Harley Quinn and Robin

Just in case you missed it, I know I did the first couple of times. 

I’m pretty sure this scene from Suicide Squad and the following from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are related. 


I really hope this is explored in an upcoming DCCU movie. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child pt. 1 & 2

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child pt. 1 & 2 is the 8th story in the Harry Potter storyline. While this story does continue Harry and Friends story, it is a different format than the previous stories. Book 8 is still in written form, but is in script form instead of novel form. I was wary of reading a 300 page script that was originally written for the stage and how that would play out. After a few minutes of reading it became easier to follow along and see who was speaking and the setting they were in. In some ways it was a quicker read than one of the novels, as due to the format the story couldn’t get bogged down (for better or for worse) in the details of what people were wearing, what the room looked like, etc. It was a quick read that covered a lot of ground in such a few pages.

This book felt like a Harry Potter story from the beginning, it brought me right back into the Potterverse and there was no looking back. That is one thing I liked about the story, is that there wasn’t much time spent on rehashing the past stories. This book added upon what we already knew and expanded the Harry Potter story real well. I’m interested in seeing how the play turns out and if it as entertaining as the book.

Without giving away a major plot point, there were some ‘flash backs’ and some ‘flash forwards’ that could have been long and drawn out. But they weren’t and they added an extra dimension to what we already know about the story. It was good to revisit characters who are no longer with us, but the story wasn’t too reliant on them. This story was able to stand on it’s own and created it’s own history with enjoyable new characters.

I’m not sure where they are going with this book, if it’s a start of a new series or if it’s just a quick visit back to the Wizarding World. I like they J.K. Rowling is willing to try new ways to tell stories in the world she has created, so as to keep the stories and mediums fresh and interesting. I do hope that at least a couple of more stories are told with these new characters and that these characters are allowed to have new adventures.

If you enjoyed reading the Harry Potter novels or watching the movies, but were apprehensive about the new story format, don’t worry as it worked well enough. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a good investment of time to jump back into Harry’s life and see what he’s up to nowadays. I recommend giving it a read.

 

New Dr. Strange Trailer

I’m loving this new trailer from Marvel’s upcoming Dr. Strange movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch! It’s look to add a completely new dimension to the Marvel Universe. I’m hoping that this movie will add some variety to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the movies are entertaining, I feel that we are seeing a lot of the same thing over and over in the MCU. There’s a very big Inception vibe to this movie which promises some amazing visuals and hopefully, the story will match these visuals. It’ll be interesting to see how this movie fits in to the MCU and what impact this will have on future movies.

Suicide Squad

 

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A black man, a white girl, a latino man, a white dude from Australia, a crocodile, an asian woman, and another white guy walk into a bar. No really, this happens in Suicide Squad, but Suicide Squad is no joke – it’s the real deal!

Suicide Squad provides us with one of the most diverse ensemble casts in a major blockbuster movie ever, interestingly enough I have yet to read any review out there that praises this. I’m sure there are one or two out there, but my point is critics have heavily criticized Hollywood for not casting more diverse actors in big budget movies for quite some time. Now that there is a major blockbuster being released with a strong and diverse cast, all we get are complaints against the movie.

Despite Suicide Squad getting such negative reviews from critics, but curiously enough normal movie goers are giving it high ratings, this movie is worth watching. No, Suicide Squad won’t change your perspective on life, you won’t walk out of the theater wanting to work at the homeless shelter, or you won’t have an epiphany and realize you’re doing everything wrong. What it will do is take you on a wild ride for two hours, as you watch the bad guys kick butt and realize that they actually need to do some good in the world they live in.

The Good, the Bat, and the Ugly

The good things that we get to see right from the start are short backstory’s on the members of the Suicide Squad and how they ended up getting caught and placed in Belle Reve. We get to know the Suicide Squad and who they are. We see the reasons for what motivates the Squad to be able to do what they do in the rest of the film. We see how the world’s best and most hardened assassin, Deadshot, just wants to be a good dad and watch his daughter grow up. We see when Harley Quinzel first meets the Joker at Arkham Asylum and how she falls under his spell. We see a tortured soul, June Moone, possessed by a witch, the Enchantress, and how the man, Rick Flagg, loves her and just wants to ease her pain.

