Avengers: Infinity War is the 19th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is the beginning of the end of the era informally known as the “Infinity Saga”. For those who don’t know by now, the past 10 years and 18 movies have all been pointing towards this. Each one has been building to the plot for this particular film and the untitled Avengers follow up film to be released in May 2019. As I’m writing this review, the movie has already broken all records for “biggest opening weekend”, surpassing the previous record-holder, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It is safe to say that this is one of those movies that are more of a cinematic event and cultural phenomenon than a simple blockbuster. Its obvious that so many people wanted to see every MCU hero all in one place, but it was also common to speculate if such a balancing act could even be done properly. So how does it stack up as a movie?
Much like the MCU, let’s start with the smaller things and build up. First off, writers Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (from Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War) have delivered once again. This script is compact, and almost every line accomplishes something to drive forward either the plot or a character’s motivation/feelings. With a movie so huge in runtime it would’ve been easy to feel like some time would be wasted, but I didn’t feel like any part was a drag. The movie follows different groups of characters on different locations, and will then bring them together or separate them with a sense of fluidity. The structure of the film is of course supplemented by the beautiful visual effects with one or two shots that were absolutely breathtaking. However, the structure was also tied together by very specific theming that was prominent throughout the film, although being more specific about this would be a spoiler so I’ll move on.
Perhaps some of the best parts of this movie are directing choices by the Russo Brothers (also from Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War). As you may have read in some of my pieces before, I’m very big on directors and executives actually handling these famous and iconic characters with a sense of care. I was pleased to see that the directors let the moments between these characters sit and sink in. What makes comic books so fun is that you have an assortment of characters, so many that are larger than life, all interacting with each other. It was understood by the Russo brothers that these interactions and moments were important to making this film happen.
Aside from good moments with our heroes, a project of this size also needed the villain to have a sense of grandeur and to be threatening enough, and I’m very happy to say that the Mad Titan Thanos fully delivered on this expectation. This version of Thanos is much more understandable and grounded than his comic counterpart, making him more concerned with real issues than with his love for Mistress Death (seriously, look it up). While being clearly insane and menacing, an audience can still feel sympathy for him during certain scenes where his arc is depicted. As mentioned up above, the Russo brothers take their time to make sure viewers understand what Thanos actually is.
My complaints with this one are pretty minimal, and they’re mostly understandable with how insanely difficult this whole thing was. There were some details or one-liners that were included that I felt were unnecessary, mostly because I wanted those precious minutes to go towards some other aspects that didn’t get as much attention. I’m keeping this review short because there really isn’t a lot I can say without giving away important things about the movie.
All I really can say is that this movie is equally a cinematic spectacle and a real story about something. It’s well balanced and accomplishes everything it sets out to do by keeping things simple and elegant at the same time. Anyone who’s seen even a few of the MCU movies will find something to appreciate here, and it overwhelms you in a way that only a few films can.
Knowing that I’ve fully ousted myself as an MCU fanboy, and knowing that my review can be taken from a very particular point of view, I’m still going to give Avengers: Infinity War a 9.5/10
[THERE WILL BE NO SPOILERS OR MAJOR PLOT DETAILS IN THIS REVIEW, ONLY WHAT WAS REVEALED IN TRAILERS/INTERVIEWS]
Well it looks like my favorite director and favorite actor are 3 for 3 on their team-ups. I don’t even know where to begin, that’s how happy I am. Here goes my attempt…
“Black Panther” is the 18th installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it picks up where “Captain America: Civil War” left off and brings the focus to the Prince T’Challa having to formally take up the mantle of Black Panther and King of Wakanda. In this movie, we get familiarized with Wakandan culture, T’Challa’s family and best friends, and the conflict that revolves around Wakanda itself. We really do get to focus on this country and these characters because there’s barely any MCU-extras in this. In fact you really don’t even need to be caught up to watch this one on its own. What seemed like a tall order ends up being an original movie with many conflicted characters that you actually care about, an absolutely phenomenal villain (oh we’ll get there, trust me), and it manages to bring social commentary to the front without being forceful or preachy. It all just works so well.
