Posts Tagged ‘Jesse Eisenberg’

 

 

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I have a lot of opinions and thoughts about the emerging DC Cinematic or Expanded Universe and readers can agree or disagree all they want. We like what we like and just because I didn’t care for or enjoy Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS) doesn’t negate your feelings for it. If you liked it, loved it, then bless your heart for being so open to this movie universe they’re building. If the blatant plot holes, or the nebulous motivations of the characters,trinitylarge or the lack of character development, or the choppy editing, or the bleak tone doesn’t bother you, then congrats this movie was clearly meant for you. And if the only investment you had in this was to see Batman and Superman fight each other, then by all accounts you are winning when it comes to Spring/Summer blockbusters.

But here’s the thing, there are those of us who didn’t like it for all of the reasons you probably did like it. That doesn’t mean your opinion is any less valid but it also doesn’t mean that my criticisms or concerns are intended to insult you. Art has and will always be subjective and everyone is coming at this movie universe from different perspectives and experiences involving these heroes.

That being said, my overarching concerns for the DCEU has been their character development – or lack thereof – because I could actually accept a ho-hum script if the characters made sense or had any consistency in who they are and what they stand for. Unfortunately, DC’s Big Blue remains a blank slate, which is problematic when you stack him up against other heroes in the DC Universe. Superman’s attitude, his moral code, remains ill-defined after the mixed messages of Ghost Dad Jor-El and Sacrificial Lamb Dad Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel. Hero or God? Man or Superman? All of the above? It’s still unclear how Clark actually feels about being Superman since his decision to put on the suit is forced upon him instead of being a decision he makes out of an innate desire to help people.

So when we come to the ethical dilemma at the heart of BvS – that of power and accountability – we’re still in the dark about who Clark is and how he feels about his position as Earth’s protector. Where the movie could have given Superman the ability to express himself and by extension relate his worldview to the audience is squandered for a plot point surrounding a jar of Lex Luthor’s piss.

Yeah. You read that right.

bats_supes_face-to-faceThe jist is Superman (Henry Cavill) has arrived at a Senate committee hearing to discuss his actions in Africa involving a hostage Lois Lane (Amy Adams), a warlord, and a group of mercenaries hired by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) to make it look like Superman went ballistic and killed everyone. During the hearing Senator Finch (Holly Hunter) begins her opening statement about democracy being a discussion, but is distracted by a mason jar labeled Grammy’s Peach Tea, which is filled with urine – a callback to a conversation she had with Lex after denying his request to import Kryptonite from the remains of the World Machine. Right as she starts to freak out, she looks over at a gentleman sitting in a wheelchair provided by Luthor, notices Luthor’s absence, and then the wheelchair blows up. It takes out a good chunk of the building, killing everyone inside except Superman.

It’s worth noting that Luthor’s personal assistant, Mercy Graves, is among the dead, but that’s a rant for another day.

Much of this is built from a few previous scenes (as stories are wont to do), but it’s the nature of those scenes that inform Clark’s attitude when he stands before the committee. Prior to Superman’s arrival at the hearing he somewhat emphatically tells Lois he didn’t kill anyone (though that’s hard to believe considering he flew that warlord through a few walls) and follows up by saying he doesn’t care what the outside world thinks of him. Later, he’s back on the Kent farm with his mother who tells him he doesn’t owe the world anything. This is important because batman-v-superman-trailer-096Superman’s attitude during the whole ordeal is a sour-looking frown that clearly shows he doesn’t want to be there and the whole thing is an inconvenience. This is a Superman who regards a government hearing, in the country he lives no less, as a fundamental waste of time. This is a Superman who was raised to hide himself from the world and yet somehow develops a chip on his shoulder big enough you can see it from space. This is a Superman who cried his eyes out after snapping Zod’s neck, but when a building full of people blows up around him he has this look on his face like he’s just bummed out.

It’s a disturbing disconnect because throughout the entirety of the scene Clark never speaks. From arrival to explosion, Superman is silent and sullen. And it’s a wasted opportunity to give Clark the platform he needs to talk to the world. The hearing is being recorded, he essentially has the stage, but he never says a word. In the cartoons, comics, and previous Superman films whenever Clark finds himself being broadcast to the entire world he uses it to convey his message of hope, peace, and, most importantly, his desire to help. He is a force for truth and justice but he isn’t above the law. He’s a citizen of the world and he knows he must answer to it. If anything, Superman should have been the one to request a Senate hearing instead of the other way around. Or, at the very least, have Lois conduct an “exclusive interview” that gives him the ability to speak for himself.