The surprising thing about the Suicide Squad members is that they all have their reasons, emotional and meaningful reasons, for what they do. It’s a welcome relief from the trite, one dimensional (two dimensions, if we’re lucky) villains that we’ve been getting from other films (yeah, Marvel I’m referring to your films). And the great thing about this film is that they are all villains and they all have multiple facets and motivations to them!

Now to the Bat. Yes, the Batman makes his mark in this film too, and it is fun to watch him work. This hearkens back to the Dark Knight trilogy where we see Batman hunting down criminals and locking them up. We see Batman confront Deadshot in what is most likely the most emotional sequence in the film. We see Batman chase down The Joker and Harley Quinn, in what is the funnest sequence of the film to watch. We see a brief cameo of The Flash as he captures Boomerang.

Now, all of this is post Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and pre-Justice League. The film references the Death of Superman, and also shows Bruce Wayne gathering intel on MetaHumans to recruit for a project of his – the beginnings of Justice League!

Since, you can’t have Batman without The Joker, The Joker is also planning and working behind the scenes in this movie. He is the wild card in this movie and every minute he is on screen, The Joker is fun to watch. In my mind, he is to this movie as Wonder Woman was to Dawn of Justice, it just wouldn’t be as entertaining without him. The end of the film leaves it open to a Joker/Harley Quinn stand alone film, which DC and WB better explore sometime soon!

The ugly is ugly in this movie. We meet Killer Croc and boy is he ugly! He was a little hard to understand in the film and had few lines, but he could fight and he was a beast to behold. El Diablo has a dark side to him and is always in the background for the first part of the movie. When he comes into play though, we understand his reticence to come to the battle full throttle and that he is a man who realizes how ugly inside he is and realizes he has a penance to pay.

The woman in charge of this Squad is Amanda Waller, and she too has a dark side to her. This is someone you don’t want to mess with and is the perfect person to manage this ragtag gang of misfits. She is able to keep them in line by coercion, threats, and manipulation. Although she does have a very slight soft side to her that comes out in the end of the film, but I think that is even a means to end for her and her management of Project X.

Suicide Squad has it’s failings and is in no way a perfect movie, but it does more than entertain. It fits nicely in the already established DCCU and furthers the overall narrative of this new Cinematic Universe created by DC. At the time of this posting, the Monday after release, the audience and fans think so too as Suicide Squad is already in the top 10 for domestic earnings for 2016 in it’s first weekend.

In addition to the movie, the official soundtrack and the official score of Suicide Squad are top notch and worth listening to. The film has a hip hop vibe to it (maybe this is what turned off critics) and this is reflected in the soundtrack with artists such as Lil’ Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, and Eminem. It also has a cover of the classic hit, Bohemian Rhapsody, and includes Credence Clearwater Revivals’ Fortunate Son. The best new song on the album is ‘Heathens’ by Twenty One Pilots. The official score is composed by Academy Award Winner, Steven Price (for composing Gravity), and fits in nicely with the other DC film scores by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard.

Man of Steel II

Wait, I thought he was dead?! Spoiler Alert!!

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TheWrap.com is reporting that Warner Bros is starting development for a Man of Steel sequel. Just when you thought Superman was dead (as shown in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and solidified in Suicide Squad), he’s back! Ok, I don’t think anyone really thought he was dead Dead, but now we know for sure that he isn’t.

Even though it has been speculated and planned previously that DC and WB would eventually do a MoS sequel, I guess it’s now official. I’m glad they are moving forward with this, I’d love to see The Batman (directed by and starring Ben Affleck) and Man of Steel II in theaters in the same calendar year. DC could create some great excitement from releasing them in the same year, months apart, and have the stories be interconnected on some level. I guess we’ll see what DC and WB have in store for us as more details are announced.

