Suicide Squad (2016)

Suicide Squad

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in “Suicide Squad”

It took me a lot of thinking as to how I wanted to respond to Suicide Squad. Like most people, I am rather disappointed it did not live up to the hype. However, I did still find some good things in it as well.

For those who don’t know, Suicide Squad tells the story (not long after this year’s earlier disappointment that was Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) of a politician (of some kind) named Amanda Waller (the always talented Viola Davis). There is a situation that is far too complicated to explain, and would also be far to boring for you to read. All I will say is that it involves Enchantress, who takes over the body of June Moone (both played by Cara Delevingne).

Waller’s plan: gather up the worst bad guys and have them take care of the situation in exchange for shorter prison sentences. Roll Call: There is Deadshot (Will Smith, who, of course, is one of the last actors anyone would expect to play a bad guy), who never misses a shot. Harley Quinn (a wonderful Margot Robbie), who is only the second craziest character in the film, Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), who is, you know, a crocodile. Boomerang (Jai Courtney, who gives a performance not entirely unseen in other movies). Slipknot (Adam Beach, in one of the worst roles you could ask for), who is able to escape easily. Finally, there is Diablo (Jay Hernandez), with pyro power (and regret for previous actions). The first 10-20 minutes of the film provides you with more information than I have already said (and maybe more than we needed to know in the first place).

They are under the control of Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), who is also dating June Moone. Protecting him is Katana (Karen Fukuhara), whose Katana sword contains the souls of those it has vanquished.

I save the one character everyone was eager to see for last. That, of course, is The Joker, played by Oscar winner Jared Leto. Bottom line, while he does do a good job, he is not better than Heath Ledger’s immortal performance in The Dark Knight. Perhaps one of the main reasons is that Leto does not get as much screen time as we would like. I mean, in my opinion (and I doubt I am alone), when you have the greatest villian in comic book history, wouldn’t you want to see more of him?

It also does not help that the action is more of the same we have seen in other comic book films (slow motion action is really getting old to me).

Parents: The PG-13 rating is justified. There is swearing, some violence, action, and innuendo (Harley Quinn does wear some rather revealing clothing, and there is one scene in a night club. No stripping, however). High School and above.

All others in the movie do what they can. My favorite in the movie would go to Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, because she looks like she is undoubtably having the most fun. Will Smith (who at least did this and not Independence Day: Resurgence) is still possibly the most charming actor in movies today, so while he does a good job, it is still so hard to believe that he is playing a bad guy (though movie does try to remind us he has a heart because of his 11 year old daughter).

Still, as Hitchcock once said:

“To make a great film, you need three things-the script, the script, and the script.”

Overall: Two and a Half Stars ** 1/2

 

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Independence Day Resurgence

Will Smith is absent, but at least Jeff Goldblum is back, right?

As a proud 1990s kid, I had many great movies stapled into my childhood, and seeing Independence Day at the age of 9 was truly one of them. It was loud, silly, and a lot of fun.

Now, twenty years later (in which time I like to think I got a bit smarter along the way), we have Independence Day: Resurgence. I will be blunt: The fact than Will Smith is not in the movie is not the worst part. There are many issues.

First, the main reason that I went to this movie was because of the character of Dr. Okun (Brent Spiner). If you remember the first one, on the second day (July 3rd), he and his team of scientists are performing surgery on an unconcious alien. The alien awakens, and kills everyone in the room. Apparently, Okun survived (despite a scene where his neck is being felt for a pulse, showing he clearly died) and was in a coma for twenty years. Ok, sure, I guess. I know nothing about comas, but something does sound a bit fishy.

Also, though Will Smith’s character is absent (he died in a test flight crash), his step son Dylan (Jessie T. Usher) is still around as a pilot. His mom Jasmine (Vivica A. Fox) was an exotic dancer. Now, she is a nurse/doctor (I was not sure). I guess you could say that she had enough time to study to be where she is now at twenty years, but the situations she is in seem as cliche as loud kids on Christmas morning.

The basic plot: we as humans have upped our defenses in case of another invasion, but the aliens had time as well (though if they knew about us in the first place, why not just use that technology in the first one?  Probably because it was in 1996.) We now have stations on the moon, with pilots like Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth). He is engaged to Patricia Whitmore (Maika Monroe), daughter of Former President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman). The former president is having nightmares/visions (as is Dr. Okun) of the aliens. Jeff Goldblum is back as David Levinson, though he seems uninterested to be there. The same can basically be said for his on screen dad Julius, played again by Judd Hirsch. He too is thrown into a situation that is as cliche as (let me think here)…oh, candy on Halloween (I am on a role!)

Others include William Fichtner as General Adams, Sela Ward as (current) President Lanford, and a brief return for General Grey, played by the late Robert Loggia.

Parents, if the kids have seen the original, you can let them see this (at least they won’t be confused if they haven’t).

Actually, you should let them just end on the first one, and pretend that it ended with Will Smith fulfilling his step son’s wishes for fireworks. Resurgence is like a fire work you see go into the air, and realize that it is not going off.

 

Overall: One Star *