The purpose is twofold: we get to hear Superman talk about his personal philosophy and it gives us something to contrast with Batman. Clark and Bruce represent two sides of the same coin. Their methods are different on every level, but their goal is ultimately the same. It’s what opens the door for a begrudging respect to develop into friendship. It’s what makes these two black-haired, blue-eyed, muscle-bound men different in the eyes of comic book readers. BvS doesn’t blur the line between Batman and Superman, it erases it entirely. There is no difference between the two where their ideology is concerned. Yes, we get some clear statements from Bruce that set the tone batman-v-superman-trailer-002for this universe’s Batman, but Superman never gets the chance. People talk about Superman and to Superman but the actual Superman never talks about himself.

Man of Steel had the same issue, though I’m fairly sure Henry Cavill had more lines than in BvS. Clark has a lot of people tell him who he should be but he never definitively expresses who he is or who he wants to be. He just is and that’s not a character you can relate to or identify with. Batman v Superman could have used the Senate hearing as a means of course correction, letting Superman speak for himself and giving the world (and Bruce Wayne) at least an iota of insight into the man behind the S. As it stands, Clark’s silence speaks volumes about how achingly wrong this universe is shaping up to be for the big blue boy scout. Hopefully his inevitable resurrection will result in a new attitude and outlook on his place as a hero.

If you’re a DC Comics fan and you haven’t seen the cast photo of the Suicide Squad released by the film’s director David Ayer a few days ago, then what are we even doing here?!

Sorry, I kid.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, then gaze upon the strange glory that is the Suicide Squad/Task Force X!

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Yeah, soak it all in!

In case you were wondering who the hell all these people are and who they’re playing, starting from the far left: Slipknot (Adam Beach, though the character still isn’t officially confirmed), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Katana (Karen Fukuhara), Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), Col. Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Deadshot (Will Smith), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez).Suicide-Squad-Comic-Logo-Movie

Missing from the photo is Viola Davis as Amanda “The Wall” Waller, the ruthless taskmaster of the Squad, but I’m sure her official image is a’comin’. The photo dropped on the heels of Ayer releasing an image of Jared Leto’s Joker, who is pretty much one of the antagonists of the film though definitely not the only one. IMDB lists Ike Barinholtz as Dr. Hugo Strange, Raymond Olubawale as King Shark, Scott Eastwood as Steve Trevor, Jim Parrack as Deathstroke, Ben Affleck as Batman, and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor as well. There are also roles yet to be confirmed, notably the casting of Common as…a character. Some of these casting decisions may be wrong even on the site since Fukuhara is listed as Plastique (the villain she was originally rumored to play) instead of Katana, so Lord knows what information is going to start rolling out over the next year.

Yeah, Suicide Squad won’t be out until August 2016, the followup to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice due for release on March 25, 2016 that will supposedly star every DC hero ever as a precursor to the real Justice League movie, parts 1 and 2, out in 2017 and 2019 respectively. So, before we really get to know the heroes, we’ll get to know a whole group of villains/anti-heroes first!

Wait, what?

JOKER_LETOI’ll be honest, the Warner Bros. strategy of throw everything at the audience is one hell of a gamble. Not that it couldn’t pay off. Suicide Squad has the potential to hit Guardians of the Galaxy status if the story is good and the characters, ya know, have a little fun. Having Harley Quinn on the team certainly ups the percentage of one-liners and nonsensical dialogue, but she’s also the only bright spot in yet another dark, drab photo for a DC movie. You look at that photo and your eyes go to Harley first. I mean, seriously, they couldn’t at least put Enchantress in a brighter outfit? They’re basing a lot of these looks on the New 52 versions of the characters in the comics, so you could at least give Enchantress a slick green hoodie dress. Also, what the hell is she actually wearing? I’m no authority on fashion, but I don’t think crazy-pants-bog-witch-gypsy is the best choice, stylistically, for missions that may involve more than standing in the background looking weird. Besides, Harley’s already got the market cornered on impractical outfits. Booty shorts and high-healed boots? Yup, one teacup short of a china hutch. It’s worth noting, though, that Margot Robbie owns that photo. Amidst all the serious faces because serious, she’s going to smile her way into our hearts…hopefully.

Given the bloated cast and the team with which we’re dealing, it’s all but inevitable that one of them dies before the first act. The Squad, as a means of ensuring compliance with the missions, are surgically implanted with explosives with Waller’s finger always hovering over the button to make them go KABOOM! And Waller is known for her effective “make-an-example-of-disposable-villains” routine, which is all but guaranteed to happen when one of these guys tries to bail during a mission. This is textbook stuff, but it might be fun to see who bites it first. Hint: could be Slipknot, but you didn’t hear it from me.