 

 

Star Trek Beyond

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I have enjoyed these new Star Trek movies that have rebooted the franchise and taken the story off in to a new direction. I think JJ Abrams has brought new life into a franchise that was slowly dying off. I feel that Beyond was a good addition to this new storyline, and that the movie franchise is headed in the right direction.

I had a mixed reaction to this film, as there were a lot of story elements, action sequences, and new characters that I really liked. There were also story elements, action sequences, and new characters that I found to be  boring and uninteresting. Warning: There will be spoilers discussed below.

First the boring and uninteresting. I found the film’s villian, Krall, to be the same ol’, same ol’, which is too bad as Idris Elba is a great actor. There was nothing new or creative about him in this film. What we get is a former good guy that experiences a crisis and becomes bitter. He feels wronged by Starfleet and then seeks revenge on the establishment who did him wrong.

The next boring thing is something I was surprised that I found it boring. The action sequence of the Enterprise being completely destroyed, once again. While I’m guessing if this was the first Star Trek movie I’d ever seen, I would find this scene gripping and shocking. However, how many times has the Enterprise been destroyed? In my eyes, too many to make it relevant anymore, and they always rebuild it, and they always let Kirk be the Captain again. There is no drama to this event happening, as it continues to be portrayed over and over again. In fact the rebuilding of the Enterprise at the end of the movie was glossed over and they showed it happen in about 30 seconds. I think I would be more surprised if they made it through a movie without the Enterprise being destroyed at this point.

Another boring plot point is the crew being held captive on the planet and having to be rescued by Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, and the new girl. There was no drama to it. You knew it was going to happen, and the way they were freed wasn’t that exciting. Also, the lack of Uhura’s screen time is almost criminal. She was such a strong, fun, enjoyable character in the previous two movies, and to have her relegated to the role (or lack of a role) in this movie is probably the worst thing in this movie! It’s like the writer, Simon Pegg, went back to the 1960’s and relegated her to a backup character.

Ok, just so you don’t think I hated this movie, which I didn’t, I will praise the film for it’s fun and interesting parts! First of all, the introduction of Jaylah is a good addition to the franchise and I hope she is brought back for future Star Trek adventures. I enjoyed the extra screen time that we got for Bones and Spock together, as well as Chekov (RIP Anton) and Kirk. I think that having an ensemble cast with actors and characters such as these of the Enterprise crew can make it hard to divvy up screen time and plot points between all of them. (but still, Uhura needed more screen time!)

I liked how the film started off with Kirk being bored after being in space for over 2 years, because I’ve always thought that it would get monotonous real quick. I enjoyed how Kirk was able to find his motivation to stay with the Enterprise and refocus on his career.

I liked how they found the old starship, USS Franklin, and had to resurrect it and get it up and running in order to escape the planet. The end chase scene through the city and the subsequent fight between Kirk and Krall was pretty intense and it was a great way to end the conflict.

Oh, and no Carol Danvers? Another missed opportunity, as she was a great character in the last film, Into Darkness.

Some things that I liked in theory, but thought it didn’t work well in the execution of it. First of all, the Beastie Boys defeat the massive enemy invasion? I love the Beastie Boys, I grew up with them and have all of their albums. I thought the inclusion of their song in the first Star Trek was clever and appropriate. However, in Beyond it seemed forced and too simplistic of a way to defeat the highly advanced, technological threat of Krall and his army. Maybe if the crew would have been listening to Sabotage while fighting the enemy and defeating them in a different manner? I could get behind that.

Another thing was Kirk riding the motorcycle through the enemy camp while no one could pick him off. I like the visual of him tearing it up and avoiding the enemy, but I’m pretty sure my 15 year old son could’ve taken him out at some point during the 10+ minutes of riding around the camp.

So with all this being said, I did enjoy the film and I’m glad they are doing a fourth film in this new Star Trek universe. I’m curious to see how George Kirk will play into the story. Knowing JJ, there’s some alternate universe/time travel element to it. If Spock can meet up with his future self, then Kirk can meet his dad, right?

