Doctor Strange Movie Review Podcast Part 2

Doctor Strange is still making its rounds in theaters and there is plenty of buzz surrounding how good this film really is. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it one of Marvel’s best? Find out here as the Outkasts of Podcasts (Joshua Dairen and Jordan Wright) review (part 2) one of the hottest comic book films of 2016!!! Disagree? Agree? Drop some comments. Let’s Talk!

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Doctor Strange Movie Review Podcast

Doctor Strange has officially made it past opening weekend and there is plenty of buzz surrounding how good this film really is. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it one of Marvel’s best? Find out here as this guy reviews one of the hottest comic book films of 2016!!! Disagree? Agree? Drop some comments. Let’s Talk!

Make sure to like, share, post, repost, retweet, snap, whatever if you dig this!

 

Creative Space: A Letter to the Ambitious Creative

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Deep down inside of you there is a fire that burns and from the outside looking in, that fire may seem like it is out of control. Wild, even. But you know exactly what it burns for. You may not know why, but it is the source by which you create and create well. Your parents probably hate that you do not care about the medical field as much as you do for your passions, but to you, that does not really matter because you are a creative, you know it, and you will not allow that to be taken from you.

As a creative, you realize that you have a lot to give and you feel the weight of people not quite appreciating that. It is not a complaint, just awareness, so you work harder and harder to get people to notice your work and your talent. You have put your time and effort into what you have made and wish that others could see that instead of picking it apart because it is a little bit different than the standard. Sometimes that makes you wonder if being a creative is worth the comments you get from people when it comes to your art.

As a creative, you fall into a niche that many claim, but not many are a part of. You are in love with art, genuinely, and not just yours. You write, but can see the abstract techniques that a dancer uses while in their element. Or you sing, but love how a cinematographer can create a tone that makes a film go from good on paper to great on-screen. Or You might draw. You might be a print-maker. You might blow glass. Whatever it is, it reminds you to be grateful for the demographic you fall in and all that comes with it.

You know there is a reason for this. The same feeling you get when your hands have made something is the same feeling you get when watching another creative excel in their craft. It is an atmosphere produced that you cannot fully explain. There is an undrainable energy birthed by either your craft or another’s. And there is a reason.

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God has given us all something that can be called creative space. It goes beyond this imaginary “box” that most people say we do or do not need to be inside of. This creative space is not something that is necessarily a box at all or any shape at that matter. It is literally a space. It is a place that resembles the proverbial “lane” made specifically for us, but unlike a lane, there are not only two directions we can go and it often overlaps with another’s.

And though our creative spaces are different, they all intertwine in some way, hence the exuberance you feel when a work of art that you have had no part in can touch you inside your soul unlike anything else. No matter what we create, we cannot do it entirely alone nor were we meant to. Embrace that. That is a gift that is unlike any other. Though some people will not understand it or try to suppress it, you are an artist, and you create based on the passion for art that lies within you. THAT is your space. It is a part of you because God wanted YOU to be the creative you are at this very moment. Your creative space makes you unique. You were given YOUR mind and YOUR hands and YOUR innermost desires because there were things meant for you to create now. You may not even know what that even means for you, but that should not stop you.

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Being a creative is hard. Sometimes it does not pay well if at all (in some cases). Sometimes it takes years for you to come to grips with the fact that something more technical is not a part of your purpose. That is incredibly uncomfortable, but the sooner we understand that it is coherent with our destiny, the more of who we really are and what makes our heart beat can be found in the things that we create.

So for you, the creative, who may be discouraged or simply tired of not fitting into the world’s standards of who you should be or what you should be doing, remember this. You were given a creative space and blessed with the opportunity to be a creative in this age because God intended you to create in a time such as this one. Keep your head up and do not stop creating. It is what you were made for.

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Justice League Could Be The DCEU’s Total Package

Justice League is shaping up to be among the most anticipated movies of 2017. After the mixed reactions towards the other three films of the DC extended universe, it has a large mountain to climb in order to win over the hearts of the public and put the DCEU back into the good graces of comic movie fans.

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Photo: Warner Bros.

A huge concern is obviously that there has already been a major team up in film. Marvel’s Avengers has established itself in the film community and unfortunately, Justice League has to follow in its footsteps. With the previous films in the DCEU not being as critically received in the industry, it would seem that Justice League is already starting from behind, but it certainly is not, IF DC’s Wonder Woman is well-developed and can perform at a level that shows fans great promise of what’s to come in their universe.

Justice League does not necessarily have to be a cult classic. It just has to be a good, well-thought out movie and it can learn from the films that came before it and build a solid foundation and present the world with something that leaves fans not just satisfied, but positive about the direction the relatively young DCEU is going.

Man of Steel

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Photo: Warner Bros.

