The Suicide Squad

Vampire Owl: Do you remember watching the last Suicide Squad?

Vampire Bat: That was rather too long ago to remember.

Vampire Owl: There is never too long ago with superheroes.

Vampire Bat: These are the supervillains though.

Vampire Owl: We are now living at times when there is not much of a difference between the two. The borders have been blurred.

Vampire Bat: I would have some exceptions with these particular people though.

Vampire Owl: They are not really the ones we would like to have in the vampire realm.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that there cannot be a Vampire Suicide Squad with freaks.

Vampire Owl: An immortal squad for suicide? That cannot be.

Vampire Bat: Well, immortality can be ended with a well-planned suicide if you are good enough to do that.

[Gets a chicken cutlet and three glasses of chocolate shake].

What is the movie about? :: Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) gets a team known as Task Force X, also called The Suicide Squad – consists of prison inmates who agree to carry out extremely dangerous and often near impossible missions for her in exchange for lighter sentences. As they come up against their first mission, there are two teams, and from the first one, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is the only inmate who survies along with Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) who was leading the team. The second team is able to sneak in between, under the leadership of Bloodsport (Idris Elba), and supported by Peacemaker (John Cena), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), and Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior). They are now at a small South American island nation of Corto Maltese which had its autocratic government overthrown by an anti-American one. They have to destroy a Nazi-age laboratory which still holds a secretive experiment known as Project Starfish. It is supposed to be extra-terrestrial in nature.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: While Bloodsport and Peacemaker are expert marksmen, Ratcatcher controls rats. King Shark seems to be the strongest among them while Polka-Dot Man seems to be more of a distraction than anything else. King Shark almost eats Ratcatcher before being stopped by her pet rat, while Bloodsport and Peacemaker cannot get along at all, going on competing with each other instead of concentrating on the mission. Polka-Dot Man seems to be all lost in between. They find Flag among the rebel soldiers and Sol Soria (Alice Braga) who leads the soldiers agrees to assist them, so that their country could be free from military control, and also as part of vengeance. Harley Quinn who is caught by the government soldiers is taken to the palace, and she understands the new regime’s plan to destroy the other nations using Project Starfish. The team has to find The Thinker (Peter Capaldi) who is in charge of the operation before the situation gets any worse.

The defence of The Suicide Squad :: The colours and shades that we see in The Suicide Squad are beautiful, and it seems to be a quality which it has inherited from its predecessor. You can always keep your eyes on the screen, and be happy with what is seen on the background with settings that keep one interested. The visuals are all good, with the world looking beautiful. There are some fine action sequences in the final moments of the movie, and the use of humour works at times – the same is done best by Harley Quinn herself. The use of rats contribute nicely to make a visual spectacle, and the lights during the darkness nicely contribute to making the world better. The fights in the movie can be seen an worth one’s time. The action had also started much early, and there is not much time wasted with that. There is also scope for some fine sequels and spin-offs left in the end too. The stylish part stays strong too.

The claws of flaw :: The movie required a better human villain to keep things strong, but that cannot be seen around here. The villainy among the main characters also fall flat with not much being done with it. There was always something special to be done with a film like this, and better heroes could also make way here. The blood and gore is very much unlike the usual superhero films, but with its big extra-terrestrial antagonist, it chooses to go dumb in the looks and not scary, which is also strange. There is also no shortage of usual repetitions around here. With a fine premise, it losses so many opportunities which were there to be taken. The big iconic character, Harley Quinn, is also not used to the best advantage, as we know that she has always deserved more. Some of the humour here also feels dumb enough – the dark humour doesn’t work that effectively. This required to maintain its quality at all times, but we see that it has some regular ups and downs.

