suicide squad.

Obvious spoiler alert.

Let me start off by saying I liked Suicide Squad. I may be in the minority, but I’d give it a solid 3.5 gun emojis out of 5. The acting and casting was incredible (although I’m never sure Cara Delevingne is the right choice for… anything, really), visually the movie looked great, and it didn’t take itself too seriously, which I think is a big downfall for a lot of DC movies. They’re not willing to make fun of themselves (which, when you’re making a movie about superheroes, literally giant men in tights, you need to be able to laugh about it).

But obviously there were things that needed improvement. That’s not a surprise – the movie got 27% on Rotten Tomatoes and is being demolished by critics and movie-watchers. So let’s discuss these necessary improvements, shall we?

The storyline leaves a lot (and I do mean a lot) to be desired. We spent much of the first half of the movie digging into the Squad’s background. It didn’t do much to set up the climax or further the storyline, and it just felt very repetitive – “Here’s this villain, this is why he’s bad, this is why I want him.”  By the time we got through that, the actual story of the movie felt incredibly rushed and not well executed. I hate to be that asshole who compares DC and Marvel, because they’re different universes, different stories, and different characters but DC should have taken a page from Marvel’s book on this one. Marvel decided, “Hey, we should do an Avengers movie. But how are we going to properly introduce all of those different, important characters while still making a good movie with an interesting story? Oh, I know! We’ll make a series of individual movies showcasing each major character before we put out a group movie – that way the audience is already familiar with each character and story arc, and we won’t be playing catchup for half of The Avengers. Brilliant!” That is what DC should have done, because if I was a brand new fan and this was the first superhero movie I decided to watch, I still wouldn’t know who the heck these people are. For example, if I didn’t already know that The Joker was the most sadistic, psychotic, unfeeling villain of all time, my impression of him from this movie would be that he is a socially awkward gangster who needs to visit a dermatologist. These are things you need introduce before you make a Squad movie. You can’t take for granted that the audience knows your characters.

While we’re hovering around him, The Joker’s appearance in the movie was horribly underwhelming. I might be in the minority here once again, but I’m excited for a sequel because I can’t wait to see what Jared Leto actually does with the character. I liked what little we did see, and I want more. He was so under-used in this movie though, it’s criminal. Like I said, you barely get a sense of who he is. Is he a gangster? What’s his endgame? What does he want to do? Does he actually love Harley Quinn? What’s his beef with Batman? Oh, and what’s the deal with Batman? Is he good or bad? Is his identity even a secret anymore? WHAT IS GOING ON?

The more I think about it, I really do think the only problem with this movie was that they didn’t have any real lead-up for it. They just kind of threw it together and assumed their audience knew what the heck they were talking about. Newbies to the genre might have questions like who is Deadshot? Why’s he so angry all the time? What’s his history with Batman? Seems pretty long. Does he know who The Joker is? What about Captain Boomerang? He has a silly name, why does he let people call him that? And what did the Enchantress even want? As the main villain in this movie, her plan seemed pretty vague. Also, if this is a movie about a group of bad people who do really bad stuff, why is breaking a store window and stealing an ugly purse the worst thing we see any of them do?

All in all, I did enjoy this movie and it’s actually making me look forward to seeing another DC movie, which isn’t something I thought I’d say  again, since Christopher Nolan’s Batman is over. But I’m coming away from it with more questions than answers, and since this isn’t LOST and no one is stranded on a weird, magical island, it’s not okay that I’m leaving the theater thoroughly confused. Hopefully the clearly insinuated sequel, or possibly the upcoming Justice League movie will clear up some things that we’re all wondering about this movie. And hopefully we’ll get to see a lot more of Harley because let’s be honest – she was the best part.

Robin Williams Will Live On

[originally published 6 months ago on stephaniefaye.sbvtle.com]

When a beloved celebrity passes away, the entire world mourns. For a few days, we all come together and remember the moments in this person’s career that inspired joy and happiness into our lives, even if it was only through a movie, a song, or a book. Some would argue that being saddened by a celebrity death isn’t worth the energy, but I have to disagree. When a famous person who’s work I’ve happened to enjoy has passed on, it leaves a very real mark on my own happiness, even if it’s just for a moment. After all, while I didn’t know the person in real life,  I did have the amazing opportunity to see this person grow, develop their talents and bare some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives and careers on screen. We let this person into our homes through our television screen, and to know that they’re not in the world anymore, it hurts. When the news of Robin Williams’ ridiculously untimely and heartbreaking death broke, I read about it on Twitter (surprise, surprise). I was having dinner with my family, and when I told them why I was looking at my phone so funny, even my parents were shocked to hear that the cheerful and brilliant actor was gone.

The outpouring of love and respect I’ve seen from fans and colleagues of Robin alike has been so uplifting – albeit, pretty devastating to read in a lot of cases, but to see exactly how Robin Williams affected so many people’s childhoods and careers is absolutely incredible. This was just one man, but he inspired generation after generation. He made us laugh, cry, and remember to be joyful, even if that was ultimately something he couldn’t remember himself. I am devastated that our world was no longer a place that Robin felt any kind of happiness, because our world certainly gained a lot of happiness from him.

The man taught us so many important lessons; in Dead Poet Society he taught us how important it is to be an individual, and to never stop learning. In Good Will Hunting, he taught us that nothing is as wonderful or painful as real, true love. And in Aladdin, he taught us the meaning of the word ‘friendship’.  And in my personal favourite – Mrs Doubtfire – He taught us that as long as you have a family who loves you, you’re set for life. I believe that we can all learn one more invaluable lesson from him –  we can learn to never take someone’s happiness for granted; to never assume that a person is okay because they smile a lot. There is a very real problem in our world in regards to how we treat mental illness, and it needs to stop. We lose wonderful, brilliant people who could change the world every single day because of their battles with inner demons, but no one knows how to help them, or even knows that they need it. I don’t want to take the passing of Robin Williams and turn it into some sort of PSA about depression and mental illness, but I truly believe we can learn from this insane tragedy.

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams. I will never forget the joy that you’ve made me feel. Thank you for the hours of laughter and entertainment. You were a shining light in this world, and we will miss you very much.