Tag Archives: DC Comics

Thoughts on Suicide Squad (2016)

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It finally happened: I actually caved and watched Suicide Squad, and boy oh boy do I have some thoughts on the subject.

 

It happened towards the end of my little vacation trip; there was a screening of Suicide Squad that evening and I thought to myself “Well I don’t have anything better to do, why not?” The next thing I know, I’m over an hour in to the story and I’m HOOKED!

Yes, despite the flaws (and they were many), I found myself enjoying the story I was being fed, so I’ll start off by listing the positives:

  • Margot Robbie absolutely KILLED it as Harley Quinn. I could watch her all day long, and I’m eagerly looking forward to the full-length Harley Quinn film.
  • Will Smith was fantastic as Deadshot, I loved the prologue part where he’s demanding his money over the phone before he’ll do the hit. And based entirely on the scene with Deadshot and his daughter (when Batman arrests him), I want/need to see a full-length Deadshot film, and it must have Will Smith in it.
  • The visuals are out of this world! This is important for me, as I’m a visual-based person.
  • I like the look of Enchantress, both her initial look and her secondary look when her brother gives her some of his power so she’s not dependent on her heart.
  • And then there’s the Joker…I admit, I DID enjoy Jared Leto’s performance, what little of it we got to see anyway. I can’t pass a complete judgement on whether it was good or bad because he’s barely there as a character, but it definitely has the potential to be amazing (and definitely a unique spin on the legendary villain).

 

Those are the big good points for me, now for the not so good.

  • Here’s the thing with Suicide Squad: if you don’t THINK about what you’re seeing, it’s a great story. The problem comes when you think about the sequence of events, where these people come from, etc. and then issues start coming out of the woodwork. Everyone who says they should’ve done some standalone films before launching Suicide Squad are absolutely right. In fact, those “prologue” segments for most of the main characters look like they came from 5-6 separate films, and I desperately want to see more, because aside from the bigger characters like Deadshot, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc, I don’t really know who Captain Boomerang or Diablo are.

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  • And then there’s the fact that not all of the characters get a backstory. Slipknot is literally introduced out of nowhere, and we don’t even get to know him before he (spoiler alert) dies in a rather gruesome fashion. And THEN there’s Katana, who is also brought in with ZERO explanation, which stinks because she looks really awesome!!
  • And speaking of explanations, I feel like they could’ve made a full-length Enchantress movie explaining how she and her brother came to our dimension, ruled the humans, were betrayed, etc. and such a film would’ve been really helpful in establishing her motives in this film. I mean we do get plenty of hints that the pair were worshipped as gods, that they’re very ancient, but in the end they were betrayed and trapped away, and now they want vengeance.

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  • It really was a mistake to put the Joker in this film and NOT have him as the main villain. I know that was the biggest reason (among many others) that this film failed to impress. Because, let’s face it, the previews essentially promised a film where the main villain was the Joker!! And who doesn’t want to see that? Then we actually GET to the film and, even in the extended cut, the Joker has maybe ten minutes of screen time. Talk about a bait and switch!! It should’ve either been Joker as the main villain, or Enchantress as the main villain, but using both was a mistake (though I would’ve been okay if they had done the following: have Harley receive messages from the Joker periodically, but don’t actually show him. THEN, at the very end of the film, have the “Joker breaks Harley out of prison” scene play as normal and show the Joker as a teaser/hook for the inevitable sequel. You know, something to whet the appetite of the audience.

Suicide Squad is definitely not the worst film I’ve ever seen, but it does not meet its full potential either. That being said, it does solidly rank as a good popcorn film with me (that’s why I ran out and bought a DVD copy as soon as I got home from my trip). Hopefully Jared Leto gets to reprise his Joker role in the future so I can form a better opinion of his performance.

See also:

Film/TV Reviews

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Cancelled Too Soon #1: Constantine (2014-2015)

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Constantine (2014) opening credits

Based on DC’s super-popular Hellblazer comics, the show follows John Constantine (Matt Ryan), his best friend Chaz and a mysterious woman with psychic powers named Zed, as they work to stop the “Rising Darkness” from destroying the world. Constantine has some supernatural help in the form of an angel named Manny (more on him later), and a sometimes ally/sometimes nemesis in the form of Papa Midnite, a Voodoo witch doctor who communes with the Hell-bound spirit of his dead sister for information. Along the way, Constantine must also deal with the consequences of some reckless behavior from years before, behavior that ultimately caused a young girl’s soul to be dragged to Hell (something Constantine has never forgiven himself for).

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I’d never read Hellblazer before watching this show, and I was initially going to ignore it, but I decided to try it out. Almost instantly, I was hooked! I discovered later (after speed-reading a few digital comics) that Matt Ryan absolutely NAILED Constantine’s character. He’s the type of actor you dream about; the kind who can embody a role so completely you have no trouble believing he IS that person.