However, most movies aren’t perfect (even the ones like this that I personally will take with me to my grave), and I specifically made sure to see this one twice to really be fair to it and anyone reading. I couldn’t catch anything glaringly wrong without nitpicking, but there’s a few technical issues that mess with the flow a little. This movie kind of does the “Wonder Woman” thing where that first shot of Themyscira (in this case, Wakanda) looks absolutely gorgeous…but from there on out the CGI takes a dive and its not “unwatchable” but its frustrating because we’ve seen “Doctor Strange” and how amazing the effects were there, so I felt a little disappointed in that end. As many of you may have heard, there’s a lack of action and big fights in this one. From where I stand, the first fight between T’Challa and M’Baku is a bare-knuckle fight and its AMAZING because they actually go for an MMA-style bout with punches and grappling rather than the unrealistic “Black Widow” scissor kicking and a million cuts just to get one sequence right. However, admittedly the final fights are kind of bland. Lastly, I feel like the pacing could turn some people off, because the climax happens intensely and quickly after a lot of exposition and fleshing-out. I didn’t mind it because I felt like I knew the situation well enough before the thing happens, but I think an extra 10 minutes would’ve made a huge difference (would put the runtime right at the 2.5 hour mark, which I don’t mind because the time used is well spent).
So that was me nitpicking…and all that aside this is still the best MCU movie and in the top 5 Superhero movies for me. Everything the movie does well is done so ridiculously well that you feel satisfied and familiar with Wakanda because the world and the characters are built properly so that audiences can understand them. The movie just exudes passion and power and it really captivates you. Lets get into specifics:
Anyone can look at this cast and already be amazed, but wow they ALL delivered. I can’t honestly think of a single main character or performance I disliked because all of the characters and their different motives got a chance to shine and they all got to be heard. Okoye, Nakia, M’Baku were all fantastic, Shuri (played by Letitia Wright) absolutely stole the show. She does such an amazing job of juxtaposing being T’Challa’s younger sister with being one of the brightest minds in the world, rivaling guys like Tony Stark and Dr. Strange. The best part is that all of these characters develop and conflict with each other, because of the way Coogler establishes them early on, everything that happens after just makes sense and you end up picking sides but also understanding where everyone is coming from.
The film is so ridiculously layered and there’s so much to unpack, but I wanted to highlight a few things in particular. Yes, this is a very culturally relevant and important, but like I may have mentioned before it doesn’t preach to you. It takes you on this journey and all of sudden you’re hit with things that all end up making sense and gives the film an organic feel. On that note, the “Marvel humor” that so many people complain about also isn’t there. Any jokes made are very dry and unforced to go along with these characters, think of T’challa’s “I don’t care” line in Civil War when he wasn’t really trying to be funny, but it just was. Coogler also did his thing with subtleties and having a reason for all the small details, which just made me so happy especially when it was supplemented by Ludwig Gorranson’s score and Kendrick Lamar’s original songs. Even after all of this…I still haven’t gotten to the best part.
Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger is, without a doubt, my favorite part of this movie. It is always tough to capture a character who is fueled by anger because often times it can look/feel silly…but Killmonger brought a very real and relatable feeling to the table and was so fantastic on every level. This is a villain that makes the heroes look within themselves, and at his core philosophy…he isn’t wrong. He takes it too far, sure, but he just wants to help innocent people, and he’s so mad that the people with the resources to help aren’t doing anything. You’re going to have to watch the movie to understand, but the issues that Killmonger brings up affect Wakanda, the characters, and the Marvel universe going forward.
“Black Panther” is an excellent addition to cinematic history, and I’m giving it a 9.5/10; Wakanda Forever.
