Greetings programs, it’s Awesome Friday on a Sunday, which means we’re back with another episode of the Awesome Friday Movie Podcast!
Join us this week as we discuss two new movies. First up is the new Sony Pictures Animation film Vivo, which features the voice, and songs, of Lin-Manuel Miranda and was released to Netflix this week. Second up is James Gunn’s triumphant return to superhero movies; the Warner Brothers and DC released The Suicide Squad, now in theatres (and on HBO Max in the United States).
James Gunn has a distinctive voice. It’s always been there, from his days at Troma through writing the Scooby-Doo films and the Dawn of the Dead remake, and from his early directorial efforts like Slither and Super all the way to the Guardians of the Galaxy and now, the Suicide Squad. That voice is juvenile, a little dark, and also –and this is most important– fun.
I say this because The Suicide Squad, the movie he signed on to make while briefly exiled from Marvel Studios, is a juvenile movie. And it’s a little dark. And it’s pretty fun. But while its R-rated excesses are probably the logical extension of his voice as a storyteller, it is also cobbled together from his greatest hits from other projects. Your mileage may vary on whether it feels repetitive or merely familiar, but it’s also enough fun that that probably doesn’t matter.
DC’s Extended Universe of films got off to a rocky start. An early focus on being grim and gritty and “realistic” a la the comics of Frank Miller along with a lot of time spent setting up a universe seemed to get in the way of making, you know, good movies. That is to say, they went too dark and they spent so much time worrying about the next movie they forgot to focus on the one they were making.
Luckily it seems that someone eventually figured this out and started letting filmmakers make the movies they want to make rather than having them conform to a predetermined aesthetic and continuity. Sometimes this has resulted in a miss (like Joker) but in recent years they have actually generated a string of fun movies (like Aquaman and Shazam!).
So how does Birds of Prey fare? As both a sequel to one of the least liked DC films and also focussing on one of the most fun characters in the DC universe it has a tough setup but I’m pleased to say it’s definitely a hit.
As reported by io9, this casting finally ends the rumours as to who will play the collection of supervillains. Suicide Squad sees them forced to come together to carry out the government’s dirty work, so it could work really well. Some interesting casting choices there – I’ve no idea who Rick Flagg is but Tom Hardy is always good value, and Margot Robbie playing Harley Quinn is a fantastic choice. Also, my countdown timer for when Will Smith pulls out has started. However, it’s Jared Leto‘s takeover of the Joker role that will have the most focus. He certain has the intensity, but does he have the dark humour?
We’ll find out…in 2016.
Final request, though: CAN HOLLYWOOD PLEASE STOP CASTING JAI COURTNEY. IN ANYTHING. EVER. Ahem. Thanks.
I love a good con movie. When they’re done right they’re the most engaging of whodunits because you never know who is doing exactly what to whom. Focus stars Will Smith as a con man who appears to take young, just starting out con woman played by Margot Robbie (of Wolf of Wall Street fame) under his wing.