Mixed reactions or not, Man of Steel attempted to tell a different story of the most popular superhero of all time. The silver screen has been littered with stories focusing on the more campy side of Superman. Almost all of them, if not ALL of them, did their best to paint Kal-El as the hero everyone loved and accepted and the ultimate hero that the villains just could not tolerate. Man of Steel did the opposite. Zack Snyder, the director, pushed to tell the story of the man before the story of the savior. Regardless, it focused on storytelling and whether or not it was accepted or effective, it was powerful statement that there is more to Superman than carrying planes and leaping buildings. Justice League has an opportunity to do the same and drive home a story that goes beyond their personas as heroes, but their lives outside of them and how they factor into their motivations to save the world, not as solo acts, but as a unit.

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Photo: DC Comics

This writer was not a big fan of this film, but that still does not take away from the good things and strengths that came from this movie. A dysfunctional film gave fans beautiful cinematography,settings, and the score was absolutely stunning. Though the material did not always match their quality, they were something that were definite positives for the film. These are all three things that Justice League needs to be on track for a well-received movie. Cinematography, settings, and score can legitimately make or break a movie and it would not to do justice to the League (pun possibly intended) to overlook these elements as major keys to make this film successful.

Suicide Squad

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Photo: Warner Bros. 

This film stood out as the most fun of the three. It was displayed as an adventure and played off the weakness of the team (their lack of coherent motivations, personalities, and depth of evil) and made it the film’s greatest strength. This third installment in the DCEU had reactions split in the middle the same as its predecessors, but it was the truest sign of potential that this universe has shown since its conception. Messy at times and lacking good layering for the villains, Suicide Squad focused on giving the fans something that they would enjoy and pushed the chemistry of the characters as a focal point. With the Justice League being a film that features a lot of characters, showcasing the chemistry, or lack thereof, amongst them can become an intriguing side story that adds to them having to come together and save their world. Not only that, but with so many characters, Justice League can really ramp up the fun factor and deliver a film, that is well-rounded in all aspects and not just one or a few.

More than anything, the fans just want a movie from DC that they feel lived up to their expectations. They want a movie that makes them excited about what is happening and what is to come, keeps them invested emotionally, tells a great story, and positively plays to their senses. Each of the movies that came before Justice League had tastes of these elements, but this film has the potential to be the culmination of all them. Justice League does not come out until 2017, but in the meantime, if the DCEU can learn from itself, there is a lot to look forward to as far as Justice League is concerned.

Nostalgia and the New Era: The Return of Veterans and Classics to the Big Screen

The landscape of movies is constantly changing. At second glance, it would be easy to believe that today’s date was somewhere between 1990 and 2005. More and more, stars that we assumed were well past their primes have been saturating screens, both big and small, and have begun to make their presence known once again refusing to get lost in the shuffle.

These past few years have created the opportunity for older stars to return to the medium that made them and it has been welcomed with open arms from those who find themselves on the outside looking in, wondering how this resurgence began and why.

Careers have been completely revitalized even as the new wave of talent has come flooding in. Winona Ryder in Stranger Things, which has already become a cult classic, is a reminder of the star she was in the 90’s through her performance.

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Ben Affleck, who was nearly forgotten, rose from the ashes as the new Batman in the DC extended universe.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Michael Keaton got a fresh start again as Birdman and is now a featured character in the upcoming Spider-Man film.

Photo: Fox Searchlight

And now, Eddie Murphy has come out of a long hiatus to grace the big screens as Mr. Church.

Photo: Andy Kropa

This era of millennials is fascinated with nostalgia. Not only is the clothing littered with vibes from the 1990’s, but film has been tapping into the need for millennials to feel the decades that have passed them by. Star Wars is one of the shining examples of that as its 2015 release broke records and showed that it was still very much relevant to even the casual fan.

Filmmakers and television show runners alike are beginning to see the power in nostalgia hence the massive push for remakes and continuations of popular films.

Photo: Comingsoon.net

Power Rangers is a movie that has become a headliner already as a major remake of a popular franchise in 2017. The anticipation and buzz that this film has created has managed to get fans excited, maybe a little worried, but definitely ready to experience the what the Rangers have to offer to the silver screen…again.

Photo: Robert Zuckerman

Bad Boys III makes the list as a continuation of another film that has had a bit of time gap since its predecessor Bad Boys II. The thought of a sequel featuring two long-term veterans in Will Smith and Martin Lawrence already ushers in an atmosphere of the same magic they captured in both movies. Fans want to see it and for good reason. Two top-tier actors are returning to a franchise years later after the hopes of a final film to form a trilogy were not as likely as some wanted. Now, Bad Boys III has been greenlit and is looking to capitalize on this new era’s focus on classics.

As mentioned before, it is not just the films that are getting a vintage retouch. Their actors are as well. Expect to see many more pioneers of the entertainment industry to make their fateful comebacks in various forms of media. Now is the time where the door is wide open for them to return and hopefully continue to resurrect their careers for a new and changing generation.