Back when Y2K was the most ridiculous thing we had ever heard of and back when I was in the first grade (I know…), Australian actor Hugh Jackman first appeared on the big screen as Wolverine, one of the most iconic comic book characters/Poster-Hero of the X-men. For 17 years, Jackman appeared as Wolverine in various X-men movies and was always met with positive reception.
It has been a crazy ride seeing so many superheroes come and go on the silver screen, but Jackman has been a constant for me through my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. I’m a HUGE fan of Jackman’s Wolverine, and when I heard this was his last time, all I wanted was for him to have his swan song and be remembered for how amazing he is.
To be perfectly honest…this is a tough one. I was silent for a few minutes after the movie was over, I distracted myself, slept on it, and thought about it on my morning commute…and I’m still a little unsure of where EXACTLY I stand. However, as of me writing this sentence…”Logan” is one of the best comic book films I’ve ever seen.
First thing to get out of the way, holy WOW this is a bloody one. The R-rating is fully utilized, and every fight scene is a plethora of gore and stabbing…and I LOVE IT. They even got Wolverine’s fighting style right, adapting it to account for the lacking physical state of the character as well.
The lazy analysis I’ve been seeing lately is along the lines of “Logan is the Dark Knight of X-Men” or that “People are going to debate for years between Logan and the Dark Knight”. Let me shut this down right now, “Logan” is different from, and not as good as, “The Dark Knight”. The reason I understand why this comparison is being made is because, like Nolan’s trilogy of Batman films, Director James Mangold decides to incorporate a lot of realism when it comes to the themes of the film. Add in the fact that both directors understood their characters and the situations these characters are in 100%. While different in the sense that “The Dark Knight” is Batman’s fall from grace, and “Logan” is about what Wolverine will do after already fallen far beyond recognition, the two films both feel very real and can connect to a larger audience. Similarly, this is why “The Empire Strikes Back” is revered as the best of the Star Wars films, because we see the Rebellion struggle in a very human way and we love those characters. Unfortunately, this translated over to “So ALL OF IT has to be dark and gritty?” in the realm of comic/sci-fi movies and caused some problems, but Logan was a nice reminder that it is possible to achieve similar tones without sacrificing clarity, sanity, and originality. So, yes, I see why the comparison is being made…and while you can draw similarities, other criticism of “Logan” using the Nolan trilogy should stop there. Its different, and X-Men deserves this win.
Emphasizing on Mangold’s understanding of the character, even the first sequence we see with old man Logan just feels like he’s letting himself down. This is the most beat-down version of a hero I’ve seen…Logan isn’t just depressed for the sake of it. This guy is so obviously broken, lost, apathetic…he’s simply lost all will to do anything, and therefore doesn’t know why he is doing anything in the first place. Throughout the film, Logan avoids purpose even when it is staring him right in the face.
Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier also delivers one last time. To me, he represented the small good part of Wolverine that might still be in there, which is why I love that the two constantly bicker, almost as if Logan is constantly denying who he is “supposed to be”…but he is still taking care of the 90 year old Professor because he owes that much to Xavier and himself.
There are a few imperfections I think are present in this film. The first one being, there isn’t much of a villain. You don’t really have a “Joker” or…anyone really. Yes, there’s a solid plot structure and there are “bad hombres” (couldn’t resist)…but you can’t really point to someone to bring out a unique anger in Wolverine…because he’s pretty much just angry half the time anyway. Additionally, the flow gets somewhat interrupted in the second act and focus veers off a bit from Logan himself. It ties together when you look at it as a whole, but in the moment one could feel a slight drag in the 2nd act.
Despite the lack of a sinister presence, Logan does have a motivator. Logan and Xavier are traveling with a young girl, Laura…who I will not say much about for the sake of keeping things spoiler free.
