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.

Suicide Squad

suicidesquad-1

What is the movie about? :: During the events that follow Superman’s (Henry Cavill) death in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, CIA’s Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) assembles Task Force X, a team consisting of dangerous criminals. The team was to consist of a highly skilled hitman who is never supposed to miss with his gun in the hands – Deadshot (Will Smith), a former psychiatrist who has a lot of madness inside her which she isn’t afraid to show to the world creating chaos – Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), a pyrokinetic gangster who refuses to be evil anymore after a disaster – El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), a thief who is exceptionally skilled in using boomerang – Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), a genetically mutated crocodile-like human supposed to have cannibalistic tendencies along with his superior strength – Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and a mercenary with high level grappling and scaling skills with a lot of combat practice – Slipknot (Adam Beach).

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Amanda intends to use them for the defence of the nation, as the big void which was left by the superhero’s death is sure to make it easy for the dangerous and twisted criminals and metahumans to strike terror upon the heart of common man, and the usual military and police might not be able to stop them. The new expendable assets are placed under the command of Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). Each member has a nano bomb inside their necks, which could be activated to explode, so as to make sure that none of these criminals try to do anything smart of make an attempt to escape. Another one whom Amanda intend to recruit is Rick Flag’s girlfriend and archeologist Dr. June Moone (Cara Delevingne) whose other form is Enchantress, an ancient goddess and witch who has taken over her body, and appears at times.

So, what all trouble awaits our people? :: Enchantress is not someone who will take this dishonour of her godly self lightly, as she turns on Amanda for imprisoning her, and with the help of her brother Incubus (Alain Chanoine), unleashes terror. The ancient evil finds herself ready to destroy everything that humans holds dear in return for their disrespectful treatment of her. With their vast magical abilities, the brother and sister duo takes control of a subway station and transforms humans into monsters listening only to their command. But Enchantress is just one of their problems as there is someone else after them – The Joker (Jared Leto) who is coming to get Harley Quinn. The situation only gets worse when the team members get the reality about what all are being hidden from them. But they form the last hope for humanity in a world without Superman – what will they choose to do with the world having done nothing for them?

The defence of Suicide Squad :: We can consider this movie more as some kind of poetry in motion, with lots of music being used here and there, and the way in which the action progresses is also nothing less than poetic – you will see a lot of it with the Harley Quinn – Joker sequences which come as flashback scenes. The movie had to introduce so many characters at once, and this one has managed to do that – something which a lot of movies will fail to do, and some of them won’t even try, and in that case, Suicide Squad is a clear winner with its attempts. There are smart dialogues and fine action sequences, with those special effects doing the job really well. Unlike the fake characters in the overrated Guardians of the Galaxy, there is no pretending going on here either – we know who all these people, and they make us believe. Well, you don’t need to pretend that you didn’t like this one just because a number of critics said so!

Positives and negatives :: There is no doubt that people will have many reasons to like as well as dislike this movie, and there will be occasions when both will be the same – certain beauty of some parts of this movie will be what some people won’t like, and vice versa; it is how this movie works personally. There are also some characters that go away without being noticed, and even with a full squad, some of them are just not completely there. We surely needed more of the Joker, but it is not there – he is not the villain as some people might have thought, as the Enchantress takes up that position. Also in comparison, one might not find this version of the man to be making that much impact as they wanted him to. Opposite to what some people had said, this is actually a better movie than the hype which was Guardians of the Galaxy, as we get to connect to the bad guys as people in this flick, unlike the fakes which we had there – and the fun here is more real, and so is the danger.

Performers of the soul :: The best of performances begin with Margot Robbie as the crazy female villain who brings a grand effect to us. There is something about each action of the character, and this one is a full entertainer as long as she is there. There is a certain kind of dark poetry related to her, and some of it can be seen also in the Enchantress played by Cara Delevingne who brings one of the better female villains around – there is something about her from the very first time she is introduced, and whether as the witch-goddess or as the archeologist, she looks too good. Will Smith also scores at his moments, as the hitman who makes us emotionally connected to the character. Jay Hernandez has El Diablo going steady, while the rest of the bad guys just follow the path with these people getting to score more than the others, and as I said earlier, the Joker is underused.

