Kevin Strange’s Suicide Squad Review

Before social 12489243_1674589672821667_4430624289856009994_omedia, I didn’t have to justify liking movies that weren’t critically acclaimed. In today’s social media driven world, Rotten Tomatoes is king because it’s super easy to share a link with “88% certified fresh!” or “33% rotten LOLZ!”

The aggregate site adds up the number of reviews it decides are positive, and the ones that are negative, and uses that subjective formula to create its “fresh” or “rotten” percentage. That’s it. So if a lot of people kind of liked a movie just a little more than they disliked it, it’s “90% certified fresh!” or whatever, even though it’s considered by most people to just be OK.

You can explain this to people until you’re blue in the face, but it’s like explaining the lottery and the astronomical odds against you ever winning money. People do not get it. They just shrug. They want to be told what’s good and what’s bad. I’ve been saying this for YEARS now. People don’t want to invest the time in actually watching movies. They’ve decided if they like or dislike a movie based on the first couple of images or the trailer released by the studio. Actually shelling out the money and sitting in a theater for two hours is too much to ask from most people.

And that’s fine. Except that people like me who love weird movies, cult movies and bad movies end up finding ourselves trying to defend ourselves against a sea of mockery when we talk about a cool ass movie like Chappie or Batman Vs Superman because some guy named Butt Johnson from the Houston Chronicle said he kind of didn’t like it along with a hundred other professional critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Anyway, Suicide Squad falls right into the same category. It’s trendy for fanboy types to shit all over DC movies for whatever reason. There has to be a Marvel Vs DC thing and nobody’s going to let that die anytime soon, apparently. It’ll be interesting to see how long this goes on. Warner Bros. ain’t gonna stop making DC movies, so I’m guessing by Wonder Woman or the Aqua Man movie, the nonsense will die off.

So Suicide Squad. If you’re looking for a Marvel comics Iron Man joke-a-second kid’s movie, you’re going to be disappointed. This ain’t Disney and it ain’t for kids. I’ve been a fan of David Ayer since he wrote Training Day. Most people Don’t even know he directed this movie or that he’s the dude that just made Brad Pitt’s Fury last year. He’s a FANTASTIC ensemble cast director and writes excellent dialogue. He knows how to handle bad guys in gritty situations and he did a great job here. I was actually surprised at the scope of this film, since most of his movies are very small and character driven. It was cool to see him handle a movie with so much action and special effects.

The Joker and Harley Quinn are highlights of movie. We get awesome scene after awesome scene between these two and I personally, as a life-long fan of Batman the Animated Series, couldn’t stop smiling at the fact that I was FINALLY seeing one of the coolest dysfunctional relationships in comics come to life in front of me. 

But Will Smith’s Deadshot was surprisingly heartfelt, too. I was into all his drama and even though there wasn’t a whole hell of a lot going on, story wise, I was totally into the movie and thought that The Enchantress and her magic was beautiful in IMAX 3D.

All in all, it’s not fucking The Cider House Rules or Driving Miss Daisy. It doesn’t fucking have to be. We don’t have to justify why we like our movies. The percentage of positive reviews from film critics means absolutely nothing to me today, never has before, and never will. I like what I like and I don’t owe an explanation to anyone.

Batman Vs Superman and the anti-fanboy epidemic


Somewhere along the way, genre fans turned round and began eating their own tails. There is a strong consensus of fanboys out there who have made it their own personal mission to bury Batman Vs Superman before it’s even had a chance to breathe.

They failed. The film grossed nearly half a billion dollars over its opening weekend despite being rated worse than The Fantastic Four 2 on the only review website that apparently matters anymore, Rotten Tomatoes.

That site is the anti-fan fanboy’s favorite weapon of choice to bury a property. Share screenshots of a Rotten Tomatoes score on social media, keep people out of the theater, fail a franchise. That’s the play. They did it with Chappie last year. Killed a great film. Why? Because Short Circuit, apparently.