Of the three new Star Trek movies, Star Trek Beyond is my third favorite. I put Star Trek Into Darkness as my favorite, then Star Trek, followed by Beyond.

1- Star Trek Into Darkness

2- Star Trek

3 – Star Trek Beyond

The Killing Joke

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Recently, on July 25th, I went to see the animated release of The Killing Joke that was shown in theaters for a limited, two night showing. Once again, with my trusty sidekick, Marc, we went to a late night showing with a bunch of fellow nerds. This post will contain spoilers.

While the actual movie was shorter than I expected, we did get to see Mark Hamill reminiscing over his past performances of The Joker and how he was looking forward to being able to once again portray The Joker in The Killing Joke.

I was surprised at the animation style and how it didn’t seem to be up to par with other animated releases. I’m not sure if it was an artistic decision or a budgetary reason, but it did distract me from the story for awhile.

There has been some recent criticisms of the film (surprise!), which seems to accompany any film release nowadays. But that is the world we live in now, whether the criticism is accurate or not, someone is offended – but that’s a different argument for a different time and a different website. The criticisms vary from Batman and Batgirl having a romantic relationship to how Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon, was abused by The Joker. I can see how the latter is concerning as it portrays inappropriate and damaging violence towards women. The former complaint doesn’t have merit for me. If Bruce and Barbara want to have a fling then that’s their decision, and the film clearly portrays them making a conscious decision to go forward with the relationship.

With that being said, the way The Joker kidnaps Jim Gordon from Barbara’s apartment and shoots her and then takes photos of Barbara to later try and break Det. Gordon is pretty accurate in relation to how it was previously portrayed in the comic book story. The story of Bruce and Barbara being involved in a relationship was not in the original story. I think comic book lovers get too involved with and concerned about the idea of “that wasn’t in the comic book!”. While I can appreciate general ideas and concepts and even a specific scene or sequence being portrayed on film, I would rather have the filmmaker add to the already existing story that was presented in the comic. Or even change the story halfway through and have a different ending. I think that movies, or animated features, or TV shows that follow the previous story exactly are boring and predictable, as we have already consumed that story in a different medium. I feel the same with novels or comic books that are based on a movie. If they are the exact same story as what was presented on TV or the movie screen, then I don’t feel like I’ve seen anything new.

The comic The Killing Joke is disturbing and intense to read. This style carried over to the animated feature. I believe the criticisms given are legitimate, but at the same time wonder why there wasn’t outrage when the comic was released. But again that’s another topic for another website.

While it was a bold move to release The Killing Joke in theaters, I don’t believe it was the right medium for this story to be told. The level of animation and directing didn’t rise to the level of a movie release. This release was strictly based on fan demand, in my opinion. I feel that like most animated DC movies, the straight to video format would’ve worked just fine for this movie. It’s perfect for home video viewing, but too small for the big time.

Harry Potter Book 8 Midnight Release Party

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My brother in law, Marc, and I went to the midnight book release party for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2 that was put on by Salt Lake Comic Con and hosted at Weller Books in Salt Lake City. There were some fun activities, such as cosplay contests for multiple categories, a Harry Potter trivia contest, and some Harry Potter themed panels.

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It was a fun time with lots of energy and excitement that only a Harry Potter themed event can bring!

Dan Farr, the President of Salt Lake Comic Con, was present and was walking around and mingling with fans. He even drove his awesome car to the event!

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While I do have my nits to pick about Salt Lake Comic Con, I do feel that it is a first rate Comic Con and has provided a lot of fun to the Salt Lake area and is competing with the big boys of Comic Cons, San Diego and New York. I feel that Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg are doing a good job at getting SLCC up and running. I can imaging that putting on an event of this size is colossal and quite a chore to manage it and to keep improving it like they have.

It’s small events like this Harry Potter book release party and all the movie premier party’s that they do makes me appreciate that Dan, Bryan, and all the SLCC staff really are fans and want to continually improve to make Salt Lake one of the premier locations for Comic Cons and fandoms of every kind.