The Suicide Squad Review: James Gunn Knows What He’s Doing.

My opinion on the Suicide Squad movie from 2016 has changed a lot over the years.
When I first saw the trailers for it, I became intrigued by the premise of supervillains being forced to go on covert government operations, so I made sure to read all the comics I could before the film released.
So, when it actually came out, I was already hyped for it and this hype really blinded me about the film’s quality at the time.
I was pretty much in denial and told plenty of people that I thought the film was good.
However, even though years have passed and multiple rewatches allowed me to finally realize the film’s many, many, many faults, it is still a guilty pleasure of mine and I do still think there are good things about it. 

Everyone has a guilt pleasure movie and Suicide Squad (2016) is definitley mine.

So, I was naturally excited for the film’s loosely based sequel, this time titled The Suicide Squad (because that’s not confusing at all), directed by James Gunn.
The only movies of Gunn’s that I have seen are his Guardians of the Galaxy films and I love those, so I was interested to see what Gunn would do with what was obviously going to be a more comedic take on the titular Suicide Squad, although a dark comedic take at that.
What was reassuring to know coming into the film was that Gunn had complete freedom, unlike Suicide Squad 2016’s director David Ayer whose vision for the film was ripped apart in the editing room.
And you know what?
James Gunn naturally pulled it off.
The Suicide Squad is a much better film that its 2016 counterpart, delivering on plenty of exciting, funny, dark, and sometimes even emotional moments with style.
The plot follows Task Force X, who are tasked by the ruthless Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to infiltrate the fictional country of Corto Maltese and bring an end to the mysterious Project Starfish.

Viola Davis was the perfect casting choice for Amanda Waller in the original Suicide Squad so I was glad to see her return and be just as ruthless.

Leading this version of the squad is Robert DuBois, AKA Bloodsport (Idris Alba), an assassin who put Superman in the ICU with a Kryptonite bullet, and becomes a part of Task Force X’s latest mission to protect his daughter.
So, he’s basically Deadshot.
Despite the two characters being extremely similar, though, I actually do prefer Bloodsport with this film because the bond with his daughter is much more interesting, even with only one scene, and his character arc is actually pretty great.

Bloodsport’s character development in this film is stellar, with him being quite different at the end of the film from how he began.

The rest of the Squad in this film is just as interesting.
We have the ironically named Peace Maker (John Cena), the extrememly messed up Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), the kind hearted thief Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), and the man eating, yet loveable idiot King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone).
Also returning from the previous film is Margot Robbie who is still perfectly cast as Harley Quinn, and Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg.
I would like to signal out Flagg in particular because, even though I do find enjoyment in the original Suicide Squad film, Flagg was not one of these enjoyable things, being quite a bland character.
Well, in The Suicide Squad, this version of Flagg is ten times better, with a fantastic character arc that really made me care for him, hence the emotional parts of the film I mentioned previously.

I never expected to actually like Flagg coming into the film so I was pleasantly surprised with how his character development was handled.

Along with the emotion, another feature this movie pulls off excellently is the comedy, especially the gags of the dark variety.
I burst out into uncomfortable laughter on numerous occasions.
This is easily one of the funniest movies of the year.
It is the characters and their journey that really brings it all togethor though.
I remember back in the first Suicide Squad where one of the characters talked about them being a family, even though they had just met and didn’t really have that much of a bond by that point.
By the end of this film, however, I felt the comradery between the characters completley and wanted to see where they would go in a future film.
How likely this is, I’m not sure because the movie apparently bombed, most likely based off the reputation of its predecessor and, you know… Covid.
That said, I hope the studios see the positive reactions to this film and realize there is a great potential for sequels.
James Gunn did a fantastic job breathing a comedically dark life into The Suicide Squad and I hope to see more of it the future.

Cats Review: Cat People Aren’t Sexy!

1 star
Today is my sister’s birthday and she decided that, to celebrate it during my country’s lockdown, we would all watch the Cats movie.
It’s safe to say that by the end of it we were all regretting her choice.
You want to know how bad the Cats movie is?
It’s so bad that all the terrible bad cat puns that could describe this eye cancer of a film have already been used and there are none left.
I can remember the first time I saw the trailer for the film and wondering what the people making this were smoking for them to think this cringe fest was going to be a hit.
Although, I suppose what with the stage production being one of the most successful musicals ever, there was no doubt in their mind that it would be.
Still, this unfortunate misreading of the situation could have been mitigated if the movie used practical effects and makeup for the cat people.
But nope, they had to go full CGI with it and make the cast of Francesca Hayward, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Laurie Davidson, Robbie Fairchild, Ian McKellen, Jason Derulo, and many more look like mutated cat monsters that want to eat our faces, great.
And, to top it all off, the original stage production has barely any plot, with the only story element being that all of the jellicle cats (whatever jellicle means) are meeting to decide who will get a new life.

nnoo plot
Cats is just one creepy, boring musical number after another with barely any plot.

Director Tom Hooper tried to add a plot with Macavity serving as the overarching villain but this was incredibly forced and lacked any investment.
So, the majority of Cats consists of these creepy, one note cats introducing themselves in musical numbers that definitely do not match in tone.
There’s comedic numbers (none of which are funny), dramatic numbers (none of which are dramatic), and even horror numbers (I’m pretty sure they aren’t meant to be interpreted that way though).
I will give the movie some credit though, because some of the songs, like “Macavity” and “Beautiful Ghosts”, are actually pretty well sung, with Jennifer Hudson doing a fantastic job with “Memory.”
You just have to close your eyes so you can actually enjoying these songs by not having to see the fur demons.

Jennifer Hudson cat
Hudson admittedly does an amazing job with her musical numbers but the visuals ruin what feels like was supposed to be a powerful performance.

Sadly, for every decent musical number there is a bad or horrifying one, like Rebel Wilson and James Corden’s songs.
However, it is not the creepy nature of the cats that I found to be the films worst attribute.
If anything, parts of the film can be watchable if you are expecting to be creeped out by these CGI abominations.
No, I found the worst part of the film to easily be how boring it is.
As I said, Cats is basically scene after repetitive scene of characters introducing themselves and then never being important again.
By the time the third cat had sung about themselves, I was already bored and just got less and less interested at each new cat’s introduction.
Occasionally the cats would do something that would make me cringe, which would temporarily get my interest back, but then it would just go back to more introduction musical numbers and I would lose interest again.

railway cat
The railway cat number was the moment I realised just how much I was zoning out because of how bored I was.

The best way that I can explain Cats is that it feels like it is walking on a tightrope.
If it falls to one side then it lands on creepy visuals that make you cringe, however, if it falls on the other side then it lands on boring scenes that have no investment.
Oh, and the film has absolutely no coordination so it is constantly falling to one side of the tightrope every minute, only for it to fall again when it tries to get back on.
Cats is easily one of the worst films of 2019.
It has almost no plot, the cat people are unnerving, and it’s boring.
Definitely not “the most joyous event of the holiday season” as the trailers advertised, although did any of us honestly expect it to be?