Performers of the soul :: Throughout the movie, one can surely see Margot Robbie dominating the proceedings again as Harley Quinn. There are moments which seems to be about her only, even though nothing matches what he did in the earlier Suicide Squad – the absence of Joker will always be the big missing point. The one tale that catches our attention the most is that of Daniela Melchior, who dominates the proceedings in a beautifully passive way. She is the one who deserves a possible spin-off among all the characters around here, something bigger and smarter than Birds of Prey. This is one character to which we are also emotionally attached, and this attachment is to stay, as long as the last rat is alive on this planet. There is a certain amount of cuteness in the psychotic beauty that is attached to everything about her. Idris Elba’s character is rock solid, while John Cena’s is just ridiculous. There is no strong villain among the performers either, even though there were so many signs in the earlier stages of the movie.

How it finishes :: The Suicide Squad is a journey down from the original Suicide Squad, which was poetic, and fun from the beginning to the end, and had a human antagonist worth fighting against, unlike what we have now. Even the characters or similar characters reflecting the first movie are not that good here, whether with the costumes or with the action. Yet, this movie also holds its ground, and manages to be better than DC’s superheroes coming together. When the team of villains do better than Justice League every time, one cannot wonder about the fact that the world is going with evil over goodness. The evil that we have seen in this world through the ages will only get worse, that is for sure. The Suicide Squad is a reminder of the same, and it makes another interesting film. Until DC gets the better superhero movies like Aquaman back here, you can always watch Minnal Murali, the first Malayalam superhero movie on Netflix, which gets the origins better than most of the others in style.

Release date: 24th December 2021 (Amazon); 5th August 2021 (USA)
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Margot Robbie, Daniela Melchior, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Birds of Prey

Vampire Owl: There are not many kinds of vampire birds.

Vampire Bat: But not all of our birds hunt.

Vampire Owl: You stopped letting the birds hunt?

Vampire Bat: Well, the sky needed to be safer for the gargoyles.

Vampire Owl: You are calling for the gargoyles during a pandemic?

Vampire Bat: They are made of stone, and immune to any pandemic.

Vampire Owl: Are you sure that these can’t catch the virus?

Vampire Bat: They are immune to the injection too.

Vampire Owl: That saves us some vaccines.

Vampire Bat: I would have loved to believe that the undead are basically immune, as the virus cannot affect the dead even after rising from the grave. But the research from Doctor Frankenstein says otherwise.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: A number of years have passed after the defeat of Enchantress in the hands of the team of supervillains, Suicide Squad, and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) has broken up with Joker (Jared Leto), and despite going through the procedure many times, this time she believes that they are separated forever. She remembers her time as psychiatrist and also her time before that, as she tries to go on with her lonely life, and for the same, she also gets a hyena, but nobody really believes that she really broke up with Joker. She doesn’t really have any good friends, but everyone seems to know her for the association with Joker. To announce her break up to everyone, she blows up Ace Chemicals were she had her best time with Joker, and this time, she gets the attention of everyone. Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) is the first one to come after Harley for exploding Ace chemicals, and others who have held a grudge against her also follows. Ending the relationship with Joker does have its own negative effects for her.

So, what happens with the events here? :: A good number of people now wants her dead, or at least punished for what she had been doing. This includes not just the criminals and police, but also anyone on the streets whom she had offended – it includes a large number of people. Without Joker’s protection, she finds it difficult to move around safely. But she figures out that she will live her life her own way this time. The biggest mafia leader of the area is Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), the crime lord who wishes to have full control over the Gotham City. Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) earlier worked as a singer in his club, but gets a promotion as his driver during important meetings, after he sees her fight on he streets. Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina), the right hand man of Sionis losses a diamond which was supposed to be very important to him, and it turns out that it was taken by Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a young pickpocket who doesn’t hesitate to steal anything from anyone on the streets. The girl also swallows the diamond before being taken to the police station.

And what else is to follow with this strange series of incidents in Gotham City? :: At the same time, a vigilante known as The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) also appears on the streets, killing people all around the city, and nobody really knows what she is after. It does gives more of a head ache to Renee though, as she has been someone not able to get the credit even after working so hard in the police department. With murders happening with crossbows, and Harley also on the loose, Sionis wants the diamond back as soon as possible. For the same, he asks the help of every mercenary in the city, including Harley, who had also started calling herself a professional mercenary with her previous experience in Task Force X, the government funded group of criminals and supervillains. Harley breaks into the police station, and a number of mercenaries also follow her, but she manages to escape with the pickpocket kid, only to be continued to be hunted throughout the city. Dinah and Renee want to save the kid too, but time is running out.

