Suicide Squad

Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto

Here it is! This long awaited production has finally arrived, treading carefully in the footsteps of the critically panned Batman v Superman, a film which I cannot say I have seen. However, what I do know is that it disappointed many fans of the caped characters, and fingers were unanimously crossed in hopes that this newly-formed ragtag team of ruffians could bring DC back to its glory days.

Sadly, it did not.

Where do I start with the disasterpiece that is Suicide Squad? The stilted script, the misplaced soundtrack, the confusing narrative, among many, many other glaring issues. I feel the upsettingly poor quality may be down to DC attempting to replicate the massively successful Guardians of the Galaxy, and in doing so converted a film which could have been an interesting, dark look at the insanity of our main protagonists(?) into a rushed, forced, desperate, totally unfunny “comedy”. Okay, I will admit that ON OCCASION, the film made me chuckle, but that weak pro is completely outweighed by the absurdly obese con that is the incredibly cringey, unbearable-to-watch scenes. As well as these scenes not being funny, there is some attempts to make scenes, which were clearly designed initially to be disturbing and almost threatening, into lighthearted silly fun with the simple addition of some inappropriate song, which as you would imagine works about as well as trying to make Superman a serious, gritty character.

OH WAIT.

‘But what about Jared Leto’s Joker?’ I hear you cry. ‘Does he salvage the film in any way, shape or form?’ I hear you wail. ‘Can you stop posing questions nobody ever asked because Suicide Squad has been out for ages and basically everyone has an opinion on this guy at this point?’ I hear you plead. Firstly, Leto is not great as The Joker in this film, and is by far not the worst part of this movie. I certainly see potential in the film, in terms of expanding his character and potentially his motivations in terms of the wider scope of the DC universe. However, while most of his performance is at least mediocre,  there are moments where Leto clearly got a bit carried away and nobody thought to sit him down and snap him back into reality. These portions of the film are hilarious, in a so-bad-its-brilliant sort of way.

Overall, the only way DC can succeed at this stage is by not trying so desperately hard to pander to whatever’s relevant by intervening right in the thick of their films’ productions.

It’s blockbuster-making 101: don’t fuck with the filmmakers. Your film will be garbage if you do so.

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Jason Bourne

Director: Paul Greengrass 
Writer: Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse, Robert Ludlum (characters)
Starring: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander

Confession No. 2: I am yet to watch both The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. It’s a confession I have had to live with for many years now. I have, however, indulged in both Bourne Identity and Bourne Legacy. I really liked Identity, I didn’t like Legacy, that is all, let’s dive into the idiotically named Jason Bourne.

The thing is dislike the most about JB is how soul-crushingly mediocre it always feels. It fiercely tries to wrestle itself out of its own second-rateness on many occasions but it can never seem to manage it, which is a real shame. I think many of my distastes for the film may be simply down to the fact that I’m not a huge fan of Paul Greengrass’ directing style. Be it the shaky cam during the fight scenes that always cause either confusion or nausea, or the fact that I’m immature and found myself giggling every time the camera zoomed very closely into everyone’s faces, I simply couldn’t get past his impact on the film. It’s a shame, because had someone like Doug Liman taken the helm of this project, I would’ve likely enjoyed it much more.

The actors did a good job, for the most part. Tommy Lee Jones was great to watch on account of how over the top and cheesy his performance ended up being. Obviously it wasn’t necessarily a good job by him, but it was entertaining nonetheless. Alicia Vikander did about as well as you’d expect from her (i.e. great), but it sounded like she couldn’t decide on an accent, so ended up alternating between British, American and Australian in the first half, before settling down in the second. Call me crazy, but that’s what I heard. The guy who did the best job was Jason Bourne himself, Matt Damon. Similar to Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, he does a great job of speaking all the words he needs through facial expressions, without needing to explicitly spell it out for the audience. It’s intelligent scriptwriting and great acting. The other actors were fine, but the woman playing Nicky Parsons seemed to have the emotional capacity of a muddy sponge. Good stuff.

The sets were fantastic, and felt very grounded in reality, helping the audience buy into the world Greengrass is creating. The chase scenes, whilst very well choreographed and exciting, felt they overstayed their welcome, as if the filmmakers were attempting to pad out the runtime, likely in an effort to keep with series’ typical 2-hour runtimes. Whilst it was a fairly standard spy narrative, there were moments, twists and turns, which caught me completely unawares and they were handled very well.

Solid portions of Jason Bourne were genuinely great, some of it was particularly unremarkable (mostly down to personal preference), but unfortunately most of the film was horribly, viciously average, and from a film franchise like Bourne, I expected better.

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