lesson from Marvel.