Agree? Disagree? Leave your opinion in the comments below and let’s chat!

Marvel, Holland, and Watts: Recapturing the Magic of Spider-Man

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“Tom Holland has been cast as the newest web-slinger” was the tagline heard around the world nearly a year ago. That news was met with much chagrin as people began researching a little known actor that they figured would be unfit to don the mantle of Peter Parker. What they did not know was that Tom Holland was not only a great fit to be the cinematic universe’s next Spider-Man, but that Marvel Studios had bigger plans for him entirely.

Most importantly, they had plans to make him the face of a new era and use him to bring a new type of movie to the screens where what is seen is a mirror of the world: Youthful, diverse characters that are relatable despite their powers and are evolved from their classic, straight forward iterations that sometimes feel too “in the box” and not very reflective of modern-day society.

What is so different this time?


There is a certain anxiety that follows the silver screen’s Spider-Man and arguably for good reason. Audiences have been met with two different versions, both received with mixed reactions. They did their own thing and for the purists out there, just did not cut it. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has a great opportunity here and he has already found a way to stand out from his counterparts. Why? With about twenty of minutes of screen time in a movie that had no true focus on him, Holland was able to establish a genuine connection with the audience.

Some of that can be attributed to the material he was given in Captain America: Civil War. The rest falls on his shoulders. He carries an uncanny charisma in his performance and portrays Peter Parker in a light that many have been waiting for: a jovial, confident hero with a mouth who actually enjoys the responsibility of saving people (to some degree) unlike his adult allies (minus Scott Lang, he’s like half an adult at best) and temporary enemies. In the little time he is given, he manages to show how much he differs from that persona when he is not wearing his suit, the thing that makes him feel the most powerful. That dynamic matters and in fact, drives the character entirely. His internal fortitude never changes. The person who carries it does and audiences will be brought front and center to this in a way they have yet to experience with Spider-Man in cinema.

This combination will bring a unique movie to comic themed film. 

Spider-Man: Homecoming will be among the most unique and diverse films in the comic-centered, cinematic universe…yes, even next to Black Panther. This story will follow Peter Parker, who lives in Queens (Diversity, USA), who is a freshman in high school, and has to juggle his multiple responsibilities: school, home, and crime (because crime is selfish and waits for no man, not even for Spider-Man). And for the first time, the struggles Peter has to deal with between them are the focus and not just plot devices.

Peter Parker is the embodiment of caring about people enough to try to make powers and normal life work, even if it is not successful many times. To see someone fight for balance in a realistic setting is something that all people can and will relate to because that same power struggle is constant for almost everyone, not just a few. That matters and that alone will muster up empathy, sympathy, and at the core of it, be relevant to the audience. He will be the first superpowered hero to be broken down in this aspect. Without his suit he has to deal with insecurities. He is a shadow. He has to maximize the few things he does have. And he is in high school, a place where most people have dealt with the same exact issues he will be facing. From that alone, he sincerely looks like many of the fans who are going to see him in the movies.

That focus helped Jon Watts land the role of director. It was his vision to do so. He says in an interview with the Daily Beast, “It’s been really fun to just look for things that none of the other Spider-Man movies have really explored before, and decide if that’s something we want to work into that. And really making it a high school movie, and committing to that, and not having that just be the beginning of the movie. The John Hughes sort of tone. When you’re looking at it through that prism, it really opens up the door to a lot of possibilities.” This movie has already set itself apart and will most likely be the first of many more to come.

The New Era is a diverse era.

(Photo : Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

This “new era” of the comic universe has not necessarily been met with great applause. In return for the diversity of characters, some fans find themselves on the giving end of great criticism. It is understandable. It is easy to get used to something and never wanting to see it change and fighting any alteration of it no matter the benefits it may have. In spite of that, there has been a giant push for diversity in the comics and Spider-Man will be the first full on representation of that in comic film. After all, the generation we are in now and the generation that comes next deserves to have comic characters that are like them and share their issues too.

As Dan Slott (if you do not know who he is, please do yourself a favor and look him up) would say, “It’s okay to share the toys.” And that is correct. Though some characters will never be altered from a diversity standpoint, it is okay to intervene and make adaptions to others. Every one deserves representation even if it is not necessarily well received.

This movie is set up to make big strides in diversity in its setting as well. He is Peter Parker with a cast of nothing but diversity. There is Zendaya, Tony Revolori, Logan Marshall-Green, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier and Kenneth Choi, and many other names as well. Most of the actors named here are different from each other and definitely represent different things, not to mention there is an emphasis on youth and that is for a reason.