So what is an anti-fanboy? If a fanboy is a grown man who refuses to grow up and instead spends all of his time obsessing over and consuming dangerous amounts of comics, video games and genre movies as an escape from the responsibilities of adult life, then the anti-fanboy would be a well adjusted, successful adult, right?

Not on this blog, bub. The fanboy is a relatively harmless creature, typically found dwelling in his mother’s or grandmother’s basement, eating and drinking himself into type 2 diabetes while quietly consuming pop culture. The anti-fan boy, much like the Reverse Flash is exactly that. Only evil. The anti-fanboy is a loathsome individual most closely resembling Gollum from Lord of the Rings only fat because if the anti-fanboy is one thing, it’s glutenous. Not just with food. Anti-fanboys consume just as much pop culture as the regular harmless fanboy, if not more. And that’s the problem.

The anti-fanboy truly and completely believes that he does not have to see a movie to KNOW from stills, trailers, posters and a scant few reviews from his echo chamber safe space of like-minded nerd-villains on the internet, that a movie is bad. Not ONLY that a movie is bad, but so bad that it compels him to spread bad word of mouth all over the internet about how awful a movie like Batman Vs Superman is. Indeed, worse than Fantastic Four 2. Worse than the Justin Bieber movie.

Without ever having seen the film.

Think about that. Why would a grown man be so angry about a MOVIE that he would try to cause it financial harm EVER, let alone be so ate up with it that he tries to do so without even giving the thing an objective chance himself, with his own two eyes and ears?

Because anti-fanboys are miserable human beings. They wallow in it in their daily lives and have to project it somewhere. Women have became too strong, too independent and too willing to put the mouth-breathing basement dwellers on blast when they direct their narcissistic, suicidal rage against the opposite sex. So they’ve learned to direct their anger at the very escapism that once dulled their sorrows, and lessened the sting of their failed lives

Movies can’t fight back. There’s no threat of a movie shaming them on social media. And usually it works. Movies like Chappie, Jupiter Ascending, Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four, Seventh Son. These were films of fair to middling quality (with Chappie being the excellent exception) that were willfully and systematically buried by a fanbase with malicious intentions. Indeed anti-fanboys took a special kind of joy in announcing to anyone who would listen that these movies were unmitigated disasters. Films as bad as any Ed Wood film. Laughable stinkers. And they didn’t watch a single on of them.

If you look at that list plucked from 2015, you have the science fiction, super hero, urban fantasy and sword and sorcery genres represented. These films are the playgrounds of fanboys. This is our stuff. These films were made with us in mind. And yet, anti-fanboys set them all ablaze and then danced on their graves.

As Michael Caine’s Alfred so eloquently put it in The Dark Knight: Some people just want to watch the world burn.

Snakes eating their own tails. A group of mentally damaged but highly vocal individuals who will not be happy until the rest of us are as miserable as they are. Until the era of blockbuster fanboy films is dead and buried and we have nothing left to look forward to in the cinema.

But, like the legendary caped crusader he is, Batman refused to lay down and die. Batman Vs Superman broke records IN SPITE of the anti-fanboy campaign to assassinate him. Biggest March opening ever. Biggest Easter Weekend ever. Biggest single opening day in March.

A week ago the snark from the anti-fanboys was so thick, they squealed with delight about the announcement from Warner Brothers that Batman Vs Superman would have to make a billion dollars to be considered a financial success. “Impossible!” They shouted. “It will flop!” They growled, rubbing their sweaty, pudgy palms together.

It’s already halfway to a billion. And only one film in history has ever opened north of 160 million dollars domestically and not crossed the billion dollar mark. Batman is a big enough property to rise above and succeed in spite of the anti-fanboy campaign against it. But not all, indeed not most genre films are capable of doing that. So it’s up to us, the REAL fanboys to shout down our evil doppelgangers.

