Game Development and Media Reviews

Category: Movies

The Suicide Squad 2021

The Suicide Squad was directed by James Gunn and stars Margot Robbie, John Cena and Idris Elba. I wasn’t very sure what to expect from this movie as I did not particularly enjoy Suicide Squad from 2016. However, this movie feels like a much needed do-over with a bunch of obscure characters from the DC universe that you have probably never heard of. The movie starts with a completely misleading bait and switch that explains the premise of the movie while also perfectly capturing its tone. The opening felt like an enormous gamble that paid off.

The Suicide Squad is featuring a new team with a couple of familiar faces.

The competitive relationship between John Cena and Idris Elba received a lot of screen time and was easily the most entertaining part of the movie. Idris Elba becomes the relatable protagonist of the story while John Cena leans heavily into the outrageous delivering easily the best lines of the script.

The bickering between these two characters is easily the highlight of the movie.

I was never a fan of Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn in her previous movies. The Brooklyn accent and her overall personality were always a bit too much on the obnoxious site of things. This didn’t change significantly in The Suicide Squad but at least she had a couple of very interesting things to do.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn

The rest of the cast did a good job making the more obscure members of the team likeable. King Shark, a mix between a man and a shark, reminded me of a mix between Groot and Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy and worked really well as a comedic relief. I even ended up really liking the Ratcatcher 2 and Polka-Dot Man.

David Dastmalchian as the Polka-Dot Man is not even the most obscure character in the movie.

The most surprising element of the movie was the portrayal of the politics surrounding the Suicide Squad. The story openly acknowledged that the team does not exist to do good but to cover up shady government operations in off the books missions – it was portrayed as straight up evil. I haven’t seen this level of open criticism towards American imperialism and the indiscriminate killing of foreigners in a comic book adaptation before. The Boys had similar critique to offer but usually focused on the private part of the military industrial complex rather than government operations.

Viola Davis reprises her role as Amada Waller.

The movie is R-rated and shows a lot of outrageous violence which was always presented in a light-hearted way. You will see grotesque scenes of people getting stabbed multiple times, ripped apart or eaten while the movie tries to make you lough about it. One scene in particular felt like a killing blow from the video game Mortal Combat.

A lot of people get killed in this movie.

I was thoroughly entertained. The movie made me care about obscure DC characters and a completely ridiculous plot. I would like to see more!

4/5 – Hope that helps.

The Best and The Worst Things About Army of The Dead

Army of the Dead is a fun zombie heist movie by director Zack Snyder. A team of mercenaries is sent into Las Vegas to kill some zombies and to retrieve a bunch of cash from a casino vault. Here are the best and worst things about this movie.

The 4 Best Things About the Movie

#1 The movie has a lot of fun action scenes that are set in a Las Vegas that was overrun by zombies. There are even different types of zombies. Some zombies are smart and fast, some are dumb and slow. The setting and the different zombie types keep the action scenes fresh and the plot interesting. Expect less of a horror movie and more of a stylized action movie though.
#2 The cast around Dave Bautista who played Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy is doing a pretty decent job. The characters might be a bit cartoony but have interesting personalities that totally worked for me. The Safecracker was especially interesting to watch.
#3 The president of the United States is quoted by a news anchor saying that nuking Las Vegas on the 4th of July would be really cool and actually kind of patriotic if you think about it.
#4 It’s one of the few bigger releases in the past 12 months.

The 4 Worst Things About the Movie

#1 The movie has some jarring script issues. I’m not talking about plot holes and the power of hindsight here – I’m talking about really confusing stuff. Some of the characters seem to be able to just jump around between locations. The main antagonist was even able to keep up with a helicopter on foot at some point. The amount of money that was supposed to be transported weighs around 2 metric tons – that is way more than what a couple of backpacks can handle.
#2 A lot of things were set up that never really paid off. The movie heavily teased the usage of a giant circular saw to fight off the zombies but we never really got to see it. The protagonists even talked about some dried up zombies that get reactivated by rain but we didn’t get to see this either. This leads me to believe that Zack Snyder tried to do another 4h movie but somebody at the studio put their foot down forced some cuts. This felt especially frustrating right at the end of the movie where the fate of one character was not even mentioned.
#3 There was this one scene were a character died and everybody else just stood there like a deer in the headlights. They clearly could have done something about it. The character alone killed like 20 zombies and the whole team collectively decided no to help her against five more. It was just baffling.
#4 The movie played around with a very shallow depth of field. This led to a lot of very blurry scenes that were sometimes completely out of focus. This is an unaltered still from the movie.

The Conclusion

The movie is around 2h 20min long and was a fun time overall. The script had a couple of jarring issues and could have used some more work but you get pretty much what you expect from this Zack Snyder movie. There were a lot of stylized action scenes that felt similar to his previous movies like 300 or Justice League. If you like to see a bunch of zombies getting killed and if you are a bit more forgiving about the script you are going to have a good time.

4/5 – Hope this helps.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League

The theatrical release of Justice League did not remain very fondly in my memory – it actually barely remained in my memory at all. There was this joke about Batman being rich, Superman coming back to life and the assembled team fighting an army of CGI monsters to prevent a doomsday machine. This was all pretty generic comic book stuff. Ben Affleck as Batman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Ezra Miller as The Flash looked interesting on the surface but didn’t do anything memorable in the whole movie. The main reason being that their characters’ usefulness just paled in comparison to Superman. ‘Let’s watch this team of heroes struggle for 2h until Superman swoops in and saves the day with ease’ was simply not a very enticing plotline.

A couple of years later, Zack Snyder was able to release his original vision of the Justice League movie. His ‘Do Over’ released on HBO Max in a 4:3 aspect ratio. You have to be prepared for some thick black bars on your left and right of your TV screen. The movie is divided into 7 parts including an epilogue and has a runtime of almost 4h. It starts off with a personal message from Zack Snyder thanking his fans that made this release possible. It is, generally speaking, the same movie but with some extra time spent on fleshing out the characters. The movie made me actually curious about the Flash and the main antagonist Steppenwolf. Unfortunately we also get a lot of bland CGI battle scenes that do not bring anything new to the table although they were noticeably more violent. I also never cared for this whole Amazonian world-building that they did in the Wonder Woman movies and unfortunately we get a lot of that in the first part of Justice League as well. I actually ended up hating the first third of the movie. The rest of the movie was better – significantly better. The characters had something to do. Each and every one of them contributed to the plot. Well, except Louis Lane who was just there to make us feel sad about Superman’s demise. The assembled team was interesting to watch but it was never really explained what the individual characters could and could not do. This led to some ‘I guess they can do that now’ moments. Despite the team being way more useful than before, the movie still felt a lot like Superman just showing up at the end to save the day. The end of the movie with its whole epilogue chapter overstayed its welcome, despite having good scenes with the next antagonist Doomsday and another very intriguing dream sequence that was set in the previously seen dystopian future where earth seemed lost.

Overall, the theatrical cut of Justice League failed where Zack Snyder’s cut succeeded. The new version made me curious. I actually want to see more. I want to see a standalone Flash movie and I want to see Batman fighting alongside Jared Leto as the Joker against the army of Doomsday and an evil Superman. That might be fun, right?

3/5 – Hope that helps.

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