Posts Tagged ‘comic book movies’

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Suicide Squad (2016)

August 17, 2016

Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis
Director: David Ayer (Fury, End Of Watch)

Bottom Line: Suicide Squad is a pretty good example of how the Rotten Tomatoes rating system can be misleading: at 27%, you might expect this to be terrible… it’s not. What a 27% rating really means is that roughly 3 out of 4 critics thought Suicide Squad wasn’t a good movie and, well, it’s not. But it’s not really a bad one either. It’s just a simple, fun action/comedy that does a decent job of lightening up the overly grim DCU film universe.

Margot Robbie is perfect casting as The Joker’s sweetheart Harley Quinn. She not only looks the part, but she plays Harley with the requisite blend of crazy/sexy/funny. Speaking of The Joker, Jared Leto does a remarkable job as the notable Batman villain; a tough taska considering Heath Ledger won an Oscar for the iconic role less than a decade ago. Leto’s Joker looks and sounds like a comic book villain – he’s totally nuts and over-the-top both in appearance and in his actions. The surprise of the cast is Will Smith as Deadshot. When I heard that casting, I raised an eyebrow in doubt, but Smith is easily one of the film’s highlights. If there’s any emotional resonance in the film, it’s with Smith’s Deadshot.

What didn’t work so well was the main antagonist in the film. It’s not The Joker as some might expect, it’s The Enchantress – and she’s terribly lame. Much like Zack Snyder’s awful light show conclusion to Batman Vs Superman, Suicide Squad’s finale is equally as bad, with lots of in-your-face visual effects, laughable dialogue, and a cringe worthy performance from Cara Delevingne.

Ultimately, Suicide Squad has some working elements – particularly the cast and the tone – but a poor choice in main villain and another terrible DCU third act make the film pretty mediocre. Still, if you come in with tempered expectations – and there’s no reason you shouldn’t – Suicide Squad is a fun movie.

Replay Value: Leto and Robbie make the movie worth watching again, but this isn’t something I’ll snap buy on bluray.
Sequel Potential: Harley Quinn is getting her own movie, which is great news. Leto’s Joker will surely have more appearances in the future. There’s a better movie to be made with the squad and with over $200M in box office receipts, we will probably get a chance to see it.
Oscar Potential: None

Grade: 5/10 (Watchable)

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Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)

April 18, 2016

Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jessie Eisenberg, Amy Adams
Director: Zack Snyder (Man Of Steel, Watchmen, 300)

Bottom Line: What a mess. I knew this movie was in trouble from the first time I saw the Doomsday reveal in one of the trailers. I was on board with Ben Affleck as Batman and I loved the Jessie Eisenberg casting as Lex Luthor, but that first full trailer had me squirming uncomfortably – it looked like Zack Snyder was going to ruin everything by bloating the action with visual effects, explosions, lasers and fire. This was not a finale I was looking forward to.

And I wanted to so much. Even though the previews looked mediocre to me, as a humongous Batman fan, I was still dreaming that this movie could be everything it should be. It’s not. And it’s even worse than you think it’s going to be.

It’s been nearly a month since I saw it and, honestly, I can remember very little about it, but I can still distinctly taste the displeasure I experienced while watching it. There were numerous moments where I looked at my buddy like “is this really happening right now.” From a Batman origin vignette to a neverending – and painful (like phsyically) – conclusion, and everything in between, Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice was a wild disappointment.

It’s easier for me to pinpoint the things I did like than for me to list all the stuff I hated. Ben Affleck is a good Batman and I could see a great film being built around this version of The Dark Knight, but it’s not this one. Still, Affleck did a good job and I’m looking forward to seeing how much of a role he has in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was a pleasant surprise as I was worried about how she would fit into the story and whether or not she could even play the role. She’s great and this Wonder Woman is awesome. Again, looking forward to the Wonder Woman movie.

