Suicide Squad Review

Critics hate it, fans love it, apparently. At the time of writing, Rotten Tomatoes scores it thus:

Suicide Squad Rotten Tomatoes

For what it’s worth, those scores aren’t much different from the much maligned Batman v Superman which are currently 27% and 65% respectively.

I’m going to have to come down somewhere in the middle – there’s stuff to enjoy in the film but there’s a lot of dross to get through as well.

First the good stuff:

Deadshot Harley Quinn

Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn are both absolutely spot on and carry the majority of this film. Smith is back at his wise-cracking but serious best and absolutely nails the character of Deadshot. He shares most of the limelight with Robbie’s Harley who has received much of the pre-release hype and more than lives up to it. They’re both damaged in different ways and of all the Squad members, they’re the ones who most believably bond, Deadshot’s daughter issues making him look after the sometimes innocent, mostly crazy Harley.

The other character that shines is Viola Davis’s Amanda Waller who is scarier than a dozen Killer Crocs. She’s cold and ruthless (perhaps too ruthless in one scene) but always in control of the Squad and isn’t rattled by any of them. These three are definitely the high points of the film – it’s just a shame there are so many other things happening around them that don’t allow them to be even better.

As to the bad – well, to be honest, it’s not terrible . . . it’s just disappointing.

Once again a DC film takes places almost entirely at night in the rain; you want to make a brighter film, DC? Try doing it in daylight for a change.

EnchantressThe plot’s barely there: after twenty minutes or so of setting up most of the characters, the Enchantress (technically a Squad member) manages to escape, rescue and resurrect her brother and then sets about wiping out humanity by building a machine using magic. Because, you know, that’s what she does, apparently.

And Enchantress’s method of magical machine building seems to be comprised of wearing not very much and writhing about with her hands in the air.

The Squad are assembled and head off to deal with a “terrorist threat” and rescue someone very important. Led by Rick Flag and accompanied by a band of nameless and expendable special forces types, they quickly realise the threat is actually the Enchantress and her brother and end up coming together in order to combat her.

And that’s pretty much it. Sure, there’s a sub-plot featuring Jared Leto’s much talked about Joker (short version: he’s okay, but he’s no Heath Ledger – and, man, he’s going to hear that a lot so full marks for having the balls to take on the role) and his attempt to rescue Harley, but really the film spends a good 80% of its time battling the bad girl. There’s no real lead up, there’s no believable bonding among the Squad (with the exception of Deadshot and Harley) and apart from the leads, none of the other members really have a stand-out moment.

El Diablo comes closest near the end but even his moment (and I’m trying to avoid spoilers) comes out of nowhere and is gone in an instant; Captain Boomerang does next to nothing and has a fetish for pink unicorns that is neither explained nor mentioned; Katana has a handful of lines of dialogues, slices up some generic bad guys and does little else; and Killer Croc merely growls a lot.

Because most of the Squad doesn’t bond with each other, the audience doesn’t have the opportunity to bond with them either so when one or more of them don’t make it (hey, it’s called Suicide Squad – not everyone pulls through) there’s no real emotional cost.

Again, it’s not a terrible film and I would definitely watch this again rather than B v S, but if this was the one that Warner Bros/DC were banking on as being a credible counter to Marvel’s run away success, they’re going to be disappointed. Again.

So, no pressure, Wonder Woman.

Captain America: Civil War Review

At the time of writing, Captain America: Civil War hasn’t been released in North America but here in the UK, it’s been out for a few days. Myself and Mrs Earth-Prime went to see it on the weekend so here’s my spoiler-filled review – US readers be warned, I will be divulging plot points so, if you don’t want to read them, don’t scroll beyond the big picture below.

Captain America Civil War

Continue reading “Captain America: Civil War Review”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Review

Mrs Earth-Prime and I went to the five past midnight showing of the new Star Wars film last night and, after getting home at 3am, crashing out catching up on some sleep, here’s my review.