The defence of Birds of Prey :: The film scores with its cast as expected, and while Margot Robbie has already proven herself as the crazy lover of Joker with a PhD in Psychiatry and experience with treating the craziest, Mary Elizabeth Winstead who is known more as the scream queen of horror flicks, has done fine work here – others are okay, even though I wouldn’t consider them to belong here as much as these two manages. The final fight scene scores high with the ambience being used there, and it is something which suits a horror movie more. There are also some humour added here and there, and for that too, the film is highly dependent on Margot Robbie, who seems to have got into that character so well again, and that makes one wonder what would have happened if Joker was also there. The fight sequences are nice, mostly when related to her, and even though left with less number of scenes, Mary Elizabeth Winstead also drops in nicely. The film is also full of colours, and they provide a special feeling to the movie.

The claws of flaw :: The absence of at least a cameo from Joker does have some effect on this film which could have used a little bit more of madness, as there seems to be a little bit too much sanity in here. Along with the same, the character of Rosie Perez seems to be weaker in comparison, and Ewan McGregor plays not that strong a villain as one would expect, with him being only a billionaire with a lot of henchmen – nothing more for him here. Some moments in the movie are also too silly, even when staying within the limits of silliness, and could have been avoided. The movie could have been shorter that way, and it should have stuck to Quinn to make that happen in a better manner. It is also a little bit too violent without reason, a quality which is not the best explored by a DC film. The film also leaves a question if it was trying to be a little bit of Charlie’s Angels by focusing on it as an action movie, but it is understandable, because Harley Quinn is that kind of a character, and only a little bit of the metahuman strength is unleashed here by anyone.

How it finishes :: DC Extended Universe always required more films which though differently, and this is surely one of them. There is a space being left behind after Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame nicely finished the biggest events of Marvel Extended Universe, and now it is up to DC to do the same and bring something grand, despite Justice League not doing that well as it should have managed, and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice failing to gain appreciation. Unlike what was expected, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are the hopes of DC, and I would say that Suicide Squad was one too, even though many people were not really able to get their heads into it. Taking Harley Quinn out of it, and making this film will only help the next part of the second film on the squad when released, for Birds of Prey is a fun-filled entertainer which maintains the same feeling up to an extent, even though not beautifully poetic as that film happened to be. Once again, fun is guaranteed for sure.

Release date: 7th February 2020
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Cathy Yan
Starring: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Wonder Woman

Vampire Owl: I see that humans have come up with another one with superpowers. They are never short of heroes who don’t exist.

Vampire Bat: The superheroes have also grown up with their civilizations along with the myths.

Vampire Owl: I do wonder how they manage to remember the names of this many superheroes. Maybe they have a list.

Vampire Bat: Well, there are the very famous ones, and then there are those which come in the next level of popularity. They remember only those whom they want to.

Vampire Owl: I had once known only Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and He-Man.

Vampire Bat: And there was also The Phantom and Mandrake, plus we knew some X-Men beginning with the Wolverine.

Vampire Owl: The rest certainly came late except for those who had regular access to DC and Marvel Comics.

Vampire Bat: And we are having a lot extra of the same now; remember there was even Doctor Strange who seemed like Mandrake to us.

Vampire Owl: DC and Marvel should be in a battle for more.

Vampire Bat: I am actually tired counting these superheroes, but there are some who needs more attention due to the variety.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Diana Prince a.k.a. the Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) receives an old photograph from Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (Ben Affleck) after the events in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which seemingly lead to the death of Superman (Henry Cavill) in the hands of the monster known as Doomsday. This image open a flashback to when Diana was a child and was training with the Amazons in the island of Themyscira, a place hidden from the outside world. Looked after carefully by her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright), she has a fascination to fighting, which they reluctantly agrees to have her go through. With a fear of war always in their heads, the Amazons are always ready for battle, with their combat training, in which Diana excels. But they know, and keep telling her that there is more to her than what meets the eye, and they understand that she is not really one of them by birth.