What I’m not looking forward to are the Justice League movies. This was such a botch job that if Zack Snyder has any involvement with those movies (he’s currently slated to direct them both) other than a relatively hands off producing role, I just can’t imagine they are going to be any good. The thought scares me. It is truly incredible that DC Comics can be this far behind Marvel in both quantity and quality. But I can promise one thing, if they continue letting Snyder be in the driver’s seat, they are in trouble.

I hated Doomsday. He looks terrible. He’s about as indistinguishable as a troll in the first Harry Potter movie. And how did he come to be? Don’t ask. Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor? Unbelievably awful. He spends the entire movie playing the role so frivolously that you never really take him seriously. He wants to be Heath Ledger’s Joker, but he comes across more like Jim Carrey’s Edward Nygma before he becomes The Riddler. There are a bunch of dream sequences that are supposed to foreshadow upcoming events (I think), but they are jarring and take you out of the movie – Bruce Wayne even has a dream within a dream sequence. What. I really like the look of Henry Cavill as Superman, but his role in this movie is really disappointing. The showdowns with Batman are kind of cool, but kind of cool doesn’t really cut it for Batman Vs. Superman.

Geez, I probably can’t tell people not to watch this movie. They are going to anyway. And if you’re going to watch it, you might as well watch it on the big screen… but it’s not good. I’ve heard a number of people say they enjoyed the movie and I can’t understand it at all. It was a huge let down and it was absurdly BORING. The last 45 minutes felt like it dragged forever. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. At best, this movie was totally forgettable… at worst, it was horrible.

Replay Value: My initial thought was I’d never watch it again and that’s hard to believe. This a freaking BATMAN movie. I’ll watch it again, but… only because I have to – it’s who I am.
Sequel Potential: All the JLA members are getting solo adventures and the whole crew will be teaming up for two Justice League movies.
Oscar Potential: None.

Grade: 3.5/10 (Just Skip It/Forgettable)

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Deadpool (2016)

February 15, 2016

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller
Director: Tim Miller

Bottom Line: Deadpool was everything I was hoping it would be: entertaining and hilarious. And it delivers both in heaps. The last couple years produced two of the funnier superhero movies with Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ant-Man, but Deadpool makes those films feel about as fun as Schindler’s List in comparison. It’s truly uproarious. With the exception of some slow moments as we delve into Mr. Pool’s origin story, you will never stop laughing.

Ryan Reynolds is at his best when he’s doing comedy and Deadpool is his first really funny role since playing Monty in Waiting all the way back in 2005. After seeing his involvement with the disastrous portrayal of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the terrible adaptation of Green Lantern, there was plenty of reason to be skeptical that another Ryan Reynolds superhero movie could be any good – and yet Reynolds felt like perfect casting, even before the wild success the film has enjoyed over its record-breaking first weekend. The rest of the cast is solid too. T.J. Miller of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” is great as Wade’s buddy and it’s interesting seeing “Gotham‘s” Morena Baccarin play a more sultry and humorous role.

But Ryan Reynolds is the star here and he delivers the performance of his career. Just imagine Van Wilder growing up to become a mangled superhero, but with way funnier (and even more obscene) dialogue. Yes, this is not a family film. There’s sex, nudity, graphic violence, and never-ending cursing and harsh sexual innuendo. The kids growing up watching The Avengers should maybe sit this one out… but honestly, I’d probably let my kid watch it. It’s possible to teach your kids what’s right and what’s wrong and how to speak and act – even while exposing them to some pretty raunchy stuff.

Deadpool is a winner – a must see comic book film and all around excellent at being the movie it wants to be: a not-too-serious R-rated superhero comedy. Deadpool is fantastic.

Replay Value: I will buy it when it comes out. I’m curious to see how it holds up considering most of its enjoyment is a result of the humor.
Sequel Potential: Already green lit and supposedly fast-tracked for 2017.
Oscar Potential: It’s so early it’s hard to imagine this being considered for awards. I’ll say it whiffs on Oscar noms, but if anything deserves extra credit here it’s definitely the script.

Grade: 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)