REVIEW: Wonder Woman Shows DC the Way

A few disclaimers before we start:

* Much like Ghostbusters last year, Wonder Woman has triggered a disturbing number of reactions against it because it features a female lead. This is not worth discussing and won’t be part of the review. How insecure can someone be that the idea of a woman superhero feels threatening? Or that the notion of an all-women screening is somehow an assault on men’s rights? This is toxic masculinity at its purest.

* I have nothing against DC Comics (or Marvel for that matter). My approach to review comic book-based movies is to focus exclusively on the film itself. I don’t have a “team”, at least until Haneke or Von Trier make a superhero movie.

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Wonder Woman, the fourth film in the DC Comics cinematic universe (DCCU) is, without a doubt, the best one so far. It solves the most glaring flaws of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad while anchored in the same universe.

It’s not difficult to explain the enthusiasm for Wonder Woman: DC fans are hungry for a film to be proud of and females have gotten the short shift in the subgenre for decades. But the idea this adaptation solves all the franchise’s shortcomings is wishful thinking. The plotting remains shaky and those pervasive conclusion problems persist. Thankfully director Patty Jenkins (Monster) is savvy enough to identify and solve the biggest issue plaguing the DCCU: Character development. Continue reading “REVIEW: Wonder Woman Shows DC the Way”

REVIEW: Suicide Squad Doubles Down on a Problematic Universe

suicidesquad

A couple of disclaimers before getting to the review of Suicide Squad. I don’t have strong feelings towards either Marvel or DC. The Dark Knight is a superb film, so is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Similarly, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is indefensible and Iron Man 2 is lazy. I just care for good movies, no matter the source.

Based on the trailers, it seemed that Suicide Squad could be the movie to correct the course for DC. It looked fun, the casting was on point and David Ayer was in charge. Ayer knows action and can deliver tightly wound action romps (End of Watch, Fury). Furthermore, he has a workman-like approach to filmmaking and presumably wouldn’t be weighed down by auteur affectations like Zack Snyder.

Fat chance. While Suicide Squad is not worse than Batman v Superman, it has the same problems that have plagued the DC universe: A senseless script, editing at service of commercial considerations (as opposed to the story) and painfully inconsistent characters. If nothing else, at least Will Smith, Viola Davis and Margot Robbie are watchable, even as the movie collapses around them.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Suicide Squad Doubles Down on a Problematic Universe”