My biggest concern is that it just feels a little…small. Akinnuoye-Agbaje is playing Killer Croc and yet there’s something disappointing about the fact that he just looks like a regular-sized dude-mutant who could be the cousin of Super Mario’s goombas. I know DC and Warner Bros. are going for the “grounded” versions, but you have a meta human on a team with a woman who wields a sword inhabited by her dead husband’s soul and another woman who uses magic – a conceptsuicide-squad-117157 that’s still on shaky ground since Constantine may not make it to a second season. These are big personalities whose power sets leave a huge impact on the heroes they regularly face. They should physically reflect that as well. Would it be too much to ask for an oversized mallet and hyenas for Harley instead of a Louisville slugger?

But these are just surface responses to one picture. As I’ve learned, nothing about the film industry is set in stone and what we see now could be completely different in a year or so. I guess what I’m saying is I’m at least intrigued by the movie’s prospects. I give Ayer props for the diverse casting, but it all comes down to opening weekend and whether the performances match the hype.

With the release date of August 5th, 2016 looming on the horizon and an April, 2015 start for shooting already in place, it was about time that a cast was announced for Suicide Squad, the third film in what will be Warner Bros. and DC’s Cinematic Universe following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Yes, we’ve been bombarded with rumored cameo after rumored appearance of every hero and villain in the DC Universe for Bats vs Supes, but now we have some confirmation for the next film in the franchise and the cast is definitely interesting.suicide_squad_0023

The Suicide Squad, also known as Task Force X, is a group of villains in the DCU put together to go on deadly missions for ARGUS under the ever watchful eye of Amanda “The Wall” Waller. Some are in it for the redemption while others just figure it’s exchanging one prison for another. They’re at Waller’s beck and call and if someone should think of breaking ranks and running off, the explosives grafted onto their spines tend to keep them on the straight and narrow…so to speak.

The film will be written and directed by David Ayer, best known for movies like Training Day, End of Watch, The Fast and the Furious, and Fury. Warner Bros. President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Greg Silverman, said of Ayer and the cast:

We look forward to seeing this terrific ensemble, under Ayer’s amazing guidance, give new meaning to what it means to be a villain and what it means to be a hero.

 

Here’s the official cast thus far:

Will Smith – Deadshot

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Margot Robbie – Harley Quinn

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Jared Leto – The Joker

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Jai Courtney – Captain Boomerang

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Cara Delevingne – Enchatress

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Tom Hardy – Rick Flagg

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So, yeah, Warner Bros. isn’t skimping on the star power, that’s for sure. Rumors still persist that Jesse Eisenberg will reprise his role as Lex Luthor in the film as well, which could make sense if they were setting up the political angle Luthor is often steered towards since it gives him and even more insidious position as a politician draped in the American flag while conducting less than legal operations on the side. For Superman killing purposes, of course.

AMANDA_WALLER_batman_062011The inclusion of the Joker gives me reason to believe that the movie might follow a similar narrative to the direct-to-video movie Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014) that featured several of the same heroes in the cast breaking into Arkham Asylum to extract information from the Riddler’s cane. The storyline eventually crosses paths with Batman’s B-plot about getting information about a dirty bomb Joker planted somewhere in Gotham. I could see Ayer taking inspiration from this since I don’t think Joker would ever be an actual member of Suicide Squad. He’s more of a reason to bring Harley into the fold, though it’s worth assuming that he’ll be at least one of the primary antagonists. The other, of course, being the squad’s creator, Amanda Waller.

Waller remains the holdout in terms of the main cast, though it’s rumored that Warner Bros. is looking at Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, and Oprah Winfrey with Winfrey possibly being their first choice. So…I really hope it isn’t Oprah. Unless the idea is to get a lot of free promotion out of Oprah’s name and brand, which I wouldn’t put it past the company, I think her being in the film would be a huge case of stunt casting. I know Oprah has quite a few dramatic roles under her belt, but I just don’t see her pulling off the pragmatic malice of Waller. Although, if she does end up getting cast. I imagine the Book Of The Month reading is going to start looking very different.Suicide-Squad-Oprah-Amanda-Waller

For my money’s worth, Spencer or Davis would make a great Waller, but I could also see Alfre Woodard, Angela Bassett who took on the role in Green Lantern, Pam Grier who played her on Smallville, or even the woman who voiced Waller in the DC Animated tv shows and movies, CCH Pounder. All of them are phenomenal actresses and would bring the right amount of badassery needed to pull off the role.

Until then we can only speculate, though I know the question we all have in our minds is whether Jared Leto will be as memorable of a Joker as Caesar Romero?

But what do you think of the casting choices and who do you think would make the best Amanda Waller?

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