Thursday, April 14, 2016

Doctor Strange and the Suicide Squad

So, two trailers came out in the past few days.

#1: Suicide Squad

To start with, I'm really tired of the paranoid view of Superman. They've obviously decided to stuff this DCU filled with backstory -- as we have career criminals with history here -- but they didn't decide to just jump to the part where Superman can be trusted already and move along? I know the Injustice alternate universe where Superman is the villain is popular right now, but does it have to seep into everything? Also, if Superman had decided to take out the President, these guys wouldn't have been able to stop him. Thank you. Have a nice day.

I keep hearing that Joker is not the villain of the piece. He's not a big part of the movie. Funny, since he seems to get larger and larger roles in these trailers. Am I missing something? The best interpretation I've heard (assuming that the film people aren't straight out lying to us) is that Joker is just thriving in the chaos in the wake of the actual bad guys.

I still have serious problems with Will Smith as Deadshot. Consider for a moment that Floyd Lawton, Deadshot, became the best shooter on the planet after he had accidentally shot and killed his brother. Deadshot is both simultaneously proficient as hell, with deep suicidal tendencies, kept alive only by the fact that he has a daughter. Do they look like they have any intention at all of having Will Smith playing a role of any more depth than, well, Will Smith?

Once more, Harley Quinn is obviously and evidently stealing this entire trailer, and probably the movie. We've already seen that there will be a ton of backstory on her, including her origins. Hence the heavy Joker presence. In short, this should probably be "Harley and the Suicide Squad" more than anything else. Which makes me wonder why they bothered getting a big name for Deadshot rather than ... anyone else?

Think about it a moment, when The Magnificent Seven came out, most of the actors (at least 5/7) were Big Names, the equivalent of Will Smith today. They had careers, and were easily identifiable. These folks? Margot Robie was big in Wolf of Wall Street, there's Will Smith, and Jared Leto.  Other than that? Not a whole hell of a lot of people I can pick out of a lineup. Jai Courtney I know from three films. Viola Davis will probably not be a big part of the film, on par with the voice on the phone for Mission Impossible.

The rest? Eh.

And, also, has anyone else noticed that this is sooooo much lighter in tone than the first trailer? It's like someone decided "Hmmm, dark didn't work out well for us with Batman versus Superman, maybe we should lighten up the tone a little bit, and make it look more like Guardians of the Galaxy."

But I've noticed that they still haven't explained who the enemy is in this one. If it's not the Joker, then what the hell is going on, exactly?

This one has me mildly tempted to see it. Mildly.

#2: Doctor Strange

Okay, now listen here, Marvel, you get one more origin story.  This is it. I am really, really tired of them otherwise.

For those of you who are wondering what the hell is going on here, Doctor Steven Strange is a surgeon, and like all surgeons, an arrogant narcissistic bastard. When he has his hands ruined in an accident, he goes off to seek ways to repair his hands, going to far flung Tibet to find the mystical Ancient One, a wise old man who has mastered the mystic arts.  The Ancient One has decided that Doctor Strange will be his replacement, and trains him in the ways of sorcery. In so doing, the Ancient One snubs another student, Baron Mordo, who becomes Strange's enemy in order to get the power he feels is rightfully his.

If you didn't get any of that from the teaser, don't worry, neither did I, and I knew all of this in advance. If you're not a fan, you didn't understand it at all.

While I appreciate that they're trying to convey the full weight and power of the forces we're dealing with in the teaser, could they have done something other than use effects and imagery out of Inception? I hated that film (it was boring. I gave up on it.)

Right now, I'm not even entirely certain I like Cumberbatch's American accent, but it may grow on me.

And for the love of God, what the Hell did they do to the Ancient One? Did they think that Mister Miagi was too cliche, so they turned the little old Chinese man with phenomenal cosmic power into a "gender ambiguous" bald Caucasian woman? I'm with John C. Wright on this, I am not amused.

Other than that ... there's not a whole hell of a lot of stuff going on in this teaser. The imagery is okay, so they have the look down. And there's so very little here. There are before and after pictures of Doctor Strange, going from the top of the world to the bottom of the trash heap. There are special effects out of Inception, some halfway decent reflections of Lost Horizon, but aside from that, there's so little "there" there.

As Wright notes, the imagery fits. The look is generally good. But damn it, pretend there is a plot when you make a teaser. And when you have something that you're going to experiment with a classical character, don't make that experiment front and center of your trailer.

There is no action in the teaser. None. Look at it. It's all character, and Cumberbatch can probably pull it off without breathing hard.

Sigh ... maybe I'll calm down with the first full trailer. Or if Tilda Swinton is only ten minutes of the movie. Which would be nice, because I'm really, really bone-tired of origin stories. Please stop. Maybe then, if this "Ancient One" is in only a few minutes of the film, it'll be more tolerable.

If you're wondering why I'm so down on origin stories, tell me if you've heard this one:
Arrogant, unrepentant genius is also a pure schmuck. After he is injured in a way that alters his life forever, he goes out and seeks ways to fix himself, and in so doing, finds a power and an ability that makes him into a superhero.
Riddle me this, Batman, is that Iron Man or Doctor Strange? The answer is: Both. It's not the exact same story, but the character arcs as so similar, I'm not 100% certain I want to see it in full yet again. I'll happily take his origin in flashbacks. You know, like they do on Arrow. Or Daredevil. Or Jessica Jones.

In short, please make what we see in the teaser be the first 10-20 minutes of the film, and not the first 40-50.

But you know what? I'm not impressed. I'm underwhelmed. Wake me when we get a real trailer.


  1. I think the reason Strange is an origin story is because it's the first anything in the MCU to dive into the mystical side of the universe and that needs an introduction. Other than the possibility of Captain Marvel being an origin story, I'm pretty sure there aren't any others.

    Suicide Squad is an instant wait and see due to it being a DC superhero movie not made by Nolan or Donner. I'm not going to be that easy to convince after decades of false starts.

    1. Yeah I was just thinking that this movie isn't an origin story for Dr Strange, it's an origin story for Magic (kind of like how many of the other movies have been origin stories for the infinity stones).

      out of Inception? I hated that film (it was boring. I gave up on it.)



      Oh we are so done, Mr. Flinn. (unless you provide penance by waxing at how great Interstellar was)

  2. The Bohemian Rhapsody trailer for Suicide Squad was more fun than this latest, which tried to mix the tone of the first with the fun of the second. Watching it caused mood-whiplash. Even with that, I want to see Suicide Squad with an enthusiasm that I lacked for Man of Steel and BvS. Hopefully, it's fun and not the grimdark that's mired DC movies lately.


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