How it finishes :: Suicide Squad is special because it is different, and even in that difference, this one is divergent in an excellent manner. Maybe people still wanted to have the same kind of superhero movies, but not with this one – it has decide to change things, and it is one’s choice to like it or go for the “usual superhero saving the day after destroying a whole city and killing so many people around” kind of thing. Even with the so called criminals teaming up, the number of common people killed in this movie is not much – not that much of top level evil in the bad guys, as you can see. This would make a perfect video game too, with these interesting characters around – but if there is a computer game existing for a movie, won’t the pseudo-intellectuals reviewing the movies make this one look even worse with their reviews? Lets hope that movies like Suicide Squad will be saved from such people! At the same time, I hope that you have enough divergence and a little bit of madness in you good enough to understand this movie.

Release date: 5th August 2016
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: David Ayer
Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, Karen Fukuhara, Ike Barinholtz, Adam Beach, Alain Chanoine, David Harbour, Alex Meraz, Jim Parrack, Shailyn Pierre-Dixon, Corina Calderon, Ben Affleck (cameo), Ezra Miller (Cameo), David Ayer (cameo), Jason Momoa (cameo)

suicidesquadd

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Dark Knight Rises

thedarkknightrises (4)

The one thing I am certain about this movie is that it is the one I have waited eagerly in 2012, and what I might differ in opinion with a few is that this is not among the best movies of the year. There is another element in which I would agree on, and it is that this is not the best of the series, and where I disagree is at the level of quality of each movie of the Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, with my favourites going in the same path as the timeline, as Batman Begins is my favourite, followed by The Dark Knight and this one, both separated by not much. But I wouldn’t do that without reasons. Ra’s al Ghul v/s Joker v/s Bane is a battle which has a clear winner for many, but The first one is a villain with something special, a big idea. But Batman Begins succeeds in its story, and the Scarecrow is a better villain than Two Face for sure. Both the Two Face and Bane were not used to their potential, and this is where the first movie of the series scores, as it built this triology out of nowhere, with nothing to support it at a time when Spider-Man and X-Men had the status of being the better loved heroes around here.

Without Batman Begins, there is no dark knight, a term which became incredibly popular and was even used with Novak Djokovic, not that much of an expected winner caught between the rivalry between Rafael Nadal who had clay in his pocket at that time, and Roger Federer who ruled the rest of the clay-less world. Therefore, it is just natural to pay the due respect to that movie which started them all. The Dark Knight had all its fame and glory only due to what the beginning had given its viewers, and I have to admit that I didn’t realize that the first time. But as long as the long list of origin stories are concerned, from X-Men Origins to the recently released Man of Steel, Batman Begins has a high place. The Dark Knight Rises continues that legacy which was handed over to it by the more critically acclaimed and more hyped second movie, and has completed the trilogy in style. The problem which this movie has to face is the long trail of near-perfection in the superhero genre that its predecessors had left for this one, and the same thing is both the good thing and the bad thing for this movie; for this one could improve on box-office, as it went on to overtake its predecessors and become the eighth highest grossing movie of all time grossing over a billion United States dollars. But it is to be noted that unlike its predecessors, the film was not nominated for any Academy Awards.

Eight years have passed after Harvey Dent’s death and the covering of the existence of the Two Face. The organized crime has almost been wiped out completely. Feeling guilty for covering up Dent’s crimes and framing Batman for the same, Gotham City’s Police Commissioner James Gordon writes a resignation speech which revealed the truth concerning the two, but decides not to use it at the last moment. Batman has disappeared and Bruce Wayne has kept himself away from all the action. It is at this moment that a burglar Selina Kyle appears, known to most of the fans as the Cat Woman. Bane’s appearance is the other major thing which changes the scenario, as he intends to fulfill Ra’s al Ghul’s mission to destroy Gotham City and thus fulfill the aim of the League of Shadows. He punishes Batman and breaks his back, and then puts him in a prison from where escape is almost impossible. The fellow prisoners tell him the story of Ra’s al Ghul’s child, born in the prison and cared for by a fellow prisoner before escaping, the only prisoner to have ever done so – Batman assumes the child to be Bane, and his actions the revenge for what Batman did to his father.