Jon Watts says it like this while talking to the Daily Beast, “Peter Parker goes to high school in Queens and Queens is one of — if not the — most diverse places in the world, so I just wanted it to reflect what that actually looks like.” If he is reflecting what Queens looks like in the most realistic of ways, then there is a strong possibility that even the extras will represent that. This is an age where the environment, the characters, and their issues should reflect the world around. With that being said, that means classic iterations need to have room to evolve especially if the industry has any chance of surviving with its mainstream appeal now. The focus on diversity is unlike any other film in this genre and that is a GOOD  thing and will hopefully set the bar for others moving forward. This version of Spider-Man has chosen to take that by the horns.

Marvel is sold and that is what matters. 


Marvel has more than established that they at least have a working idea of whom to cast and how to portray them…and it is not just Marvel Studios. They give tremendous freedom to the directors they choose for their projects and this one is no different. As stated before, Jon Watts came in with a vision to shed light on Spider-Man and Peter Parker in a way that we have never seen before. Focusing on the character first, then the story. That alone sold Marvel, Kevin Fiege in particular, on how they would cast their new Peter Parker.

Tom Holland and his ability to imitate the Spidey that they were looking for made waves with them and even the heart and soul of the Marvel brand, Stan Lee. In an interview during Denver’s Comic Con he praises Holland and says, “Oh, he’s wonderful. I was with him the other day. He is great. I can’t believe it. It’s as if we created a living being to be Spider-Man, and it turned out to be Tom.” This is Stan Lee’s character. He literally created him and for him to give such high adulation to Holland speaks volumes for him to be the face of a new era where youth, different orientations, and a plethora of races and their issues are the centerpiece.

Time will tell if Holland lives up to expectations. Whether he does or not, he is being poised to be the face that carries this generation into a new era. It is hard to think that Marvel, Holland, and Watts do not have what it takes to capture the magic of the friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man.

Any thoughts? Feel free to leave comments. Let’s talk!

The Comic Universe and Diversity: Why It Is Not Waiting for Us

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Nerd culture is becoming a big deal these days. Its popularity has transformed from a sub-genre to mainstream fame. So many people are becoming invested into this culture and this investment brings an often heavily debated issue with it: Diversity.

It is important for any business to keep up with the current status quo. With the present resurgence of the comic industry and its characters, this universe is one that does not have the time to wait before it adapts. Companies like Marvel, DC, and Boom! are all pushing what they think is the best representation of the world through our lens and with that, comes something that some of us have yet to accept. Diversity is a key motivation behind their business model and while some of us do not agree that it is the right stride for them, it is absolutely necessary and long overdue.

For anyone who has followed major comic book characters, one of the most glaring issues has always been the lack of diversity. Sure, there have been a few main or supporting characters that shared the same stage as the A-listers, but they have been far and in between for decades. The comic industry noticed, whether it was from fan mail full of complaints, celebrities like Donald Glover speaking up (let’s all thank him for Miles Morales), or the writers in general recognizing the need for a change.More and more, great leaps have been made to expand the growing demographic of the comic universe.

We have seen a Pakistani teen take the mantle of Ms. Marvel.

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We have seen a Latina woman become a Green Lantern.

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We have seen an asian supergenius become the roaring, raging Hulk.

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We have seen a young black girl, RiRi Williams, reverse engineer Tony Stark’s Ironman suit and step up as his heir apparent.

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And that is just a few of the new guys. These are monumental changes to major characters that matter and have drastic effects in this society…especially in this society.

One could say that this type of diversity is insincere and a ploy to capitalize on a new movement. There are those that would argue this to the grave, but is that actually true or is the comic universe just reflecting what society is actually becoming? Is this new push similar to the one in the era of blaxploitation which happened to also create Luke Cage in the 70’s?

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This seems different. It is hard to think that if heroes and villains were to exist in the likeness of their comic book counterparts NOW they would not come from different backgrounds, races, and orientations. On top of that, our most beloved superhumans would probably mirror that too. The writers and developers of the comic industry have picked up on this and have chosen to act accordingly.

I can remember growing up and being entranced with comics, their movies, their television shows and whatever I could get my hands on. One thing that stood out was that I did not truly have someone who I could relate to. There were a few prominent black heroes, but that did not mean I could realistically imagine myself imitating them in real life whether it was in my play time fantasies or Halloween. One hero stood out in particular. Peter Parker.

Spider-Man. And it was not a striking resemblance between us that I idolized. It was his youth. It was his quirky attitude. It was his familiar issues with growing up and school that made him empowering and appealing to me. But that was me. Uniquely me. I found the silver lining in the lack of diversity in comics.

Now, though, we are in a generation where diversity is front and center in our nation. It is something not even its citizens can agree on. In that same vein, many are divided when it comes to diversity in the comics. The truth of the matter is that some fans do not want change, but then again, that is something common with most people and that should not stop companies like Marvel, DC, and Boom! from vying for it and trying to push main characters with diverse backgrounds. A widening fan base deserves a wide array of persons that they can relate to.