Be warned – this will contain spoilers so here’s a large picture you can scroll beyond if you want to read them.

Jaxxon

Continue reading “Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Review”

Supergirl Episode 2 – Stronger Together

I didn’t expect to be reviewing each episode as it came out (and I make no promises that I will) but I guess it’s interesting, for me at least, to see how this show grows.

Stronger Together wasn’t bad on the whole – the cast all did what they needed to as well as they could – and the storyline of Kara beginning to get to grips with her powers and responsibilities after a couple of big missteps worked. I hope the whole “start small and build up” continues for a while rather than the show saying “Well, we showed her stopping a store robbery so we can tick that off the list” and jumping straight ahead into her preventing global meltdown or something. Relationships are building with Hank Henshaw appearing to slowly accept Supergirl, although the potential love triangle/jealousy thing between Kara, Jimmy (sorry, James) and the other guy she works with seems a little forced. I say “the other guy” because until I looked him up on imdb, I wasn’t even sure of his name as he’s had that little to do so far; discovering his name – Winn Schott – and recognising that as an alias for the Toyman in the comics makes me wonder if something more is going to be done with him.

Supergirl Episode 2

Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant delivers a speech about how she, as a woman, had to work a damn sight harder to get where she is today and I’ve no doubt some areas of the internet will grumble about that, proclaiming the show as pushing some liberal/feminist agenda. Get over yourselves – everything Cat said is true and if something like this goes even a tiny way to improving or encouraging equality for women, I’m all for it.

A couple of things did irk me – the flashback to young Kara on Krypton basically saying “Oh, mother, I want to grow up to be just like you” just came across as too sickly sweet: do any but the most annoying and precocious of children speak like that?

The fight between Kara and Alura featured them both flying/hovering within a warehouse – the show’s had a good use of special effects so far, but two actors/stunt doubles fighting on wires is always going to look just like that and, for a moment, made the show look a little cheaper.

Still, by and large this is enjoyable so far and is still finding its feet so I’m definitely sticking around for a while.


And if you’re wondering about Supergirl, you could do worse than check out the wonderful blog by Ty Templeton where he tells you

Supergirl in Four Panels

Check it out here.

 

The Paybacks #1

Paybacks 01Picked up a copy of The Paybacks #1 from Dark Horse last week on the strength of the ad and the write up in Previews a couple of months ago.

And I’m glad I did, too!

The basic premise is that being a superhero is expensive and, to pay for all the “wonderful toys” costs money. As we all know, cash is hard to come by these days so heroes will take out loans in order to maintain their lifestyle / obsessive crime-fighting habit. Trouble is, being on the side of the angels isn’t exactly renowned for monetary rewards – these people do it for the warm glow it gives them, right? But if there’s no money coming in, then the loans don’t get repaid which is where The Paybacks come in – “the world’s first and best super-repo team” as the inside cover has it.

The team is split into two with the first team’s target being the London based Archibald Primrose III, aka Night Knight who has a stately manor (complete with butler) and a cave beneath it stuffed full of gadgets – yeah, they went there. Elsewhere, the remaining members are trying to track down Battery, a key part of the Command, the world’s greatest superhero team.

Night Knight gets alerted to the presence of the team by his butler while he’s out apparently saving the Queen from the mirror-based villain Reflectoid:

Paybacks - Night Knight

While apprehending the Night Knight (eventually) works out just fine, the mission to get to Battery is less successful with most of the second team’s members being killed off screen before we’ve even met them. Which is a shame as with names like Destroyladon and Sister Mary Frankenstein, I want to know more.

The tone of this issue is light with jokes aplenty, both dialogue and visually and, as it’s mostly set up and introduction the characters are mostly broad brush strokes, the mysterious Driver being the one who gets most to do as he links both teams’ stories, but there’s plenty here to entice me to a second and further issues.

All in all, a splendid first issue from writers Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal with art by Geoff Shaw, coloured by Lauren Affe.