Meanwhile, Bane traps Gotham police underground and destroys all the exits. He converts Bruce’s own reactor core into a nuclear bomb and uses the bomb to hold the city hostage and isolate Gotham from the rest of the world. Using Gordon’s speech which he had stolen, Bane reveals the cover-up of Dent’s crimes telling the people that the whole police action and passed laws based on Dent’s act was a lie and releases the prisoners from different jails. There is a kind of revolution and the wealthy and powerful have their money and property taken away, are dragged from their homes, and forced to trials presided over by Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a the Scarecrow, where any sentence means death on most occasions and otherwise exile. After months of recovery and training both the body and the mind to face Bane, Batman manages to escape the prison and reach Gotham City, and enlist the help of Cat Woman and the others. But with a pseudo-revolution on the run, and all the criminals on the streets with no police force to stop them, Batman has more than what he would wish for this time. It is up-to him to stop the man who broke his back with relative ease, and to prevent whatever Ra’s al Ghul had intended to do.

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne a.k.a Batman continues his conquests, and here his performance is lowered only due to the absence of a villain who was as good as those in the first two movies, and there is no intellectually superior mastermind who decides who lives and who dies, and there is no wretched of the soul who is half Loki and half Lucifer, made with everything evil and everything psychotic. Instead he has a militant who is more of a physical threat than mental. Unfortunately, his thoughts and decisions are not his alone and himself outsmarting Batman was not something for which he could take credit, and at that point, he loses his significance and still not his presence and power. Still, Tom Hardy’s Bane is excellent in what he does. Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle a.k.a Cat Woman becomes a revelation in the movie, and it is evident that she has trained extremely tried and tried her best to fit into that costume which so much physically demanding. Marion Cotillard outshines herself in the second half, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake comes up with a pleasant performance. Michael Caine and Gary Oldman plays the two normal characters in the movie who makes any impact.

Christopher Nolan did make Inception just a few years before this with that touch of brilliance, it was what stood between the two sequels; it was something which further accelerated the expectations. Here, we get some of it, and considering the fact that Batman has undergone evolution and there is no real base for the same, and there is no end to this superhero, we have to respect this title despite of the hype. It has done all that it could do, but it did nothing spectacular, and yet, this is very well done. It was a good decision to continue the Ra’s al Ghul legacy, and it was hundred percent a good decision not to make this in the 3D – full marks to that. There are movies that are to be enjoyed for fun, and even with all the entertaining elements in this movie, it scores slightly higher at the intellectual level rather than how it is supposed to happen in a regular superhero movie. The movie also leaves open slots, not just for a sequel, but also for a Cat Woman and a Robin spin-off as well as Justice League of America movie, in the model of The Avengers. It is certain that we haven’t seen even a little bit of what the DC’s cinematic universe has to offer its viewers. There is a lot coming, that is for sure with this one being the third highest grossing film of 2012 and also the third highest grossing superhero film of all time.

There is no doubt that the caped crusader has grown enough to lead the Mount Olympus of superheroes as the Zeus of this generation, with his biggest arch-rival Superman failing to live up-to the hype, and his next best rival Spider-Man slowly fading from the scene – both of them coming up with below-the-bat reboots which fails to challenge the Man-Bat. These three are challenged not by those superheroes of childhood, The Phantom and He-Man, but by the man they call Iron Man and his gang of Avengers, as well as X-Men, but they all follow a different path. The world’s greatest detective with the Bat logo has nothing to worry about his position right now, but in case of a reboot, it is all upto him to lose, as the rest have only gotten better. The concept of billionaire playboy, industrialist, and philanthropist itself already has been challenged by Iron Man, and with Man of Steel all the dark elements; The Amazing Spiderman has conquered the heroic elements, and whenever the abilities are glorified, there was X-Men First Class, with Wolverine to follow this year. Therefore, this domination of the dark knight is in a precarious position, and as this end to the trilogy was not as perfect as expected, there is surely a storm coming, and it would consist of more than one superhero. The only fear that I have is that can the Batman remain Batman for long, or will he be completely transformed into the dark knight, and Superman into the man of steel? It is that question which will be answered in a decade.

Release date: 20th July 2012
Running time: 165 minutes
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Juno Temple

thedarkknightrises copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.