So, what happens next? :: Diana rescues a pilot named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) after his plane manages to get through the fog and enter the coast of Themyscira. The Amazons kill the German soldiers chasing him with their arrows, but Antiope dies protecting Diana. It is revealed that Steve has been working as a spy for the Allies during World War I and has stolen valuable information from a weapons facility in the Ottoman Empire. With the help of the Turks, the German General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) is having his sadistic scientist Doctor Maru a.k.a. Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) produce a new kind of gas which could deviate the war in their direction. Learning that millions could die if the German general has his way, Diana decides to leave the island with Steve and her weapons. She intends to find the God of War, Ares, and stop this war to end all wars. Despite their doubts, the Amazons decide not to stop her.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Their arrival at the city of London has Diana in doubts, but she goes along with his plans hoping to find the God of War and finish him off to save humanity. Despite providing the officials with his information, Steve is told to hold off any act against the Germans as an armstice is being discussed. But knowing that General Erich Ludendorff will not hold off his plan to release the gas, Steve decides to the frontlines, arranging a small team including a spy and language expert, Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), expert sniper Charlie (Ewen Bremner), and a smuggler Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) who helps them to get to the front. With no hope of getting through the lines, Diana decides that she has to take this to the next level. But how far can she go in search of the God of War, and how far will it lead her team of five through the First World War?

The defence of Wonder Woman :: There are many names which have come in favour of being the Wonder Woman, but Gal Gadot surely steals the show this one. Known the most for her work in the Fast and Furious series, that is surely going to change now, if it hadn’t with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. If you don’t watch this movie or ban it because she is in there, it is your loss – we have heard about people boycotting movies over the beliefs of one person, as they cruelly did with Ender’s Game, and also the nationality or other work is no reflection of the movie that he or she acts in – the irritating fans could be a better reason. She is brilliant in this one, with so many shades of a superhero being present here. Chris Pine also brings a fine, controlled performance here, even though he will always be remembered for Star Trek and its sequels more than any other. There is also that wonderful world in 3D, especially that of the Amazons, and we also have the explosions with all the shooting and all the rest that goes on in a superhero movie.

Positives and negatives :: The movie has some of the most memorable battle scenes, first one with the Amazon warriors battling the Germans on the beach and the second one with Wonder Woman making her way through the No Man’s Land. The final battle is not that much, with too much darkness on the screen at times, and at other times having too many explosions – the idea of the God of War could have also been left as it was expected to be, as we know humans and the evil that they bring to their world. I wouldn’t depend that much on the villains either, and even that twist feels rather unwanted – humans could have been left their right to be the villains in their own tale. The first half is also superior to the second, with the nice humour and the Amazon world becoming the highlights. There is also some balance here, without the overdose of heroism, except for what comes in the end. It is still a case of surprise seeing not many multiplexes showing this movie, and not many people wishing to watch it even on a holiday – there were like ten to fifteen people when I watched the same.

How it finishes :: Wonder Woman makes sure that the battle between Marvel and DC is on, and with Justice League coming up, we are sure to have them bringing the battle to Avengers. With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice not being an assurance, and Suicide squad despite being an excellent one not working for those who decided not to embrace its poetic beauty on the screen, DC was to be left with those Dark Knight movies and up-to an extent, Man of Steel. But that won’t be the case from now on, and Wonder Woman begins that programme of resurrection. Well, with the shield and their ideas about the world, Wonder Woman can be DC’s own Captain America, but what one has to remember is that Avengers did it first, and Justice League is only following – with Marvel having the advantage, the question remains if DC can come up as strong as its competitor, without Christopher Nolan? The answer is to come late, but until then, we can enjoy Wonder Woman.

Release date: 2nd June 2017
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Ewen Bremner, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Saïd Taghmaoui, Madeleine Vall Beijner, Ann Wolfe, Mayling Ng, Florence Kasumba

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.