Don’t fall for the hit campaigns. Ignore the silly Rotten Tomatoes scores. See the genre films. All of them. Even the bad ones. Especially the bad ones. This is our era. Cinema belongs to us right now. It is truly the best time to be a fanboy.

In Defense of Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four


I’ve said this before, but today it’s more true than ever. We’re bombarded with so much entertainment from movies to TV shows to netflix, that we’ve forgotten how to enjoy bad movies. Even bad movie lovers, people who celebrate 70s and 80s trash LOSE THEIR SHIT when a current movie like Jupiter Ascending or Seventh Son comes out and is bad.

How DARE modern filmmakers waste our time making bad movies when there are SO MANY other options like Michael Bay or Zach Snyder who will fill a screen with 3 hours of CGI explosions so gratuitous that your brain will nearly shut itself off from exertion.

We’re at a point where people just spread hate for a movie they’ve no intention of seeing because of word of mouth. Oh it HAS to be bad because it’s at 10% on Rotten Tomatoes! So what? Some of my favorite movies are so bad and obscure they’re not even listed on Rotten Tomatoes.

Such is the case with Josh Trank’s The Fantastic Four. I’ve seen all of the versions of this movie for some reason. I’m not even really a fan of FF. But I AM a fan of bad movies, which is why I love the Roger Corman version. Ironically, this unreleased movie from 1994 is the most genuine of the now four FF movies floating around. The Two Tim Story versions are boring and forgettable which is the worst crime you can commit as a filmmaker, in my opinion.

This new Josh Trank version has vision and a particular tone to it that brings the FF out of their hokey 60s incarnation into the new world of super hero movies. The whole time I was watching it, I was thinking that I could totally see this particular cast, with this particular tone interact with the X-Men or even the larger Marvel owned MCU. I would absolutely not say that about the Jessica Alba lead cast. The saddest thing that may come from the backlash this movie is getting is that there’s a chance this cast will be dumped for yet another reboot.

Trank has come out and all but said that Fox gutted his edit of the movie, and it shows. The entire middle of Fantastic Four is reduced to a 5 minute training montage. We skip from a somber, slow burn first act right to the third act, with the climax clocking in at around 15 minutes of average, mundane super hero fighting. The Four’s powers are barely utilized in this rushed 100 minute version of the film. We don’t see the characters discovering how to use them outside of that little montage so when they fight Doom, it feels hollow. Like we as the audience didn’t earn this big fight.

Maybe those missing 40 minutes are some of the worst minutes of film ever produced, but what it feels like to me is a studio who completely lost faith in the director’s vision of a dark science fiction version of their property. The studio completely cut out the struggle of the FF as they come to accept that they’re now freaks with incredible powers. My guess is that those 40 minutes are harrowing, not super happy fun time Iron Man jokes and Thor poses, and so the studio dumped the footage, rushed to the climax as fast as possible, and jumped right to the end so maybe the audience would forget that it wasn’t all that fun to be the Fantastic Four at first.

Those people actually using critical thinking skills instead of just blasting the movie for even existing make a big deal out of this new version of Doctor Doom. Again, he’s not my end all be all comic villain, so I can understand some hesitation to accept a green melted plastic version of their favorite bad guy. But even those critical of his look have to have enjoyed that Akira-like head popping scene where he stomped through the hallway and shredded everyone with mind bullets. That was just cool as fuck. Period.

At the end of the day, FF is a bad movie. And maybe those missing 40 minutes don’t help it. But what it is not is a trainwreck of bad dialogue, shitty acting, or horrible plot. It’s simply a different take on The Fantastic Four that ultimately fails because its creators lost faith in it. And this film goer hopes that one day we’ll see the complete edition so we can watch all the cool scenes of Reed falling into a pile of spaghetti trying to get his shit together, and Sue losing herself in a room because she can’t turn visible again. Those scenes are sitting on a studio hard drive right now just begging to be released. Maybe one day.