More than anything, this transition can really have a dynamic impact on youth. Children look up to those that seem to represent them. The same can be said for adults as well. If a black child can look up to Miles Morales as Spider-Man and be empowered, if a muslim girl can see Kamala Khan in action and feel accepted, or if a woman can see X-23 or Wonder Woman and realize that she can be just as powerful in her own life, then the work that the comic universe put in to diversify was all worth it. We need more of that represented in our society.

The comic universe cannot wait for us all to agree. We simply will not. That does not take away from the power that diversity will continue to have in this realm. And when it is all said and done, their sales and influence in the national community will be a good determining factor if this endeavor was worth it for them. It does comes to the point where we have to be adults, willing to accept change, and not fight it so hard. This is a legitimate change that accompanies the climate in which we live. This will not deflect the fact that there will be those who think that our characters should remain classic and classic only and that is an issue I foresee many of us staying divided on.

Despite that, the diversity that we have been getting has been good. It is the way that this universe can be passed down to the next generation. If the comic universe does not adapt, then it has no chance of surviving. Like anything, it has to continue to evolve. It opens the door for fresh stories and new opportunities for more than just one age or demographic group to enjoy. Maybe one day we will all be willing to accept these changes, but until then, the comic universe cannot afford to wait for us and has to keep pressing forward.

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Suicide Squad: The Good And The Ugly Review

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Suicide Squad built up plenty of steam as the August 5th release date finally arrived. We sat in the theaters wanting a good film to be presented to us, nervous that what we witnessed would sour us with another average movie with way too much hype and not enough meat on its bones. As the mid-credits scene ended and we filed out of the theater, the air very much felt sucked out of the room, but this time, not with anger and disappointment, but surprise. Why? Because Suicide Squad was actually good.

Now do not misquote me. Good does not mean elite, as Suicide Squad had some key flaws keeping it from that echelon, but in spite of those flaws, we were given a fun ride and a little bit of the spunk that we have been wanting in our DC movies for some time now. The fun, among other things, gave us something to look forward to in the DC Extended Universe especially with powerhouses like Wonder Woman and the Justice League coming next year. On the flip side, where Suicide Squad gave the fans promise, it also shot itself in the foot in ways that could not be overlooked. Here is where we review the good and the ugly (spoilers)…

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Good: Character Chemistry – It is absolutely undeniable that one of the most compelling aspects of this film is the character chemistry that projected from the screen. For the story that they were trying to develop and the way the characters were used in the film, it drove the movie entirely. If it was not for notable dynamics such as Harley Quinn/Deadshot, the movie probably would not have had as much to stand on, let alone have been as fun as it was. The film was able to take characters that many are not even familiar with and create a sense of family that gave us a reason to care. That is important for any film because the number one goal is not to just have good characters, but for us to be invested in them and their roles with each other. Suicide Squad, for the most part, successfully capitalized on that and it helped elevate this movie significantly.

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Ugly: Poor Character Development – Despite good chemistry, there was a noticeable lack of development for some characters in this movie. One of the most glaring issues that this film presents is the inconsistency that followed at least half of the supporting characters. Their roles are necessary, but their material either made them boring, awkward, or under-utilized. This does not mean that poor character development hurt Suicide Squad entirely, but a touch up on these characters would have been a welcomed addition to the movie. This also does not mean that any of them needed the same amount of time that Harley, Deadshot, and El Diablo were given, but more reasoning for things such as Captain Boomerang’s eccentricity, or Katana’s soul-keeping sword, Killer Croc’s story in general, and a less two-bit feel from Enchantress could have helped, not to mention Rick Flag could have used a more noble overhaul. He felt way more shady than he probably should have. He was okay. That is it. Just okay. A reason to feel for these characters and not just see them could have amplified what we were given drastically.

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Good: Majors in the Minors Suicide Squad did one thing absolutely perfect. They turned our beloved Batman and Joker into side pieces essentially, giving Harley and others their times to shine. There was not enough Joker to say that he overshadowed Harley. As a matter of fact, he did not play the role that many of us believed he would and the lack of his presence, but the outstanding performance of Jared Leto left us wanting more. The execution of the Joker is superb. Batman has a similar role. We get a chance to see Batman, not in his cave, not in his head, not in any point of view for himself, but from the perspective of the villains/anti-heroes. He came across as legitimately intimidating as well as more matured in his crime-fighting stance than the one that was seen in Batman vs. Superman. That is a solid change and both things are something we haven’t really seen before minus a few hit and miss comics/cartoons over the years.