The other notable thing is that this movie doesn’t do the “classic comic book movie” thing of setting anything up. This is it, what you see is what you get..and they’re focused on telling this one story. The greater X-Men universe is referenced slightly, but a new fan could jump right in to “Logan” not knowing much and still feel unexpectedly moved by it.
Since the X-Men have come and gone in this distant future where “Logan” takes place, the stories and legends are all documented in the form of comic books, where Wolverine is viewed as a fearless hero…so to see him at such an opposite end of who he used to be just makes the film so tragically beautiful.
I feel almost blessed to have seen Jackman’s Wolverine portrayal through for 17 years. This is one of those things that I’m going to be an annoying Grandpa about ~60 years from now…never shutting up about how back in my day, Hugh Jackman was Wolverine and he was the best (assuming the X-men get a reboot at some point because studios love money and eventually people run out of ideas….right?).
“Logan” is gut-wrenching, and feels somewhat fresh after being bombarded with DCEU nonsense and the MCU doing what they have to do…at the risk of overselling it just a little bit, “Logan” gets a soggz-blogs rating of 9.5/10.
From the 70s-90s, DC reigned supreme on the silver screen with their Superman and Batman movies, which captivated audiences everywhere. Fast forward to the early 2000’s, and the world was blessed with two X-men and two Spiderman movies, showing everyone that comic book movies could be amazing summer blockbusters, be entertaining and well-done, and be a gold-mine for Hollywoo (that’s not a typo, watch Bojack Horseman). Unfortunately, we were then hit with a barrage of horrible comic book movies that never seemed to end: Ghostrider, Daredevil, Elektra, Fantastic 4, Green Lantern, etc. In 2008, we were all blown away by DC and Marvel as “The Dark Knight” gave us Oscar-Worthy performances, and “Ironman” took a B-list superhero and propelled him to greatness (we can excuse the small hiccup of Ironman 2). Now we are in 2016 with three major cinematic universes for comic book movies. Comic book sales have been bumped up by new and eater readers. Its safe to say that Comic Book movies are here to stay and have become a major part of our pop culture.
So what makes a comic book movie “bad” nowadays? I’m not talking about the dry argument of “they’re formulaic, they’re all the same, I don’t like them”. I truly believe that we’re past the absolutely atrocious films (excluding the 2016 “Fantastic 4″…oh my) that are so poorly written and done, so what mistakes are being made in the modern Comic Book Movie? In this piece, I’m going to hit a few points that I’ve noticed in my long history of watching these movies. [MILD SPOILER WARNING] for the movies I use as examples, even though anyone reading this has probably seen most of them or (at this point) shouldn’t care about getting them spoiled.
1. “Spiderman 3 Syndrome”
Yes, this is a term I just made up, but I’m going to tell you why. Think back to “Spiderman 3” and where the first two movies left off. All the major events that have moved the plot forward have culminated into Harry Osborn being the villain. However, for some reason this movie decided not only to have Harry and Peter’s conflict happen, but to include the entire fiasco involving the venom symbiote, AND add in the subplot of Flint Marko being accused of Uncle Ben’s murder and turning into Sandman? It sounds a little ridiculous to put all of that into one movie, and it was! Especially when you throw in more MJ/Peter drama (which felt like the same fight that they’ve had for the past two movies), Gwen Stacy, and inappropriate jazz choreography. When it comes to the flow of the story, Spiderman 3 can be simply described as a trainwreck.
Other examples include:
Dark Knight Rises: They tried to have Bane, Catwoman and Talia be important and have Bruce Wayne suffer a broken back, heal a broken back, and return to Gotham to fight his nemesis, save the day and name a successor. Despite still being a well-done film, it ends up being the least compelling of the trilogy with parts of the movie that felt too slow and other parts that felt too rushed.
Suicide Squad: I didn’t speak about this too much in my Suicide Squad review, but dear lord what a sloppy movie. Upon rewatch, when they introduced Katana in about 30 seconds, I definitely had my hands in my face. She’s such a cool character that we’re probably not going to see again, and her presence didn’t really hurt or add to the movie. There’s just too much in this movie that the audience ends up disregarding. Side-note: When you spend literally 5 seconds on Slipknot’s exposition, we all know that he’s totally going to die within the next few scenes.
