Brief Blog Update

Unfortunately, I have no internet connection at home, and probably won’t have until the middle of November.

The main thing I’m missing is the ability to edit Wikipedia. At some point the giant secret data visualisation project turned into a giant secret data visualisation and Wikipedia improvement project. This is at least partly due to poor data quality and non-updated Wikipedia articles. There will be more details when I finally finish the giant secret data visualisation project. At this point that looks to be some time shortly before doomsday.

Other than that, I’ve got a few blog posts lined up. They cover travelling, film and science stuff rather than sport. Although I do have one American football post lined up.

Ta-ta for now.

Suicide Squad

Was far better than it had any right to be.

As in was actually fun. And Will Smith is amazing. As is Margot Robble. And I ❤ Diablo, and Katana and Captain Boomerang.

Joel Kinnaman looks terrifyingly like Carmine Giovinazzo, so I apologise in advance if I make any Danny Messer on steroids jokes.

It’s only as I’m reading back through this that I realise that I’ve gone through the film character by character rather than thematically or chronologically. This wasn’t deliberate but may well show one of the weaknesses of the film. It’s a series of character bits strung together with action scenes. Now I don’t mind that at all, but other people will.

Some spoilers for Batman vs Superman follow (because they’re in the film) and mention of most of the Marvel Filmverse.

Spoilers Beneath

The story mostly makes sense. There’s a couple of moments of ‘that move was too boneheaded for that character to make’ but we will forgive them for this. The characters work as versions of themselves, even if a few people have had some of their rougher edges smoothed down. It is interesting, for instance, that the film does flash up that Harley was involved with Robin’s death but it is blink and you’ll miss it.

The film is tightly tied to Batman vs Superman, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, Suicide Squad does its bit to set up Justice League with a much lighter, easier and more fun touch than B v S did. On the other hand, I feel that this means that the Batfleck solo film we’re going to get (thank you, whoever) is going to be Bats vs the Joker, again. And while I am all over that, because … oh I’m hopeless, I do feel it’s been done and is only going to be compared to The Dark Knight, and that may not end well.

I am aware I am the only person that liked the Leto Joker. He doesn’t quite work, but it is at least blatantly not based on the Ledger-Joker (no diss against him). Given that other films keep turning other characters into the Ledger-Joker it’s a refreshing change. Also Jared Leto is the only person who looks more terrifying out of Joker make up than in it. Harley’s fantasy is legitimately eerie.

Deadshot is lovely, and it’s one of the interesting things about the film, that he is clearly a good guy and a bad man at the same time. And Will Smith is good at both. Better at being the good guy but … Deadshot so lovely. As is his daughter. Whose name I didn’t catch. In the film’s defence, I can’t hear out of my right ear properly at the moment so I don’t think it was their fault.

The film gave me an Amanda Waller who was just right. Because yes. Although it does worry me somewhat that her line on the topic of Superman is mine. No good comes of me and Amanda Waller agreeing. I also liked that the film let the “heroes” (well, you know) call her out when she does things that are really not good, see also *that* scene in the bunker. One of the things that annoyed me about the first Avengers film and the second Captain America film is that Nick Fury kept doing things that were decidedly shades of grey and no-one shouted at him. I don’t mind Nat and Clint not doing it, but I refuse to believe that Tony would be able to keep his opinions to himself. Also, I think she knows about the Bat and that makes me want to yell at Bruce going ‘Bruce, you really don’t want her to know’.

Harley Quinn was, well, she was herself. I can see why people might be annoyed that she always goes back to her Pudding. But the whole thing with her character is that she would (and indeed is) lovely, if only she avoids the Joker. And they got that over. Margot Robble is far better than I expected her to be. My favourite scene was the one just after the helicopter is shot down when the rest of the Squad find her again. The minute she sees them she tries to fake being alright, and then Deadshot holds his arms out so she can get down and she just melts into his arms. It’s so lovely. Because Deadshot is lovely.

Actually, the whole escape sequence is lovely. From Deadshot not telling anyone about Harley’s plans to him pulling his shot (and the rest of the squad being happy about it) and Captain Boomerang, who is by someway the member with the least empathy, trying to comfort him when the helicopter is shot down.