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Ugly: Paper Thin Plot – The plot we were given in Suicide Squad was more thin than a wet piece of two-ply toilet paper. To say the very least, it was disappointing. There were some motivations that just did not make sense. Deadshot’s desire to kill Batman was not convincing. To assume it was so that he could kill people and make money for his daughter is an assumption and not something that was actually shown in the movie. Enchantress and her motivation in general was a let down. She had no depth, her brother had no depth, and her purpose behind destroying humanity seemed forced. It was something that we have seen before in other superhero films, where the villain is completely one-dimensional, but this might have been one of the worst. Amanda Waller just wanting a metahuman army was cliché. Rick Flag being in love with June was typical. DO NOT GET ME WRONG, I am not bypassing what they did right because in some instances the plot was exactly what it should have been, but the simplicity of this plot was not helping it stake its claim. It was the Suicide Squad itself and their relationships, personal and corporate, that pushed the movie…more than its own plot which is a paradox in its own right.

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Bonus Goods:

  • Jay Hernandez/El Diablo – Whether it was his acting or his story arc, he stole the film and I only have one word to describe it and I am going to spell it out for you: N-A-I-L-E-D! NAILED!
  • Margot Robbie came in the clutch and gave the perfect Harley Quinn performance. Totally believable and maybe in the top 5 of best iterations of a character from comics.
  • Will Smith as Deadshot was a reminder that he is elite. Despite his film choices that he has made in these past couple of years, he redeemed himself with this performance that should give all of his fans a resurgence of hope for the rest of his career.
  • Viola Davis/Amanda Waller – She was despicable…exactly how she should have been. More of a bad guy with sometimes good intentions than a good guy with sometimes bad intentions. This portrayal of Waller was what it needed to be. Ruthless, selfish, and completely lady boss-like.
  • Joker emanated charisma and the relationship with Harley that we were shown only magnified one of the most best, live-action adaptions of the Joker that we have ever seen. Jared Leto’s version of the Joker was a unique mix of a dangerous and insane that looked like a lovable threat in this universe to come.
  • El Diablo’s redemption story/arc. I said it twice because it was just that good.
  • Joker’s laughs.
  • Fun – This film was fun and had a lot of funny moments which made it good by default. Even with the flaws, they are mostly overshadowed by the good. Still there, but you care less because you enjoyed yourself. This was a good sign of promise to come for DC films considering very little of this film could get Geoff Johns’ touch.

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Bonus Uglies: 

  • Captain Boomerang barely even threw a boomerang. He felt more like a comic relief character and it feels like they went the wrong direction with his role.
  • Killer Croc – Underused and slightly awkward. His line about BET was misplaced and for him to be such an awesome character, it never really felt like it. His voice and his lines were not the best. Many people loved him. I was not one.
  • Rick Flag – Not sure what went wrong here, but the guy typing this was not convinced. Not even a little.
  • The magic aspect was messy. Do not go with magic unless it is going to be properly established. Otherwise it just makes a mess.
  • Not enough friggin’ Katana.
  • Enchantress. Just Enchantress. Yeah.
  • Editing got in the way of this movie. It was kind of noticeable and it was something that hurt the film a little bit. Some scenes felt like they were missing something that would help the scene make more sense. Of course we will not know until the movie is release for digital download and dvd and we are given the deleted scenes.

Overall, Suicide Squad was a decent movie. It will not stand up with the great superhero movies that we have today, but it is a positive and promising step in the right direction for DC films. Rome was not built in a day. Neither was Marvel or better yet, any great thing that we have. Give DC time and maybe we will remember this movie as the infant child to something great.

And be sure to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn!

To Hoechlin Or Not To Hoechlin?

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(Photo: Warner Bros.)

Ladies and Gentleman, the CW has given us our new television Superman! Clark Kent will come to life thanks to Tyler Hoechlin, a relative unknown except for that time that he starred in Teen Wolf. His casting announcement was followed by one important question: to Hoechlin or not to Hoechlin?

There is quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding this news as Smallville, which featured the last television version of Superman (also on the same network), left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans. Now Hoechlin has big boots to fill, literally, due to the great expectations many place on this role.

The swirl of comments flooding this announcement is very similar to this guy’s: 

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(Photo: The CW)

Remember him? Remember how the internet broke when the world learned that this Glee cast member was being casted as the beloved Barry Allen/Flash? Now, with Grant Gustin at the helm of The Flash, it has become THE best superhero themed television show to exist and arguably, ever. Supergirl and our new Superman deserve the same chance to be great. They have found their way on a network that is now known for its comic book themed television. And yes, it is scary to give such an iconic role to someone who is unproven to most to portray the Superman character and do it justice, but as stated before, Grant took the role of Barry Allen and ran with it (no pun intended) and made it great.

