“Justice League” Develops Banality into a Harrowing and Tiresome Art Form

If a committee of Warner Brothers executives got together to work their way through a 300 million dollar paint-by-numbers, it would look like Justice League.

With the odds stacked against it, no expectations, and the fate of exactly nothing of importance hanging in the balance, Justice League is still an utter disappointment.  The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) was recently buoyed by the impressive Wonder Woman film from Patty Jenkins earlier this year, but the franchise is back aground.  Justice League features a hodgepodge of messy scenes, poor storytelling, terrible CGI, lackluster characters, and no real stakes.  These failures are becoming hallmarks of Warner Brothers ill-advised attempts at a grittier version of Marvel, and the embarrassments are becoming too numerous to count.  I guess we’ll do our best.

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“Suicide Squad” is Doomed from the Start by a Lack of Focus, Clarity

With Suicide Squad, writer/director David Ayer has accomplished little beyond kicking the can that is the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) down the road another ten months, leaving us all to hope that maybe, just maybe, Wonder Woman will be the first good DCEU film.  Between a crowded cast of thin characters, a banal and cookie-cutter plot, and a confused jumble of non-themes and stylistic choices, the film is bereft of quality in almost every sense.  Though some top-level performances generate intriguing characters, they are utterly squandered by the surrounding issues and ultimately leave Suicide Squad with a very scattered, up-and-down feel.  While it may not be as unintelligible or frenzied as Batman v. Superman, Ayer’s film possesses the greater flaw:  a bland story.

Continue reading ““Suicide Squad” is Doomed from the Start by a Lack of Focus, Clarity”

How to Improve “Suicide Squad”: Reduce Character Count and Add Zombies

So, Suicide Squad is a flaming heap of garbage, but how do we fix it?  That’s the focus of this piece.  I have a more standard review of the film as a companion piece to this, which is linked above, but in the meantime I decided to present this piece as a reasonable means to improve upon the film.  Suffice to say, this post will contain spoilers for the film beyond what is normal for a review, as I have to discuss intricate plot details.  So, if you’re sensitive to spoilers, you’ve been sufficiently warned.  If you’re still game, what follows will be my humble proposal for how one could avoid the pitfalls that befell Suicide Squad and ultimately arrive at an overall superior film.

Continue reading “How to Improve “Suicide Squad”: Reduce Character Count and Add Zombies”

A Glimpse of Fun in the “Batman v Superman” Trailer?

It is no secret that the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has darker ambitions than its brightly colored and quip-filled Marvel counterpart. Since the DCEU is late to the shared universe party, they are tasked with differentiating themselves, and if Man of Steel and the teaser trailer for the follow-up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are any indication, they want to skew more serious and dramatic. This is fine, as Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy leaned more realistic and was a success. But, this strategy could be quite dangerous if applied across the board (including Man of Steel, 13 DCEU films are in various stages of planning).  While a single film can focus on the darker aspects of the world, I feel like the weight or power of such a choice is diminished by each successive trip to that well. With that in mind, I looked to the new Batman v Superman trailer with the question: is there ever going to be any fun at all in the DCEU?
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