Joel Kinnaman does a bang up job in what could have been a thankless role. Because Flagg is the least bad of the good guys (because that’s how this film does it’s shades of grey), and less interesting than the bad guys and could just have been a bland GI Joe a-like. Instead Kinnaman gives him a reality and just enough human weakness to believable and real and solid. (Although the rest of the military squad were pretty much misc. disposable military types and hello Scott Eastwood. Because Scott Eastwood is always hello!)

I am going to presume that they cast Cara Delavigne for her ability to gyrate convincingly in very little for that bit at the end with the Enchantress. It doesn’t work. Then again, I don’t think anyone would have been convincing doing those gyrations, Josephine Baker notwithstanding.

Jay Hernandez is good as Diablo, who gets to be the regretful one of the squad. I think he’s literally the only one who regrets their crimes.

Captain Boomerang, on the other hand, really doesn’t. He’s, I think, the only one of the Squad who isn’t given some excuse or reason or redeeming feature. He’s fun, nonetheless, and it makes those moments where he is vaguely human more effective. It’s interesting that they choose him, who is the least dangerous and deadly Squad member as the one without redeeming features.

His accent is merely ludicrous. I have no idea if Jai Courtney just can’t do an Aussie accent, or if he’s an Aussie they told to put on the most stereotypical and ridiculous accent ever. All I know is that it sounds even more bizarre given that Margot Robble occasionally breaks into ‘Strine next to him.

I ❤ Killer Croc, which I really didn’t expect. He’s one of the few Bat-villains I know more from the comics than any adaptation, and I’m used to feeling sorry for him, but not loving him. Because he knows what he is, and he’s okay with it – see the scene in the bar. (Also, just cast Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in everything.) I’m also trying to figure out if his line about ‘being born into the sewers’ is supposed to be a call-back to Bane.

Nothing about Katana makes any sense. If she’s got Flagg’s back, then why does she leave him and join the rest of the Squad in the bar scene? But if she’s one of the Squad, why is she allowed to roam free? She’s cool, but as I said, makes no sense.

It’s not a classic by any means, but its a fun way to spend a couple of hours, and if nothing else, it has a cracking soundtrack. I really don’t want to know how much Warners paid to get that soundtrack.

Star Trek Beyond

Was fun.

In a way the other two Reboot films haven’t been.

I think it’s because the creatives this time got that Star Trek’s job is to be the positive sci-fi franchise, the hopeful one, the one where people do make mistakes but learn from them.  It’s job is not to be grimdark (DS9 never was, no matter what people tell you) or to get lost in continuity loops to amuse the fanboys (Enterprise, here’s looking at you). I liked the film’s message and its positivity.

I also approve of the fact the story was original. It wasn’t based on a previous story, instead it was based on the experiences of these characters, not the experiences of their TOS versions.

Justin Lin should be allowed to direct anything he wants.  The thing I liked most about his directing style is how well he (and the SFX crew) conveyed the three-dimensional nature of space.  The establishing shots of the Yorktown were incredible.  I do wish he’d use fewer cuts in the hand-to-hand fight scenes.

I know at least one person is going to complain that my main objection to JJ Abrams is his flashy style so how can I love Justin Lin’s directing so much? It’s because the flash in Lin’s style helps the story while Abrams’s is just there to look cool. Lin used flashy tricks to show, not tell, the size of space, its three-dimensionality and the Escher-esque qualities something like the Yorktown [or a zero-G battle] is going to have.

Chris Pine’s Kirk was much less punchable in this one, which helped matters enormously.

I am utterly in love with Jaylah, but I think everyone is.

SPOILERS BEYOND HERE

It wasn’t perfect. I thought that Spock was too emotional and the twist was predictable. The minute you heard Edison’s name you could guess that nothing good had happened, but that’s a Star Trek tradition too. Seriously, Star Trek pulled “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain” way before Batman ever did.

It’s clear that someone in the writing staff liked Enterprise, and treated it with more respect than its own finale did.

I liked the way the film gave you enough detail to get what was going on but allowed you to fill in the blanks yourself. I am intrigued by the alien tech. I wonder if Krall’s appearance was down to how the machine worked. Maybe it transfers more than life energy but also some part of the victim’s DNA. I’d also love to know how the swarm actually worked.

That’s how you use “modern” music in your sci-fi film! It turns what was a pretty cringey moment in the first Reboot film into a moment of awesome. “I like the beats and the shouting,” indeed.

I do worry that I am turning in to Urban-Bones though 😉