Tyler Hoechlin has the tools and the look to be a good Superman on television. He definitely has the look. He is absolutely YOKED. It is an unsaid requirement that Superman has to be that way. Tyler YOKElin certainly fits the bill:

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Aside from that, he has the acting ability and onscreen presence to sell both Clark Kent and Superman as men with completely different roles that share the same life. IF you have seen any Teen Wolf, there should be no doubt that he can split roles. And with the campy and lighthearted feel that Supergirl tends to have and with CW heading up production, Hoechlin has the ability to take this role under their direction and bring a character that has lacked a lot of depth and give it layers. Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen has exceeded expectations. Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen has exceeded expectations. We have to believe that the current trend of CW establishing main comic book characters will continue with Tyler Hoechlin’s interpretation of Clark Kent.

Before freaking out, let’s give Hoechlin a chance. He may just surprise us all.

 

Batman: The Killing Joke – The Good and the Ugly Review.

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For years, people have been clamoring for Alan Moore’s (writer) and Brian Bolland’s (artist) classic story The Killing Joke to come to life on film. This iconic and classic tale solidifies what many believe is the first definitive origin story for Batman’s arch nemesis the Joker. DC pulled out all the stops as they casted Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to reprise their former roles as Batman and the Joker, the two characters they made famous in what is known as one of the best animated adaptions of Batman to exist, Batman: The Animated Series. Tara Strong and Ray Wise pull up the rear as they voice the daughter-father tandem of Batgirl/Barbara Gordon and Commissioner Gordon.

This film has received nothing short of mixed reactions, but the fact remains, it has earned the indecisiveness of its viewers as they were met with interesting creative choices that literally split this film in half. Here is where we review the good and the ugly:

Good: Voice Talent

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It is absolutely undeniable that the vocal acting was the real star of this film. Regardless of the feelings that accompanied certain areas of this movie, most scenes were driven by strong actors. Mark Hamill is the real MVP of The Killing Joke. He, like we expected, took control of every scene he was in and made the most of it despite how short his time in the film seemed to be. For those of us who have read the graphic novel, it was incredible to witness Mark Hamill’s dialogue lift every monologue off of the screen and into a place where the viewer could feel his emotion, all of it, whether it was in his origin story or his last moments of the film. He once again showed why he is legendary. Ray Wise, who played Commissioner Gordon, also kept up with bigger names as he had a large part to play sharing space with the likes of Kevin Conroy and Tara Strong. Kevin Conroy seemed a bit sleepy at times, but overall, the vocal talent was a shining plus.

Ugly: The Prologue

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At this point, it is cliché to even mention the prologue as a downside to this movie,  but it has to be discussed. The prologue was a creative choice that did not quite work out, for several reasons. Tara Strong did the best she could with her material, but it was not her performance that caused this to backfire. In a way, Batgirl seemed incompetent. She was poised against a two-bit, one-dimensional villain with a ridiculous name, one she could barely handle, which ultimately made her look absolutely average. It played up to the “woman need big man” caveman-esque philosophy that really hurt the depth of this character, no matter how complicated she was portrayed to be. With the understanding that Batgirl needed to be given some source material in order to not seem like a standard plot device, they ended up making her seem rather childish, needy, and weak especially when looking at the man that she shared an onscreen relationship with. It set a relatively stereotypical image that many heroic women characters have been able to stray away from as of late.

Good: The Last Half of the Movie

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Near the middle of the movie, The Killing Joke really begins as the film people were raving to see finally arrives. This movie stops feeling like Batgirl: The Killing Joke, and gets a full head of steam. The Joker makes his way into the movie and the energy instantly shifts. The graphic novel takes shape in cinema form thus becoming a word-for-word adaption until the very end. After having to wait far too long, the extra exposition is over and fans can begin hearing the voices behind what they could only imagine for years. The Killing Joke attacks this story hard and with passion, regaining its identity once again as the cult-classic many comic fans have known it to be. Not much really has to be said as the last half of this movie stand on its own two feet and with authority. This half of the movie separates itself from first half making one consider the idea that it would have been better off by itself.

Ugly: The R-Rating

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In order to spare the general public of a full-blown rant, I will just say this. The buzz surrounding the r-rating was costly and for lack of a better term, pointless. It soured people on what they actually got in the movie which was not THAT much, honestly, not compared to what an r-rating actually means for something expected to be graphic. There was that red stuff, a few cuss words, sexual innuendos, a little skin, and slight hinting of a sexual encounter. On paper, that really does seem like a lot, but visually, it was not. The movie would have been far better off with a lesser tv rating instead of the r-rating that began to seem more like a marketing campaign rather than a reality. The Killing Joke was not as brutal or as graphic as it was portrayed or marketed to be, enforcing why it was met with such mixed reactions and criticism in that regard.