I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be more than one villain in a Comic Book movie. I’m even open to having more than one sub-plot that’s also taking place. But when a movie tries to rely on bringing multiple iconic characters and scenes to life in the same movie, often times the characters and their motivations become overshadowed by other poorly executed sub-plots. What was originally a selling point in the trailers becomes a weak point in the overall story structure. If you want to see a movie that did this right, “Captain America Civil War” made it work by focusing everything back to the central conflict.
2. Set-Up Movies
Remember when Sony had claims to a Spider-Man Cinematic Universe? It felt like they were trying to give Disney and the Avengers a huge middle finger, and they announced a slew of Spider-Man movies, including a “Sinister Six” and “Venom”. One of the big reasons that “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” just wasn’t a great movie was because they spent so much quality run time trying to establish a cinematic universe that they didn’t really accomplish anything big in the movie itself. When movies get so caught up in the big picture, we lose quality in the standalone film that we paid 10 dollars to go see, leaving the audience feeling somewhat empty and unfulfilled.
Other examples include:
Any movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe that sets up an infinity stone or feels like a glorified advertisement for a new Avengers film. I’m looking at you, “Thor: The Dark World”.
Fant4stic: I’m not joking when I say that this movie is about 90% exposition that leads up to nothing notable and keeps acting like there are 4 sequels confirmed to follow it. It feels like you’re in stasis for a good 100 minutes only to be slapped in the face at the end.
3. Crossing into the realm of obscurity
This is something I’ve only really noticed recently. Casual fans of comic books, think back to “Batman V Superman” and be honest with me. Did any of you fully understand what was going on during Bruce Wayne’s dream sequence when some guy in a portal started yelling something at Bruce about Lois Lane being the key? I’d be shocked if any of you did. It’s always nice when filmmakers throw in a nod or two to the comic books, but sometimes it just leaves the audience even more confused than they originally were.
Batman V Superman: The “knightmare” sequence was undoubtedly a cool and well done scene on the cinematographer’s end. However, If I leaned over to my Dad and whispered “Psst, this is a nod to the Injustice series. Also thatâs Darkseid’s insignia and those are Parademons from Apokolips”,, his head might’ve exploded on the spot.
X-Men Apocalypse: I watched this one with a friend who’s seen the other X-men movies, but isn’t a comic book fan by any means, and he didnât really know how to react to a few scenes. It’s great that you wanted to give us Caliban talking to Mystique and then Apocalypse, but to most of the audience, he’s just a guy that looks weird. Not only that, after the post-credits scene revealed that Nathaniel Essex was going to be a part of the big picture now, some guy in my theater yelled out “Does anyone get that?” and the rest of the theater erupted into laughter.
4. “3Edgy5Me” Syndrome
This is another phrase I tend to use that no one else does, but I can explain! I love Nolan’s Batman trilogy…but I also hate that other creators said “Holy tragic story, Batman! This is so successful, maybe we could do this with every superhero!” Unfortunately this led to an onslaught of superhero stories that are described as “Dark and Gritty”. Most of these were so ridiculous that I’ve reached a point where I laugh when I hear those two words because I just know that the movie is going to be bad to an extent. It is a given that the protagonist of a film faces struggle and adversity constantly. However, when an uplifting character is turned into a tragic character, it tends to be forced and poorly executed. Not everyone can be Batman or Daredevil, that’s why unique and different characters are created so that more audiences can relate! Being edgy just for the sake of being edgy is just dumb, the movie doesn’t need to be dark to be compelling.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Did anyone find all of that “untold story” nonsense about his parents and finding subway tokens in his dadâs calculator to be memorable at all? Throw in his romance with Gwen being “so wrong but so right” or whatever they were going for. I swear when I was watching both these movies I got Deja Vu from the “Twilight” series (I promise we can make fun of the fact that I’ve seen more than one of those later). At the end, it felt like the only reason they killed Gwen Stacy off was to have something bad happen to throw Peter into a depression that eventually gets out of in about 5-10 minutes of run time.