From the beginning though, there were hints that the show was going to be in trouble. First of all, look up at the poster, see what day and time it was set to premiere? Yeah, Fridays at 10pm isn’t exactly the best slot to give a new TV show (they don’t call Friday nights the “kill slot” for nothing). Second, because the pilot wasn’t exactly well-received, NBC refused to give the show a full season of 26 episodes, instead leaving them with only 13 (that’s NEVER a good sign for the future of any show). And third (as I remember it), they kept screwing around with the show’s schedule, one week the new episodes would air, then it would skip a week, and so on. And there would be almost no notice given of these changes. It’s almost like they wanted this show to fail….

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Despite these issues, the show quickly gathered a cult following, as the story grew better with every episode. It became clear that SOMEONE had to be manipulating the Rising Darkness, and Constantine needed to figure out who it was so he could stop it. And then the last episode came…remember I mentioned Manny the angel? From day one he’d represented himself as one of the “good” angels, one who served in Heaven (and apparently also served as an Angel of Death, as he was present when one of Constantine’s friends was dying and also personally escorted a soul to the afterlife in a really cool sequence) and (at times begrudgingly) helped Constantine solve a particular mystery. Well, in the last episode, at the very end, Manny reveals to another character that HE has been manipulating the Rising Darkness this entire time, and Constantine doesn’t know it. It was a tormenting cliffhanger because there was no guarantee the show was going to continue, and ultimately, it didn’t. Despite a very vocal petition from the fans and pleas for ANY other network to pick up the show, Constantine was cancelled and remained so, meaning we would never find out Manny’s motives or whether or not Constantine was ultimately successful in stopping him.

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The cancellation of Constantine led to me abandoning NBC for good (I’d already been burned once with Dracula); no matter how good the show sounds, if it’s on NBC, I won’t tune in. If there’s one thing I can’t do, it’s emotionally invest in a show only to have it ripped away after only one season or less.

If you’d like to see the show, I have great news: the Warner Archive is (finally!!!) producing Constantine: The Complete Series as an On-Demand Title, meaning you order it and they’ll make one and send it to you, you can find it on wbshop.com, I know I’m going to get a copy as soon as possible. And as far as I know, the CW is still streaming the full series on their online streaming app. Be warned though, once you start, you will get hooked!

Thankfully, this is not the last we will see of Matt Ryan as John Constantine: he already did a guest spot in season 4 of Arrow and he will be reprising the character in the upcoming animated film Justice League Dark (adapting another comic series that features Constantine).

Did you watch Constantine while it was on the air? If you did, did you like it? Wish there was more of it? Let me know in the comments below, and have a great day!

See also:

Cancelled Too Soon #3: Dracula (2013-2014)

Cancelled Too Soon #11: Kindred: The Embraced (1996)

Cancelled Too Soon #12: The Magnificent Seven (1998-2000)

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Danny Elfman talks Batman (1989)

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Danny Elfman talks Batman (1989)

With the exception of Superman: The Movie, I’m hard pressed to think of a superhero film more iconic than Tim Burton’s Batman (no offense to fans of the Christopher Nolan trilogy). Based in part on The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns comics, Batman helped to establish the modern superhero film genre and also helped ignite the DC Animated Universe (launched with the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series). The Caped Crusader was portrayed by Michael Keaton, and his eternal nemesis the Joker was brought to memorable life by Jack Nicholson.

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Several factors contributed to make this film so iconic: one is the amazing sets and backgrounds that make up Gotham City. The second is Danny Elfman’s awe-inspiring score for this film. Elfman was brought in by Burton after the two had previously collaborated for Beetlejuice (1988), this despite the fact that Elfman knew very little about the current state of Batman in comics (he was given a copy of The Dark Knight Returns for reference).

Having grown up watching re-runs of “campy Batman” starring Adam West and Burt Ward on television, I initially didn’t like this “dark” Batman at all, but as I grew older and learned about the comics history of the character, I grew to appreciate what Tim Burton had done (and there’s no denying that Jack Nicholson’s performance as The Joker is one for the ages).

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I was pleased to find this interview and “making of” for the Batman score and I hope you enjoy listening to it too (Elfman shares a funny story about how he came up with the iconic main theme for the film). Let me know your thoughts on Batman in the comments below!

See also:

Danny Elfman talks Batman Returns (1992)

Danny Elfman “Planet of the Apes” scoring session (2001)

Danny Elfman talks Spider-Man (2002)

Danny Elfman talks Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Danny Elfman talks Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Danny Elfman talks Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Danny Elfman talks Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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*poster image is the property of Warner Bros. Pictures