Bonus Ugly: Batman/Batgirl Relationship

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Fifteen minutes into the film and the relationship between Bruce and Barbara is already weird. ALREADY. WEIRD. FIFTEEN MINUTES. Among the noticeable things that just felt wrong was the age gap. Love can be found in spite of age, but the combination of teacher/student and man/girl (not woman, but girl, for a reason) felt off. Them being from two different worlds did not help. It felt forced and pushed together just to make their relationship more complicated than it really had to be. And with Barbara being portrayed in way that made her feel very close to college, if not IN college and Bruce being portrayed in way that made him feel like he has been around well before her time, not to mention being good friends with her dad, their entire physical relationship was an awkward direction for them to go. (I know there is comic precedent for this, but this story is a stand-alone and does not make it less weird). It did have a deeper purpose which did help push the original story a little bit more which leads us to…

Bonus Good: Batman/Batgirl Relationship – The reason that this is included in the good section is because though this was a strange, this relationship made Batman’s connection to Joker that much stronger. His hunt for the Joker became much stronger because of how he felt toward Barbara (which was completely unaddressed, just implied). It adds another layer to the original story which makes Barbara’s injury more personal, and as stated before, not a plot device. It forced Batman’s fight to extend beyond people and the dangers of the Joker and made it for a person. An emotional quest that Batman rarely entertains and consistently separates himself from. It gave more substance to Batman’s quest and gave the viewer more reason to latch on to the climax of the story.

Super Ultra Bonus Ugly – Paris Franz though? I  mean did they even try?

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I do not know if I would advise paying hard-earned money to go see this…sorry DC, but if you want to see the classic graphic novel come to life, take the leap! Who knows, you may find it worth it!

Relax! Brie Larson Will Not Disappoint As Captain Marvel.

Rumors began to run rampant as Marvel seemed to hit its stride in casting announcements. Every role imagined was being filled except for one: Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers). Who would be playing her? Who was even worthy of playing her? Fans began talking and there was one name that was consistently coming up. Ronda Rousey was considered the leading lady by most as people went as far as to photoshop her essence into Captain Marvel attire and passionately petition for her to have the role.

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Marvel had other plans. News outlets started reporting that they had someone else in mind. Someone a little more obscure. Someone who had proven herself, but only to those who were literally paying close attention. At Comic-Con in San Diego, the truth was uncovered and Brie Larson took the stage and confirmed that her talks with Marvel were more than just talk. We can now call her “Cap” and get ready for her to bring that character to life in 2018, but WHO is Brie Larson? I know some of you are thinking, “Why does that name sound so familiar?”

Maybe this will jog your memory.

Envy Adams – Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

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Molly – 21 Jump Street

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And for the real movie watchers, Joy – Room

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Brie Larson was not necessarily on the top of the list when people thought of Captain Marvel, but despite the reluctant acceptance of her new role, there is a reason we can all rest easy and relax in the casting system that Marvel has made a name off of.

I think that we can all agree that Marvel Studios has a track record for two things. One, they have become elite when it comes to matching actors with their hero doppelgänger. Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans are two shining examples of that. Without them, it is really hard to imagine anyone else playing those two roles, almost as if Tony Stark and Steve Rogers could not exist without the two. And two, Marvel has become elite in giving star power to relatively obscure actors in the mainstream world. Paul Rudd (obscure to millennials to say the very least) and Chris Pratt (obscure to anyone who isn’t a millennial and did not watch Parks and Recreation) prove that Marvel has a plan when they facilitate awkward castings. Because of them, Star Lord (Peter Quill) and Ant-Man (Scott Lang), two characters many never thought they would see on the silver screen have become household franchises in the superhero genre.

Brie Larson has legitimate acting chops and she has more than proven herself and the range that she has. Captain Marvel, for some reason, seems to hold the same place in the eyes of people in the comic book realm. Both may not be the most popular, but they definitely have their place and have the ability to push the average fan to appreciate their presence. Larson, as mentioned before, shows incredible range. Her portrayal as Envy in Scott Pilgrim shows an aggressive, but also quirky, captivating character that wields our attention immediately. Joy, in the independent film Room, shows that she has tremendous potential as a mainstay actor for many years to come. She delivers arguably her best performance as a young mother, trapped in an abusive relationship, away from the society she once knew all while trying to protect her son from the evils of the world and own personal life. The diversity in those roles alone should give any fan of the Marvel cinematic universe a reason to find comfort in her talents. [If you have the time, watch them. They are both great movies].

Captain Marvel is a character that needs diversity. It needs someone who can be serious and aggressive enough to don the mantle and command attention from her audience. It needs someone who can be zany and quirky enough to keep up with the likes of a person like Peter Quill. It needs someone who can be fun, charming, and relatable and not seem so out of touch with our reality. It needs someone who has already proven to show these traits in their actual life. These are all things we can pull from Larson so before we freak out and fill the internet and our conversations with worry, understand that Marvel knows exactly what they are doing. They have given us no reason to doubt them.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with Brie Larson and her films so you can see that we are in good hands and relax! She will not disappoint as Captain Marvel.

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