Arrow: This obviously isn’t a movie, but ever since season 1 of the show, people kept commenting about the odd similarity to Batman. I had an open mind, but I just had to point out that in season 3 they LITERALLY tried to make him Batman. Almost everything that happened to the character in season 3 of the show was derivative of Batman. The two were about as different as “A New Hope” and “The Force Awakens”. It was just so odd, I watch Arrow because I want to watch Arrow. I don’t watch Arrow to get a poorly-done version of any given Batman vs Ra’s Al Ghul comic.
So there’s my humble opinion on what common errors are made in the modern era of Comic Book Movies! As always, let me know what you think because I love discussion and help a nerd out by sharing!
Never before have I seen a movie that is more perfectly described by the phrase “Hot Mess” than this one.
“Suicide Squad” is the third installment in the DC Cinematic Universe and introduces us to a team of criminals that are brought together by the Government to save the world. The group is DC’s “band of lovable misfits” trope, and the movie looks like it was meant to be their answer to Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”. The movie is really fun, and many aspects from other Suicide Squad stories are present and accounted for. There is no absence of action scenes, and the tone is much more lighthearted than “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman”. Despite any of the good things that the movie had going for it, the reality of the situation is that this is one really messy production.
A few things are obvious to most of the audience after watching the movie. One is that some scenes are clearly re-shoots and that a lot of footage is left out or replaced. If I were to re-watch the trailer, I could point out many parts that looked really cool that didn’t even end up in the final product. I remember hearing (anyone is more than welcome to fact check me if I’m wrong) that new scenes were re-shot after the success of “Deadpool” to make this movie funnier. Even if that is pure speculation, its very believable seeing as how some of the dialogue and “jokes” felt forced or poorly written. When it comes to the editing, it almost feels like the scenes in each act were just thrown together while someone hit the “shuffle” button in hopes that it would work.
Another thing that didn’t work for the movie was that it was really difficult to care about the main conflict. The entire plot and most of the action became predictable and felt like it had no consequence. Even when looking at it as part of a bigger universe, the events don’t really have an effect on what we know to be coming in the DCCU. There is a connection that is eventually drawn to the Justice League, but I was hoping that we could’ve seen more emphasis of the bigger picture: humanity taking reckless action against super-humans out of fear.
The acting and portrayal of some of these characters is actually one of the pros of this movie. Will Smith has done a fantastic job of playing Deadshot, and audiences are able to feel his personal conflict between his job and his family. Margot Robbie did very well, and a nerd could see that she took some of Harley’s behavior from “Batman: The Animated Series”, which is never a bad thing. I feel like enough people aren’t talking about how Viola Davis is exactly what Amanda Waller is supposed to be, and gave a stunning performance of this shady, ambitious, and bold character. Jared Leto played the most interesting Joker I’ve seen but I feel like any critic can’t make too much of a judgement because (apparently) a big chunk of his scenes were cut. Regarding everything I saw, I’ve definitely never quite seen in a Joker before, and that made me happy and eager to see more. Lastly, my honorable mentions for a cool character go out to Joel Kinnaman and Jay Hernandez as Rick Flagg and Diablo, respectively.
Truth be told, I recommend seeing this movie in a theater. Know that it is flawed and know that there will be moments where you find yourself very entertained, and go see the movie for yourself! Its no abomination, its worth the money and time. So now that the first part of my review is done, lets dive in to spoilers!
