Two quick bits about a couple of summer movies.
Before I talk about Suicide Squad, though, a funny story:
There are two movie theatres here on opposite sides of the base (Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan). My wife and I were running late. When we arrived at the theatre, we saw no one waiting for tickets or buying popcorn—the movie had already started! Or at least the previews had. We jerked the car into a spot, threw it in park, and ran inside. While I bought the tickets, she got the hotdogs, popcorn, and drinks. She then dressed the dogs, I filled her cup at the fountain machine, and we hurried into the dark to find seats.
Once we were seated, I noticed that the preview running was for Suicide Squad.
“What?” I mumbled aloud. “An ad for the same movie we came to see?” I told my wife I’d be right back, ran back out to the ticket window, and asked the kids working there what movie we’d come to see.
“Uh, Star Trek…?” one said.
I ran back down the dark aisle to where my wife was sitting: “We’re in the wrong theatre!”
We gathered up our goodies and ran laughing and cursing back to the car, drove to the opposite side of the base (only about 5 minutes drive), slid into a parking spot, and ran inside. There was a line, which I cussed about some more, then by-passed them all and went straight to the guy checking tickets. Here’s me and my wife, coming into the theatre front door with our arms already loaded with hot dogs, drinks, and a big tub of popcorn. I explained what had happened and showed him our tickets from ten minutes earlier. Confused but convinced, he let us in.
The movie was in progress, but I’m pretty sure we only missed a minute or two of anything significant.
So after a good but desperate laugh getting there, we sat down, pigged out, and enjoyed the movie.
Despite the generally bad reviews I’d heard about, I enjoyed this movie way more than expected!
It may be that, unlike some other flicks that I went into with high expectations, I was only hoping for something fun and comic booky here. And that’s what I got. Actually, not even as comic booky as I’d expected.
One of my fears was the there’d be too much Will Smith to this movie. Don’t get me wrong, I generally like him, but I’m sure you know what I mean when I say that, somewhat like good ole John Wayne, you generally get a lot of the same Will Smith in a Will Smith movie. And this was supposed to be a comic book flick, not a Will Smith flick. Thankfully, there was not an overdose of the trademark too-cool-for-school attitude portrayed in the commercials. In fact, a noticed some of the scenes and lines I didn’t like in the ads didn’t make the final cut of the film.
So contrary to my fears, this was a fun, action-packed, colorful movie, maybe even with more character development (I felt) than the other big DC movie that had come out earlier this year. Everyone got a moment in the spotlight to paint their character, and they were all a little different. And since our heroes are villains for this, we even got to see the not-so-villainous side of some, which made us more able to root for them. Batman and Flash also made some quick but cool appearances, and Leto’s Joker was expertly done. He made a great Joker, though I won’t speculate on who was better, him or Ledger (that’d be comparing green-haired apples with white-faced oranges).
It wasn’t all fantastic, and I think some of the bits that were supposed to be funnier than they played out fell kind of flat. And if you’re looking for a complex plot, look elsewhere. The storyline was pretty straight forward, though I did like the “good guys” and “bad guys” all generated from the same batch of characters. And what a fun bunch they were.
I can honestly say (at the risk of vicious backlash) that I enjoyed Suicide Squad more than Batman v Superman. (Possibly because that clash of the titans would likely never meet expectations, no matter what.) I was able to have fun, rather than going in already set to be disappointed. If you haven’t seen it, do so! But plan for a good time, not a come-to-Jesus realization of all your comic book dreams.
…Yeah, that 200-word goal I set for myself, not working out. Oh well, onward!
Star Trek Beyond
Should have stuck with the Klingons…
The first several minutes were very promising. Captain Kirk told his log about being 3 years into their 5 year exploratory mission. About the hardships on the crew of being out in space for so long, so far from home. There were character development points and nods to the real world: the time-traveling, older version of Spock (Leonard Nimoy) had passed away; Kirk was considering giving up the captain’s chair for a “shore command;” young Spock considered taking his other self’s place on New Vulcan to cultivate their dying culture; Sulu appeared to have a male companion and daughter (hinting that he might be gay, a nod to the original Sulu, George Takei, who really is gay). Also a not-so-great nod to William Shatner’s original hairstyle from the 60s… Plus there was humor and relationship stuff. All good things in the first ten minutes or so.
And from there… I enjoyed it less. The movie seemed rushed to me, too eager to throw us into action and foregoing any decent explanations of what and why things were happening. Finally at the end I thought, “Ah, a little pay off,” when a secret about the bad guy was revealed, but it was still weakly done. I hadn’t even realized there was a mystery to reveal because it was never dwelled on—we were too busy rushing about to “keep people from getting bored,” I imagine. Though I think Star Trek fans like myself wouldn’t have gotten bored with a little more plotting at the expense of constantly flying about.
Overall, for me, this movie was a disappointment. I was really hoping for some redemption after the 2009 reboot just blew us all away, followed by Into Darkness, which was a tribute to the previous Star Trek II, but not as great as we’d hoped.