[SPOILERS START HERE]
So we’re introduced to our squad members via exposition from Waller. I could tell they were going for a more compact movie and that some characters were to be more important than others, but I feel like this could’ve been done a little better. The scenes we get of some of the squad members being apprehended by heroes are fantastic (Ben Affleck is a gift from the Comic Gods and I shall hear nothing bad about him as Batman), and even Flash shows up! We’re introduced even further to characters like Rick Flagg and June Moone aka Enchantress. We get a reveal where Waller is able to control Enchantress, and we find out June and Flagg are romantically involved…and hilarity ensues! Just kidding, its obvious at this point that Enchantress is going to lose control and be the villain and Flagg is going to be conflicted.
After all the exposition and interactions we get the main plot of the villains (oh yeah, there’s two now!) which is *drumroll*…A FACELESS ARMY WITH A GIANT BLUE BEAM IN THE SKY!!! Yes, really. They went with the biggest cliche in the modern comic book film when it has already been cliche for years now. This is why there appears to be little consequence in this movie’s action. Anyway, the squad is assembled and all receive bombs in their necks in case Flagg or Waller deem it necessary. Here we get lazily introduced to even more minor characters like Slipknot and Katana, the former of which is literally here to demonstrate that anyone who disobeys orders will die. I’m not saying that his death didn’t need to happen, I’m saying it just didn’t matter because they already establish how irrelevant Slipknot is, which makes it no shocker that they kill him. While Amanda Waller speaks about how expendable these people are in this movie, its funny because some of these characters are expendable to us, the audience, and their presence didn’t affect the story at all. Its as if the characters of the team are placed into tiers: “Important”, “Sort of Important”, and “Meh”. Additionally, barely any of the characters build relationships with each other aside from snarky comments and death threats. Deadshot and Harley establish a friendship, Deadshot and Flagg end up as frenemies, Diablo shows a little humanity, and Captain Boomerang shows his love for pink unicorns…that’s about it.
So after a scene where Joker tries to escape with Harley and gets his chopper shot down (which no one believed was actually consequential for one second), Waller gets kidnapped by Enchantress and more stuff with little explanation happens. The bar scene where all the characters “give up” and drink is actually really cool, and Diablo gives us his story that ends up being one of the only compelling parts about this movie. Flagg shows up and the Squad decides that they’re gonna go through with the mission, and then we get this crazy, Tranformers-esque battle scene with a whole mess of CGI and explosions. The movie wraps up with Joker breaking Harley out of Belle Reve, and Bruce Wayne striking up a deal with Amanda Waller so he can do Justice League things in a future movie.
There really isn’t much to this whole movie in terms of substance, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least having some fun. If you want to see a well done Suicide Squad movie, I highly recommend checking out the animated film “Batman: Assault on Arkham”. As for the movie in question, Suicide Squad gets a 5/10.
So those are my thoughts on Suicide Squad! As always, I would appreciate all of your likes, shares, feedback, comments, etc.
That’s all for now,
The Killing Joke only gets to the anticipated source material after an unnecessary tacked-on “prologue” and messy transition. Fortunately, the memorable pages of the graphic novel are brought to life and presented well.
The highly anticipated animated adaptation of the popular graphic novel is finally here! Unfortunately, it also came with a few issues that left me feeling pretty conflicted. For those of you who don’t know, “Batman: The Killing Joke” is a one-shot by Alan Moore that ended up being so popular that many adaptations of Batman consider the events official canon. It is the exploration of how the Caped Crusader can’t be defined without his greatest enemy, and the analysis that they are two sides of the same coin. Its your typical “we’re not so different, you and I” trope between the detective and serial killer, and its done extremely well. The story also serves as the Joker’s backstory, where readers actually end up feeling somewhat sorry for the guy.
Since the graphic novel isn’t very long, more content had to be added in order to make this a 90-minute movie. The turning point of the story features Barbara Gordon, aka the Batgirl and daughter to Commissioner Gordon. Due to this major event, it was decided to add more content that featured Batgirl to the movie. It becomes obvious that the purpose of this “prologue” was to establish her important relationship to Batman, so that when “the thing” happens, the tension is higher. So what kind of tension did the writers decide to go for?…the easiest one to write that also ends up being the most frustrating one…sexual tension. Here we go… [SPOILERS START HERE]
Just to get the easy stuff out of the way first, the actual “Killing Joke” part of the movie was great. The artwork, music, and voice acting (Conroy, Hamill, and Strong did exactly what you’d expect) all helped bring this sadistic story to life. The Joker’s song that he performs while Gordon is going through the ride was absolutely fantastic, and was genuinely eerie.
So lets dive in to what disappointed. This whole “prologue” part felt like a lifetime drama, and Barbara’s dialogue might as well have been “Senpai, notice me please!” Basically, Batgirl messes up, Batman fixes it and scolds her, Batgirl vents to her gay coworker about an older man she’s “seeing”, Batgirl tries to fight villain, horrible villain does something stupid, repeat about three times. This wasn’t a Father-Daughter relationship, this wasn’t a relationship between partners, this wasn’t a teacher-student relationship. Honestly, I wouldn’t even consider it a romantic relationship. The closeness of the two characters is established when they bang and have some typical “I’m Batman” dialogue from Bruce that later serves as the transition to get him to confront the Joker (this was also handled poorly, connecting those dots was a stretch).
But here’s my real problem with it. Before I move on, let me just say that as a straight male, tackling this part of the review might be a tough area, but i’m doing it anyway. (If any of this is offensive or insensitive, PLEASE message me and I will clean it up right away).Batgirl is somewhat demeaned in this story. It seems like her purpose in the movie is to be hyper-sexualized and fetishized to the point where it becomes a little ridiculous. We get this villain that keeps making sexual advances at Batgirl, and Batman deems him “too dangerous” for her because of this. Seriously, this guy’s entire identity as a villain is that he’s horny for Batgirl, and she’s shown as visibly affected by it. The Batgirl I know could kick this guy to Bludhaven and back, no problem. This is a girl that has spent her whole life experiencing her POLICE COMMISSIONER FATHER dealing with criminals that are much worse, so this shouldn’t have been a problem. Furthermore, why did the villain need to be like this? We could’ve just as easily had a villain instead maybe, oh I don’t know, threaten her Dad who’s a public figure? That’s enough motivation for a female character to want to bring someone to justice that doesn’t involve the creepy villain fantasizing about her constantly, right?
Look, all we needed were awesome scenes with Batman and Batgirl as partners kicking butt and taking names together , and if you really wanted to go the romantic route maybe throw in a scene where there is mutual interest and affection. What we got was Batgirl as a love-struck teenybopper with the most irrational “overly attached girlfriend” complex, and that’s pretty insulting to her character and to her fans. Conflict happens with Batman and his partners, but why is it that Jason Todd got “conflict of ideology regarding the justice system” whereas Batgirl gets “I have a crush on you”, despite her being older than the male characters who have been Robin? Its especially hard to believe that the girl that ends up as Oracle, Batman’s right-hand technology genius, is reduced to this level of immaturity. At one point in this movie, Batman LITERALLY says “We’re not equals”. I get that he probably didn’t mean it in a “Man vs Woman” context, but why is Batgirl getting treated so badly only to get paralyzed by the Joker anyway?
I really wish they did this differently. I really wish we were shown how well the two work together and their chemistry, with subtle hints on how they feel about each other. That would’ve made it even more devastating when she gets shot by the Joker. Showing Batgirl constantly complaining and Batman as the stern voice of reason, then showing them having sex was poor execution and, in my opinion, very insulting to her character.
Batman: The Killing Joke gets a 6.5/10
Reviewed Rating: 5.5/10
Those are my thoughts on The Killing Joke. Please let me know what you think, I welcome discussion and would love to hear what others have to say.
That’s all for now,